The first results from what people say makes their local place distinctive are:

The top five

1. A sense of history
2. Well cared for historic buildings
3. Distinctive building styles – such as Victorian or Georgian architecture
4. Having a natural setting and views
5. The cathedral, church or abbey

and how people feel….



Nothing beats a sense of history for giving somewhere a distinctive feel. People identify historic buildings and churches and cathedrals in particular as giving their locality character and many people love a distinctive setting in a valley or at the foot of surrounding hills. The character of many places is defined by their building style – with Georgian and Victorian architecture featuring prominently. For many it is the use of distinctive building materials – such as white Pease brick or Cotswold stone – that stands out. There is also a love of their place holding a record – such as the first Garden Suburb (Bedford Park, London).

Debbie Reavell, Basingstoke Heritage Society says:

“The centre of Basingstoke was levelled in the 1960s when it was chosen to be an “expanded town” but it is still a place of distinction and I love where I live. The old town cemetery is within spitting distance of the centre with ruins dating from the 13th century and it is a place of quiet and stillness in a busy town. The Basingstoke of today has that ethos of town life which is as important in England as the rural. It is a town of many communities, unpretentious, friendly, mixing the modern with the old. There are parts of it which Jane Austen would still recognise from when she shopped and visited here.”

Griff Rhys Jones says:

“History makes my quarter distinctive. People have lived and worked here since it ceased to be fields three hundred years ago and what an outstanding mix of bohemians, politician, scientist inventors and tradesmen it has been. If they managed to coexist here they should be able to do so anywhere in Britain.”