I just got an RG350 from Sweetwater for under $400 - shipped! I returned a Prestige last week and the RG350 with the latest Edge II Trem has been stellar. I had a budget of $1500 as well and almost went with another Prestige model, but this RG350 seems every bit as nice as them for over $1000.00 less. The RG350 is discontinued, Sweetwater (good customer service, recommended) has 1 left.
just my .02..
Yes, but your $0.02 is less valuable than the £0.02 that the OP is looking to spend
As such the shipping from Sweetwater combined with the taxes the OP would have to pay to get a guitar into the UK would probably cost more than the guitar itself
Ibanez are not particularly bad value here in the UK at the moment, they also have strong resale compared to other brands.
To the OP...
Firstly remember that a guitar, whether it comes from the USA, Japan or Indonesia is still an import. For £1500 you can start to think about custom made guitar like a Jaden Rose, a Stormshadow or a Sabre Wraith, if you're not into custom then Ibanez is a great buy.
I would suggest you decide on the number of strings you want first of all, 6 vs 7 (or 8 ) is the first thing: Then think about a body shape; whether it be the super curvy JS
or the more hard edged JEM/RG then go and play them. You need to spend time playing these guitars because you don't have a definite idea of even the sort of guitar you want.
I've not bought a new guitar in ages, when I'm not sure exactly what I want, I like someone else to take the financial hit in case I want to sell it again thereafter. But Guitarguitar is a great mail order place. GAK has a good reputation as well.