The author of a book that named Antrim in a list of ‘Crap Towns’ across the UK has said he would be happy to visit the area and check it out for himself.
Antrim was placed 35th on the list, which had London as number one and Sheernef, near Kent, in fiftieth place on the list.
Author Sam Jordison, who has written two other books of the same nature, said he would accept an invitation to the town to see why it received 12 nominations from people claiming it was not a good place to live or visit.
He said the ‘Crap Towns Returns’ is “generally tongue-in-cheek” and is compiled through nominations submitted since 2012.
Antrim’s inclusion was relative to its size, he said, but the local council has firmly rebuffed his claims, saying 12 nominations in a population of 50,000 was very small.
Although unavailable for official comment on Thursday a council spokesperson highlighted various attractions in the area including the Castle Gardens, the Lough Shore Park and Antrim Forum.
Alliance councillor Neil Kelly said Antrim is a fantastic place to live and paid tribute to the “real, honest, genuine people” there.
“I defy anyone to sit in the crowd at our annual Civic Awards and not be moved by the local heroes making life better for their community. That’s the real Antrim - the Antrim I know.
“The authors seem to have taken offence at Antrim’s housing estates, but there are some great estates in the town. I grew up on the Dublin Road and it was an excellent place to live.
“I also meet many visitors and tourists when I am out and about walking my dogs and I must say they are positive about Antrim and what it has to offer. The area is packed with historic sites and castle grounds and a host of beautiful listed buildings. Not forgetting the natural beauty of the Lough Shore, Tardree Forest and Rea’s Wood.
“Antrim is a vibrant community with plenty to be proud of and I would lay down a challenge to the authors of this book to come here and let me give them the guided tour to meet local people and see the town for themselves.
“I would be very surprised it they still held the view that Antrim was as bad as they are trying to make out.”
Sam said Hull, which appeared as number three on the list 10 years ago and has now been named UK City of Culture, had perhaps been inspired to improve after the book’s publication.
“I suppose it draws attention to a place and makes people talk about the problems which may be in that town or area,” he said.
“It might motivate people to have an honest conversation about issues that need to be addressed.”
Although Sam said there had been feedback from people defending the town, he added that he received some more nominations after the book was published.
“I’ve had a lot of people tweeting about it and agreeing,” he said. “I’ve got to accept that people have criticisms of the book but towns also tend to receive nominations for valid reasons.”