Couples Who Have Crossed The Great Divide: South To North

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The Independent Online
IRIS HODGSON, 53, and her partner Paul Loveland, 51, moved to Harrogate, in North Yorkshire, when their employer, the Department of Health, relocated to Leeds eight years ago. They traded in Ms Hodgson's pounds 40,000, one-bedroom flat in Walthamstow, east London, and Mr Loveland's pounds 50,000, two-bedroom flat in Brixton, south London, for a pounds 126,000, five- bedroom, three-storey Edwardian house. Both are born-and-bred Londoner.s

Ms Hodgson, a civil servant, and Mr Loveland, a manager, settled into their new lifestyle quickly, and the North-South divide is a myth, as far as Ms Hodgson is concerned. "Harrogate is a wealthy part of North Yorkshire," she said. "I can't say I've noticed any difference in cost when we go for a meal, and a pint costs the same."

There is one disadvantage. "There is a definite difference in temperature up here," she said. "It's much colder. But we don't intend to go back to London. We like what we get from living in the North, which really surprises us."

Walthamstow/Brixton, 1992

House: one/two-bedroom flat Cost: pounds 350/month mortgage

Combined gross monthly earnings: pounds 45,000

Food: pounds 400 per month

Electricity: pounds 60 per month

Telephone: pounds 20 per month

Council tax: pounds 100 per month

Combined water: pounds 20 per month

Pension: N/A

Car: Ford Fiesta and BMW

Monthly outgoings: pounds 950

Local amenities: Theatres and art galleries in central London.

Harrogate,1999

House: five-bedroom

Cost: pounds 550/month mortgage

Combined gross monthly earnings: pounds 5,833

Food: pounds 600 per month

Electricity: pounds 30 per month

Telephone: pounds 25 per month

Council tax: pounds 75 per month

Water: pounds 30 per

month

Pension: N/A

Car: Ford Focus

Monthly outgoings: pounds 1,310

Local amenities: French and seafood restaurants. Open grassland.

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