Is it mad to live on a main road?



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Good way of getting a bargain at the heart of the community, or recipe for subsidence and insomnia? Living on a main road needs a lot of consideration. Mike O‘Flynn, head of content at explains

  • ‘Living on a main road in an interesting area can mean access to a vibrant street life of cafés, bars, independent shops and cultural attractions. If you’re on a main road near the centre of town, transport facilities will be on your doorstep and you’ll also spend a lot less time commuting – you may even be able to walk or cycle to work. Further out, you’ll still have to commute but you should be close to good transport facilities.’

    Is it cheaper?

    ‘When it comes to the expert’s view on being located on a main road it’s still seen as a disadvantage, and one that can reduce the value of the your home by up to 30 per cent. However, living on a main road does have some hidden benefits. If you can live with the noise it’s a good way of affording a bigger, better place than you could otherwise consider. For the first-time buyer it could mean the first step on the property ladder and for others it means the ability to shop around for larger homes at a more affordable price.’

    Buy earplugs

    ‘If you’re a light sleeper, realistically main roads are probably not for you. If you need to work from home or fancy a quiet night in, never mind a lie-in, noise could be a real problem. If you have a car, parking is also an issue to consider. In densely developed urban areas gardens and outside space can also be hard to come by. When shopping around for a property on a main road, keep an eye out for new builds specifically designed to withstand noisy urban living.‘For many, especially those who’ve chosen to move to the capital, the hustle and bustle that a house or flat on a main road provides can be appealing. One option is to invest in good double glazing on front facing windows to help protect from any overwhelming noise, while keeping your back windows open so you can escape traffic noise and car fumes.'

    Play safe

    ‘One downside of living on a main road is when it comes to having pets and young children. Both equally inquisitive and nimble, leaving the front door open for too long is not an option. Also, remember, if you buy above a commercial premises to check the business classification (A1, 2, 3) – and remember too that classifications and uses can change. Today’s flower shop might become tomorrow’s kebab shop.’

    First-hand facts

    ‘I’ve owned a house on a main road in Islington for the past five years and generally love it. I have great restaurants and bars literally on mydoorstep and a big bonus is that it’s never too frightening to walk home at night as the street is well lit and there’s a constant stream of traffic. I have double glazing which seems to keep most of the sound out. The main noise is sirens in the middle of the night but I rarely get woken up. I do have to be extra careful not to let the cats out though and don’t really open the front windows.’ Milly Deane, 31, nutritionist

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