Shropshire Star

Star comment: Why home really is where the heart is

Best Places to Live surveys should always be taken lightly.

Bishop's Castle

They are clearly subjective, and we could all fill a top 10 for the West Midlands with our own favourites.

Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire deserves its place in the Sunday Times' Best Places to Live 2023 list. Described by judges as having “an appealing independent streak that sets it apart from its neighbours in the lovely Shropshire Hills,” it is a bohemian, characterful town.


And Digbeth, just outside Birmingham, is as hip as anything that East London might have to offer.

Described as an example of a community that is proudly “unflashy”, but bustling with good food, bars and events, it has earned its place in the sun and is rightly popular, particularly among the young generation. Digbeth has embraced the hipster culture and is perhaps a model for the likes of Wolverhampton city centre on how to play to its strengths.

Of course the Sunday Times, respected as it is, can only go skin deep in its survey. It does not account for the wonderful industrial heritage of the Black Country and its fantastic people who have a great sense of community and belonging. It does not touch on the vibrancy of Telford, with its thriving town centre and forward-looking economy. And it fails to mention the long list of wonderful market towns that dot across Shropshire and Staffordshire.

Home is where your heart is and, interesting as this survey is, it literally fails to get to the heart of the matter.

While it’s gratifying to see local towns and suburbs featured, we all know that we could fill a survey with scores of local towns, cities and villages, within our region.


Rishi Sunak is desperate to get back to business. Unfortunately events keep getting in the way.

As he travelled to North Wales to mark a significant economic investment in Anglesey, all attention remained in Westminster as speculation continues about the future of Boris Johnson. The chances are, the former PM will face some kind of sanction.

However deserved that might or might not be, the last thing Mr Sunak needs right now is a by-election, particularly if Boris Johnson ends up standing. Whatever happens, the saga is set to linger on for a few months, with the Tory Party continuing to look more than a little dysfunctional as we move perilously close to a general election.

Mr Sunak is competent. However, he is frequently dragged into the gutter by others. The Conservative Party needs to govern, not resemble an episode of EastEnders.