When people move to Dronfield to live, they are unlikely to want to leave...
So says Tim Heaton, a director at Saxton Mee estate agents, and he is testament to this notion, having bought a property in Dronfield with the intention of spending just two to three years there... 16 years ago.
Dronfield is one of the 10 most desirable places in the UK in which to live and work, according to a recent study carried out by the Centre for Economic and Business Research with the Royal Mail.
A range of factors were used to determine towns with the best quality of life, from schooling available, to access to green spaces and average working hours.
And its high ranking, alongside such places as Norwich and Broadstone, Bournemouth, is seen as well deserved by those lucky enough to live in the north-east Derbyshire town.
With its easy access to the motorway network, Sheffield, Chesterfield and the Peak District, a thriving railway station and extensive leisure facilities, plus a strong community spirit and choice of pubs and restaurants, there seems little not to like about Dronfield.
Mr Heaton said: “The town has great links, transport and green areas, all backed up by schooling, with exemplary infant and junior schools, and a sought after secondary.”
His estate agency sees continual demand for properties in the area, particularly semi-detached homes as young families who had starter homes elsewhere see Dronfield as an ideal place to bring up their children.
Then, he said, they tend to stay. There is clearly something seductive about the area.
Older people who have lived there for years seek bungalows for their retirement and free up family homes to help keep the market moving.
“Some places are beautiful to visit but are not ideal to live in. Dronfield has everything and is now on a par with Bradway and Norton.
Pricewise, it costs less to live in Dronfield than Totley, but its amenities are better, it has to be said,” added Mr Heaton.
Another resident, Bob Westerdale, added: “Dronfield is a great place to live, and I am fortunate to live in a great part within it.
“I live near the village centre, which has a cosy feeling even though it has all the facilities (shops, pubs, restaurants, swimming pool, gym, library, doctors) you need.
“There is obvious investment going on - the renovation of the Dronfield barn and the Blue Stoops for instance - and there is a buzz about the place.
“I moved in here in 2007 and I’m really glad I made that decision.
“It’s a friendly place with very much its own identity.”
Each year Dronfield plays host to the popular Three Valleys Beer Festival, that is enjoyed by thousands of locals and visitors alike.
Festival co-ordinator Andrew Cullen said: “Within both Dronfield town and the surrounding rural villages that make up S18 there are a number of great pubs, which as well as offering good beer are very much a part of the local community, supporting local organisations such as the Friends of Dronfield Station, the local cricket club and a variety of good causes.
“For example, the Jolly Farmer has an ongoing programme of events raising funds for Macmillan cancer. Some of the country pubs that do food also support local suppliers from the surrounding green belt area.
“Compared to neighbouring Sheffield and Chesterfield, Dronfield is quite a sleepy, friendly town. There are a couple of local music festivals each year, Party in the Park and Dronfest, plus the pubs work together to put on the Three Valleys Beer Festival, on June 3 this year, with an extended beer range, live music, street food and a free bus service linking them all with the station - really showcasing what the area has to offer.”
The town, covering over 3,400 acres, has a 13th century parish church, and an industrial history including coal mining, the wool trade, and production of steel and soap.