A pitch for top city 1

March 20, 2008

Those of us who enjoy living and working in Norwich were astonished that the city was not near the top of your Halifax-Times Higher Education table for quality of life ("Where the grass is greener", 6 March). How misleading it is. Norwich was voted one of the world's "most liveable cities" of its size in a 2007 poll by the United Nations Environment Programme. It also has one of the UK's highest student retention rates. Many of those we teach love the city so much that they want to stay on after graduating or move back at the earliest opportunity.

New colleagues always comment on the quality of life here. They enjoy an attractive, historic city with a lively cultural scene, a church for every week of the year and a pub (it is said) for every day - all with proximity to rolling countryside and glorious coastline.

It was puzzling in an article in which the University of Oxford did not feature at the top or even near the top of a league table (as your opening paragraphs noted) that the first page was given over largely to a masterclass in spin from the head of press at ... Oxford. What does that august institution have to do to find itself down with hoi polloi on the inside pages?

David Mead, School of Law, University of East Anglia.

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