We live in UK's 'saddest' town – people say we're mad but we absolutely love it here… miserable gits give us a bad name | The Sun
RESIDENTS in one of Britain’s ‘unhappiest’ towns have told how they love where they live but miserable gits have given it a bad name.
Harlow, in Essex, scored a 7 for happiness in a 2021 ONS survey while the UK average was 7.4.
It means Harlow came joint last on the happiness scale along with Liverpool, Wolverhampton, Corby and Islington.
When The Sun visited the town, one man on a mobility scooter said the whingers can get lost.
He told The Sun: “I can’t see how the survey has got it unhappy – they must’ve got unlucky and got a load of miserable gits when they’ve done it.
“99 percent of places I can get into and what I find is people are very helpful. Especially the youngsters. I see people with smiles on their face, where is it coming from?
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“They say one of the happiest places to live is Saffron Waldon, four miles from here, I wouldn’t say it is, it’s got nothing.”
Harlow, which is only 76 years old, was one of a number of areas built following the New Towns Act of 1946.
The idea was to offer more homes to cope with London’s rapidly growing population after WWII.
Thousands of homes, flats, a new high street and market were thrown up in the town – offering Brits affordable living and better standards of life just a 30 minute train ride outside the capital.
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But years of underinvestment and a lack of redevelopment has seen the town, especially the Broad Walk high street, boarded up and enter decline.
Now just barbers, phone, vape, coffee and charity shops remain.
Despite this, the smart Water Gardens shopping quarter, opened in 2004, offers Harlow residents contemporary shops and restaurants to enjoy.
Pensioner Steve Rawlings has lived in and around Harlow all his life and reckons misery stems directly from a lack of investment which came too late and has left locals “getting ripped off”.
The 70-year-old, who spends his days Carp fishing, told The Sun: “The town was left to be rundown to the ground. A lot of the shops have closed down and that.
“They’ve been spending serious Government money granted to them on Market Square but it should’ve been done years and years ago.
“Everything is budgeted, there is so much money in the pot and there is only so far that goes. All of us are getting ripped off.”
'RUN DOWN AND AWFUL'
Meanwhile one lady sitting at Greggs, who wished to remain anonymous, blasted “run down” Harlow as “awful”.
She said: “I lived in Harlow six years and I agree! It’s just awful, it’s really bad, no one is happy, except for me.
“It’s so run down, there is nothing for people to do anymore. With the cost of living crisis, Covid, that’s the brunt of it.
“A lot of people have moved from London to Harlow for the overspill and they are trying to make the town into flats, what’s going to happen to the town?
“A lot of the crime comes from the kids, there is nothing for the children to do. There used to be kids clubs, that’s all gone. It’s hard, it’s really hard.”
Her comments are a reflection of a grim 2022 report that found 32 percent of kids in Harlow lived in poverty – the highest in Essex, a county of 1.8 million.
When The Sun visited the Broad Walk high street, drug dealers were operating in plain sight while a group of balaclava clad youths menaced locals and blasted Drill rap.
It’s just awful, it’s really bad, no one is happy, except for me.
Despite the negative feedback from some, others said the town has offered them a great life.
Gigal ‘George’ Caprita, 54, moved to England three years ago from Constanța in Romania, one of the oldest cities in Europe.
Enjoying cake and coffee with his wife, he said he doesn’t understand why folk whinge about the crumbling shopping promenade in Harlow – his home for 18 months.
The Booker delivery driver said: “For us it’s very nice. This centre is nice, where we live is quiet, we don’t have any problems, no crime, nothing.
“We found many places to drink coffee, talk to people, there are some shops where we found traditional Romanian and Polish food – it’s awesome.
“The prices are very good.”
Entrepreneur Stephanie Ngoforo, 16, was selling Fairy Cakes, Oreo brownies and rocky road in The Harvey Centre shopping mall when she spoke to The Sun.
She thinks the lack of opportunities for youngsters in Harlow has left them them frustrated and unhappy – but reckons her business, Cakes by Ava, helps lighten their day.
She said: “The trouble and disruption by young people could be because there is not enough for them to do in the community.
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“There is not a lot of stuff for teenagers and secondary school kids, they probably feel like they don’t have anything to do.
“But they always smile when they walk past, the young children’s faces light up, people look really happy when they see the cakes. It lifts up people’s mood.”
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