by James Anthony

There are a lot of stresses that come with moving house. Earlier in August, I spent a fair number of days experiencing both as I shifted location in Norwich.I was making sure I had all of my belongings, desperately trying to cover up any damage or stains, and trying to work out the logistics of carrying my entire life from one house to another. The only saving grace in this process was the fact that I have only moved about five minutes down the road – across what is known as the ‘Golden Triangle’ – an especially desirable area to live in Norwich. For years, it has been considered one of the best places to be just outside the city centre, even gaining national coverage for its popularity. A reasonable judgement, to this day.

Any good estate agent will be able to tell you the origin of the Golden Triangle’s name, especially if you’re looking at houses in the area. Around the 1980s, house prices here shot up, and the houses in it became as sought after as gold, with the estate agents making a tidy profit on every sale. The ‘Golden’ refers to this value, and the name still holds true. Despite being named for its usefulness for mass capitalist organisations, many students, young families and working professionals will find that relatively, rent here is not cripplingly high compared to many other places in the UK, and the area is packed with these demographics. Being part way between the city centre and the university explains this, and also helps explain the ‘Triangle’ part of the name.

There is much debate over where the Golden Triangle starts and ends, and where the triangle shape is

There is much debate over where the Golden Triangle starts and ends, and where the triangle shape is, but the commonly accepted definition is the area between Earlham Road and Newmarket Road, stretching either side up to the Eaton area and the city centre on the other side – creating a sort of triangle shape. Many would argue that part of the Dereham Road also counts, and many attempt to say they have property in the Golden Triangle, which only goes to show just how popular the area is and how well it sells houses. The almost undisputed centre of the area is the bustling section on Unthank Road with several places for food, fresh produce and shopping generally. Many have been against the introduction of chains such as Subway and Tesco to the road, claiming that they will take away trade from the small businesses that characterised the area. This is just one of the issues that faces the Golden Triangle today.

(Golden Triangle / ‘Art trail’; via The Lentil)

There are always arguments over new shops, regular complaints about a high student population, and increasingly, a concern over the level of wear and tear in the area. Many will say that Norwich’s beloved triangle is not so golden any more.

I disagree with that assessment, as what made the Golden Triangle so desirable and successful still exists today. Despite the new chain businesses, takeaways and small independent shops continue to exist in the area. I would recommend supporting these shops, only going to the larger chains when needed. As well as supporting independent business, there is some really fantastic food and produce to be found. The population mix of students and families has often caused controversy, but the mix allows for students to get a feel for living in the real world in a pleasant area – allowing for Norwich to retain many UEA graduates and significantly boost the workforce in the city.

Despite the new chain businesses, takeaways and small independent shops continue to exist in the area.

There is, I admit, little doubt that certain streets have been looking a little rough round the edges recently, but we have to remember that this is a huge area, and an area filled with walkways, parks and very old houses, many of which are impressively well maintained for a small city. Perhaps more involvement in community projects would aid this, and also ease any perceived division between students and locals.

As a university student as well as a local Norwich boy, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. As long as the great individual businesses remain alongside the amazing mix of people, the Golden Triangle will remain the best place to be in the city. Even if house prices aren’t quite what they used to be, and estate agents would rather concentrate on more profitable areas, I think that for residents – the Golden Triangle is entering a new golden age. For me, the Golden Triangle is just as golden, and just as triangular as ever.

Featured image via tripadvisor / Unthank Arms Bar & Restaurant

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