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This is an opinion on the town of Winsford, if you are considering buying property in the area. I have lived in Winsford, Cheshire with my husband for three years now, having moved from the centre of Manchester. It took us a while to get used to the different pace of life; shops actually close on Bank Holidays, you have green fields all around you where you can go for bike rides or walks in relative safety, low house prices. The fact that we didnt have the Police Helicopter over our house every night as we did in Manchester, actually kept us awake at night!! All in all we made a great move, especially as we were planning a family and wanted somewhere more suited to children. So, I wanted to share some facts and feelings about the area: ~~~HISTORY~~~ The town of Winsford is located in mid-Cheshire, situated between Middlewich and Northwich. The town was founded approx. 1894 thanks to large salt deposits found in the area; as a result properties were soon built to house local workers of the salt mines, and the area was very well known for its salt output. The town is home to three large lakes better known as "Flashes"; Top Flash (for fishing), Middle Flash and Bottom Flash (sailing, fishing and walking) - water seeped from underground brine streams from where salt was extracted into the caverns of the mines and dissolved the rock therefore creating "Flashes". These are common sites throughout the Cheshire countryside but Winsford boasts the largest and most well known. The River Weaver also runs through the town, and is undergoing a large landscaping project, improving recreation on and around the water. ~~~ACCESSIBILITY~~~ Recently there has been vast growth in new housing developments due to the easy accessibility of major northwest Cities, such as Chester (approx. 17 miles), Manchester (approx. 28 miles) and Liverpool (approx. 30 miles). It is close to the M6 motorway (8 miles), and it also has a Train Station, which is on the West Coast Main Line, both of these providing a link to the rest of the Country. The town now boasts a population of approx. 30,000. ~~~COUNCIL ~~~ The area comes under Vale Royal Borough Council who have their HQ in the town, but there is also a separate town council for Winsford: Winsford Town Council: 01606-593582 Wyvern House Vale Royal Borough Council: 01606-862862 Wyvern House There is also a HQ for Cheshire Fire Services, Cheshire Ambulance, and the soon to be built HQ for Cheshire Police. ~~~ATTRACTIONS/PLACES OF INTEREST IN THE LOCAL AREA~~~ Just some of the attractions of the local area are: Arley Hall & Gardens, The Salt Museum of Northwich, The Boat Museum, Oulton Park Circuit, Beeston Castle, Chester Zoo, Tatton Park, Jodrell Bank, Anderton Boat Lift of Northwich, Knights Grange Golf Course of Winsford, Portal Golf and Country Club and the London Road Gallery, Vale Royal Abbey House and Golf Club, Delamere Forest, Cheshire Oaks Discount Village, Festival Park (Stoke on Trent) and Alton Towers. ~~~LOCAL BUSINESS/SHOPPING~~~ There is a large industrial estate on the outskirts of Winsford being home to small local businesses as well as national ones too, like: Arriva, Woolworths (Distribution), Cheshire Mobile, Diversey Lever, Dunlop, Joseph Finney & Son, Finnings Cat, Henkel, Iveco Trucks, Jiffy Packaging, Vacmetal, Wincanton. The shopping centre in Winsford is due to undergo an extensive makeover, but currently consists of a covered shopping centre housing the likes of: Select, New Look, Superdrug, Boots, Ethel Austin, Bon Marche, Dorothy Perkins, B&M, Iceland, ASDA as well as a shoe shop, travel agents, estate agents and local butchers. There is also a market held on a Tuesday and Saturday. Just out of the town centre there is McDonalds, Alan Ward Home Furnishings, Carpets Unlimited and Focus Do It All, with larger shopping centres and retail parks within a 15 minute drive in either Northwich or Crewe. Morrissons is the main supermarket located just outside the town centre, with ASDA being based in the town centre itself. Both of these have very reasonable prices but Morrissons is the larger of the stores with much more variety. ~~~SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION~~~ There are 13 primary/nursery schools and 2 secondary schools (both having 6th form) in Winsford. There are 2 special schools and Mid-Cheshire College within a short distance. University studies are available at Crewe, Alsager and Chester. ~~~THINGS TO DO~~~ There are a couple of nightclubs in Winsford, the main one being De.Bees that has recently been refurbished, and lots of pubs with restaurants suited to families. There are also three Indian restaurants to tickle your taste buds! There is also a Civic Hall, which is home to the local panto performances at Christmastime, as well as live music and shows for the rest of the year. A whole host of sports are available at the Knights Grange Sports Complex, including golf (18 holes), Tennis, Football, Cricket to name a few. Other sports include bowling, fishing, and swimming at the recently refurbished Winsford Leisure Centre, Cycle Runs and Watersports. ~~~PROPERTY~~~ There are many council houses close to the town centre with new housing developments located around the perimeter, although the nearby villages like Whitegate and Church Minshull, are still splashed with the colour of the black and white houses with their thatched roof, backing onto glorious Cheshire countryside. When we moved to the area three years ago, house prices were very low. I think mainly this was due to people not realising how easy it is to commute from here. We bought a ten year old four bedroom detached house, backing onto the golf course for the ridiculous price of £77,000!!! Its now valued at £130,00 0 so we bought at just the right time. You can still purchase a house of similar size from approx. £110,000 which is still relatively cheap compared to neighbouring areas such as Sandiway, Northwich, Middlewich & Wilmslow. Companies such as Barratt Homes (Foxes Gate - 01606 596 698) and Anwyl (as yet to start building - 01745-353000), are still building new houses on the outskirts of Winsford, or for older properties you can contact the local estate agents: Beresford Adams: 01606-553412 Cheshire Property Services: 01606-551342 Swetenhams: 01606-593344 ~~~SUMMARY~~~ All in all I would recommend a move to Winsford. There are areas to the town that are a little more salubrious than others but they are few and far between and I think this is common wherever you go now anyway. There are plenty of schools, regular bus services to neighbouring towns, lots of things to do for the young and old, and its surrounded by some fabulous countryside to explore on a Sunday afternoon!! And although shopping isnt of the best quality, you can still get everything you need yet have easy access to areas such as Crewe, Northwich, Manchester or Chester. I do think that a new secondary school is required to house the many youngsters that are moving to the area with their parents. A very large proportion of new properties have been sold to couples with young families and I dont think the education system at present will cope too well with the large influx of new students. It remains to be seen whether or not this will happen. The town itself does need a bit of colour to it but Vale Royal Council do tend to give a larger slice of the budget to the neighbouring town of Northwich as it holds more historic attraction for the tourists. This is in evidence with the countless award-winning beautiful flower displays lining the routes into the town. Winsford has no such luck unfortunately and could do with a little brighteni ng up but thats a matter for the council and not this opinion!! I hope this has proved useful and if anyone requires further information I would be glad to help.