BASINGSTOKE has once again found itself on a dubious list, being named one of the most depressing towns in the UK.

iLiveHere, a website that reviews Britain's towns and cities, has named Basingstoke among the 20 most depressing towns in the country, seemingly based on little more than a "quick poll in the office". 

Basingstoke is ranked 19th with Falmouth, Peterborough and Aberdeen occupying the first three spots.

However, this lack of research has left many residents feeling frustrated and misrepresented, and it has sparked passionate responses from some people, with many leaping to the town's defence.

READ MORE: Basingstoke nominated as one of UK's 'most depressing' towns in 2024 poll

Mark Jones, partnership manager at Destination Basingstoke, expressed his exasperation with such recurring narratives.

Basingstoke Gazette: Mark Jones, partnership manager at Destination BasingstokeMark Jones, partnership manager at Destination Basingstoke (Image: Contributed)

“For me, it’s a bit of an eye-rolling moment when a new survey claims Basingstoke is one of the most depressing places to live in the UK," he said.

“It was a similar negative story back in 2003 that prompted myself, then editor of the Gazette to launch the Basingstoke – A Place to be Proud of campaign.

“I was fed up with people deriding our town when I knew from first-hand experience that it was a place full of great people, businesses, and community organisations – a place to be proud of. It was then and it still is today.

“I find the ‘Basingstoke is a depressing place’ stories an irritation. Nowhere is perfect, and Basingstoke has items in the must-do better column. However, where doesn’t? And in my opinion, Basingstoke has many more pluses than minuses.”

Effie Blankson, a local businesswoman and chair of the Cultural Diversity Consortium, offered a glowing endorsement of Basingstoke.

Basingstoke Gazette: Effie BlanksonEffie Blankson (Image: Newsquest)

She praised its diverse cultural scene, range of activities and attractions, and convenient transport links.

"I moved into Basingstoke in 2008 from the silence in Binfield and for me, it has been a delight ever since," she said.

"My daughter has enjoyed a valuable education and childcare services when we needed it. It’s the perfect mix – no London chaos, no Binfield tumbleweeds, just the right mix of everything.

“Rural scenery and history to enjoy, an urban buzz, and a vibe that’s uniquely Basingstoke. There are decent attractions available and if you want more, with the great transport links we have, London is an hour or so away, and further south towards the coast we can enjoy summers at the beach not a trek away with family.

"Sure, our town centre could use a few more shops, but for me, it is just a great excuse to explore. To go on a mini adventure around the likes of Reading and London which are just a short train journey away.

"Now, the food scene and I’m a foodie, from jollof rice to a chicken korma, fish and chips, and all else in between let’s just say my taste buds have a very decent life here because Basingstoke’s got flavour.

"That also comes with the beauty in its changing people where a sound cultural mix of cultures and faiths has exploded beautifully. When I think about Basingstoke, I feel balanced. She’s agile, cool, quirky, and all kinds of awesome.”

Basingstoke resident, Jan Mabbott, thinks the town is definitely much better than how it is portrayed.

"Yes, the shops are disappearing quite rapidly, but I don’t know why Basingstoke is being branded as one of the most depressing towns in the country," she said.

"Of course, there has been a downturn for a long time. But I don’t think it’s an awful place to live. There are two cinemas and we have the Anvil. But I think it’s the shopping scene that makes people think it’s not the best town.”

However, not all residents shared such a positive view.

Georgette Jones expressed frustration with the growing housing developments seemingly outpacing the creation of new activities and amenities.

Basingstoke Gazette: Basingstoke resident Georgette JonesBasingstoke resident Georgette Jones (Image: Newsquest)

“They are building more and more houses and then there are less and less things to do in this town," she said.

"We used to have a carnival years ago. That used to be really good. But you have to pay for everything good in this town.”

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Another resident, Rita Dunworth, said: “I think it is depressing now. I have lived here for 20 years, moved away, and came back here when my husband passed away. The town has changed a lot during that time.

“Basingstoke is what you make of it. There are other places just as bad. But you have to get up, shake yourself and get out there. They are shutting everything down and there’s only food shops left.”

Do you think it's unfair that Basingstoke is consistently branded as one of the worst places to live? Why not write a letter to the editor via