Everybody needs good neighbours
Pretty much every Brit has got at least one, they tend to live in extremely close proximity to us, and depending on our relationships with them, they can either enrich our lives or be the source of constant irritation - they're our neighbours.
What constitutes a good one has been deliberated for decades, but today, MORE TH>N Home Insurance is set to put the debate to bed once and for all by revealing the blueprint for the perfect neighbour.
Based on a comprehensive month-long survey of over 1,000 homeowners from across the UK, the criteria for the blueprint draws in 12 of the most common types of interaction Brits typically have with the folks that live next door, from the practical (such as the frequency with which they check your property when you're on holiday) to the more personable (including the amount of times they'll invite you over or out for dinner in a given year).
The perfect neighbour will:
1. Deliver a house-warming bottle of wine to you within three and a half days of you moving in to your property;
2. Ask you to carry out no more than two menial tasks for them per month - 24 per year. (Examples include signing or taking delivery of a parcel for them, mowing a shared lawn or watering their plants);
3. Return an item they've borrowed from you within 16 days. (Examples include a power tool, an ironing board or a ladder);
4. Invite you round for a meal / barbeque or out to dinner six times per year;
5. Watch your kids for you ten times over the course of a year (that's baby sitting for a full evening or watching them for a couple of hours for you after work);
6. Engage you in ‘small talk' for no longer than four minutes when they bump into you in the street or catch your eye over the garden fence (any more than this and they are considered to be irritating and / or too intrusive);
7. Check up on your house or flat for you every four days when you go away on your summer holidays;
8. Return any balls or Frisbees that are inadvertently fired over into their garden within nine minutes;
9. Contact you within 17 minutes if your burglar alarm or car alarm sounds when you're not at home;
10. Stop playing loud music and take any al fresco parties inside no later than 9:02pm (if you're not at the party that is!);
11. Spend a total of two hours checking up on your pet when you go away on any two-week family holiday; and
12. NEVER, EVER cut any tree, plant or shrub that's in your garden but has grown partially into theirs - without consulting you first.
With the blueprint set, MORE TH>N commissioned a second survey of a further 1,000, different homeowners to find out exactly where in the UK the best and worst neighbours currently reside. Judged against the criteria above, the regional league table threw up some interesting insights.
Known for their personable and gregarious nature, and exemplified by loveable TV characters like Compo and Cleggy from ‘Last of the Summer Wine', it's perhaps not surprising that the best neighbours are to be found in Yorkshire - specifically those aged between 35 and 44. On the flip side, and dispelling any images of idyllic neighbourly relations conjured from warm-hearted programmes like ‘Gavin and Stacey', the worst hail from Wales. The full regional breakdown is as follows:
UK's best neighbours (in descending order)
2. South East and the Home Counties
3. North East
4. North West
5. East Anglia
6. South West
8. West Midlands
9. Greater London
10. East Midlands
In light of the findings MORE TH>N will be launching a nationwide search for Britain's best neighbour. Homeowners all over the UK will be encouraged to put their neighbours forward, with the winning household receiving the first-ever MORE TH>N green plaque, installed on their home and proclaiming them as Britain's best neighbour.
Janet Connor, Managing Director for MORE TH>N, commented: "Apart from those who live deep in the countryside or in the grounds of a stately pile, the majority of Brits will have neighbours, and house-to-house relations within even the smallest of neighbourhoods can range from disastrous to delightful. Although this blueprint can't cover every single experience that influences people's opinions of their neighbours, it does illustrate what Brits all over the country deem to be the most important traits of the ideal neighbour."
"Using the blueprint as a guide to help foster positive neighbourly relations will not only go a long way to making day-to-day neighbourhood life a more pleasant experience, it could also ensure that next door guards your house from thieves and will be happy to look after your pets while you're away - which could save you a great deal of money."