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Good neighbours don’t always become good friends

13th February 2007 Print
Over 90% of Brits believe that they are good neighbours, yet new research reveals that neighbourly traditions such as borrowing a cup of sugar or offering to baby-sit the kids are dying out.

Research by Churchill Home Insurance reveals more than a third of Brits (36%) feel that their neighbourhood has nose-dived over the last ten years. More than eight in ten householders (83%) would ignore a neighbour’s car alarm and seven in ten (72%) would ignore a neighbour’s burglar alarm. In addition, half of UK householders (49%) do not look out for their neighbours’ properties whilst they are on holiday.

There is also a lack of social interaction and fun within neighbourhoods. Only a quarter of children in the same neighbourhood play together outside (24%). Even invitations for drinks on special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays (20%) are not considered the thing to do.

However, in feeding the nation’s love of news and gossip, Brits are still up for having a gossip over the garden fence (56%) and nearly a quarter (23%) confirm their love of chat through the sharing of a pot of tea.

Over half of Brits (55%) wish their street was more neighbourly. In fact, eight in ten would feel more secure if they knew their neighbours. However, neighbourhood problems such as disruptive teens (27%), noise (45%), un-kept homes and gardens (26%) and arguments over the garden fence (14%) have all caused Brits to be suspicious about who is living next door.

Busy lifestyles are to blame for over half of Brits (51%) who say this is the reason they do not take the time to get to know the people living either side of them, while 40% think people simply don’t care about their neighbours anymore.

Martin Scott, Head of Churchill Home Insurance, comments: “Our research clearly shows that social trends such as longer working hours and commuting longer distances, people moving home more frequently and families enjoying more sedentary leisure activities within the home can affect the relationships that we hold with our neighbours.”

The research also revealed some of Brits’ best and worst neighbourhood experiences:

Some of Brits’ worst neighbourhood experiences reported:

Neighbours holding all night parties with loud music and shouting
Neighbours with messy gardens that creep over the walls
Neighbours stealing milk
Neighbours revving up car engines
Neighbours breaking windows

Some of Brits’ best neighbourhood experiences reported:

Neighbours looking after pets whilst householders were on holiday
Neighbours putting up fences that have blown over
Neighbours bringing over vegetables that they have grown
Neighbours making cups of tea after a house fire
Neighbours popping round on Christmas morning