Couples Who Have Crossed The Great Divide: North To South

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The Independent Online
PHIL AND HELEN ROWLANDS live in Colliers Wood, south London. Mrs Rowlands, 24, works for a music publisher; Mr Rowlands, 26, is a music producer. They moved from Lancashire, where they were renting accommodation, just over two years ago. They bought a two-bedroom house for pounds 69 000, presently on the market for pounds 109,000. "We moved to London for the simple reason that there are more work opportunities for myself as a music producer than there are in Lancashire," Mr Rowlands said. They have been bowled over by the entertainment possibilities in the capital. "The options in London are amazing," said Mr Rowlands. "There is so much more choice." But not everything down South is greener: "People are less friendly and polite than in the North of England." Mrs Rowlands hopes to have children in the next few years, but would opt to do so in the suburbs. "We are in the process of moving to a larger house in Isleworth, in Middlesex. It is a lot greener there, with a better atmosphere to bring up children than Colliers Wood."

Aughton, Lancashire 1997

House: two bedroom terrace

Cost: pounds 450 per month rent

Combined gross monthly earnings: pounds 2,100

Food: pounds 220 per month

Electricity: pounds 27 per month

Gas: pounds 20 per month

Telephone: pounds 25 per month

Council Tax: pounds 55 per month

Water: pounds 25 per month

Pension: N/A

Car: Ford Escort

Monthly outgoings: pounds 822

Local amenities: Italian restaurants, pizza take-away, park, snooker hall

Colliers Wood, London 1999

House: two bedroom terrace

Cost: pounds 530/month mortgage

Combined gross monthly earnings: pounds 4,400

Food: pounds 250 per month

Electricity: pounds 27 per month

Gas: pounds 20 per month

Telephone: pounds 120 per month

Council Tax: pounds 67 per month

Water: pounds 24 per month

Pension: N/A

Car: Ford Escort 3 years old

Monthly outgoings: pounds 1,038

Local amenities: Thai and Indian restaurants, cinema, theatres and bars.

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