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Middle classes 'gentrifying' market towns

Middle class people buying second properties in English market towns are having a profound and inexorable effect on the local area, new research claims.Although second home ownership abroad is often the main choice for people with money to invest in a second property, Researcher Craig Wheway from the University of Leicester argues that English market towns are becoming increasingly popular.This had led to demographic and economic changes as the towns become more 'gentrified', he said, turning into "bustling urban centres"."People often associate rural market towns as centres of the rural economy, with farms providing local produce and buildings which show off distinctive architecture," Mr Wheway said."The reality is that they increasingly have to adapt to an economy moving away from agriculture which involves the development of new skills."Market towns, his research states, have traditionally been popular places to settle, particularly among the elderly, due to the proximity of shops and leisure facilities.His research found that changes to the towns include the conversion of traditional pubs to restaurants serving 'a la carte' menus with higher prices."[The research] is pertinent [as] no one has yet linked middle class migration with rapidly rising property prices in market towns," Mr Wheway added.His study will be presented at the Festival of Postgraduate Research at the University of Leicester on June 29th.

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