A tiny UK village has been named as the ‘perfect place to live’ by residents, despite it being ripped apart by one of Britain’s busiest motorways.
North Ockendon, in the East London borough of Havering, is a sleepy neighbourhood with a rural feel.
But it’s also got an unusual quirk – as it’s split in two by the M25, the massive four-lane motorway that circles London.
And Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s controversial ULEZ expansion divides one of the village’s three roads in two.
The area seems like it should actually be in Essex or Thurrock – like its larger neighbour South Ockendon, reports MyLondon.
Villagers are proud to be Londoners, however, despite the area appearing like an anomaly on maps with North Ockendon being the only part of Greater London to be outside the motorway.
Richard Reeder, 74, who lives on Ockendon Road, said he has been living in North Ockendon for more than 50 years.
He said: “I do feel a part of London, because I was born and raised in London, in inner London.
“And then we’ve gradually progressed outwards, so I do still feel a part of London.”
Being on the Essex border has meant Richard has also developed an affinity for the county too.
He said: “There’s more open countryside, although Essex is getting built up like London is.”
Richard remembers the M25 being built, adding: “What made the difference was when they built the M25.
“So most people associate this area with either Thurrock or Essex, but most people don’t realise that this is still within the Greater London Area.
“But only because it falls within the boundary of Havering.
“The M25 was almost like putting a wall around the city, as far as I can see.”
Another resident, Eve Webster, 80, has also lived in North Ockendon for around 40 years – and she remembers when the M25 was first built.
She said: “Everyone was worried and concerned at the time.
“It ripped North Ockendon in half.”
The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion is also a very important topic in the village, with residents driving non-compliant cars set to be charged £25 a day from the end of the month in most Greater London roads.
The new map outlining the new boundaries for the plan reaches out to North Ockendon as it’s part of Havering, but stops suddenly south of the village at the border with Thurrock.
The expanded zone also appears to be divided down the village’s main road, Ockendon Road, which Richard lives on.
He said: “It’s down the middle of this road.
“We have to be compliant, the other side will do what they like.
“You tell me how it works because I haven’t got a clue.”
Jayme McDonald, 31, who lives on Fen Lane, said the area has a rural feel.
She said: “It feels really rural. Out the back we’ve just got fields. It’s lovely, and really quiet.”
Jayme added: “You’ve got the best of both worlds really, and I like the neighbours as well, because everyone knows each other.”
“I like to call this the perfect suburbia.”