Small village not far from London named as top spot to live in UK

by Ray Clancy on December 18, 2015

Expats in the UK like the cosmopolitan outlook in London, but if they are looking for quality of life they might want to consider a small village within commuting distance which has been named the best place to live in the country.

Overall the county of Hampshire is at the top of the UK’s annual quality of life survey for the fifth year in a row and the village of Hart the best place to live, yet it is easy to commute from the area into central London.

Union JackHart remains at the top of the survey by home lender the Halifax by scoring consistently highly across a range of categories covering residents’ health and life expectancy, personal well-being, employment, a low crime rate and good weather.

However, elsewhere in the top 10 there has been a significant shake-up, with South Oxfordshire climbing 19 places to take second place, Mole Valley in Surrey moving up 12 spots to seventh, and Guildford, also in Surrey, up 15 to eighth. In fact the South East dominates the table in 2015, securing seven of the top 10 places.

But the top spot comes with a price, as the average house price in Hart is eight times the average annual pre-tax local income, compared to the national average of 6.8. Nevertheless, this measure is still lower than in over half of the other areas in the top 50 best places to live.

“A mixture of good health, high wealth and a generally happy life continues to cement Hart’s place as the best place to live in the UK. Low crime rates, good weather, and a long life expectancy all play an important part in keeping this Hampshire district at the top of the pile,” said Martin Ellis, housing economist at the Halifax.

“Many areas in south eastern England also perform well in terms of average earnings, employment rates, health and the weather. But the South doesn’t have it all its own way, and there are areas in the North which score highly on school exam results, and physical environment characteristics such as low population densities and low traffic flows,” added Ellis.

The East of England also rates well with close to a fifth of the local authorities placed in the top 50. The remainder is split between three in West Midlands, three in the South West, six in East Midlands and one each in London and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Northern areas tend to receive high ratings on school exam results and environmental measures such as low population densities and low traffic flows. Areas in the south of England typically perform better than elsewhere on average earnings, employment, health and weather. Northerners believe themselves to be less anxious and happier than in those living in the south; southerners, on the other hand, are more satisfied and content in life.

The survey also shows that employment is highest in Winchester in Hampshire at 87.4%, ahead of the Orkneys Isles at 86.3% and Eastleigh in Hampshire at 85.3%. The UK average is 72.9%.

The biggest homes are in Uttlesford in Essex, Chiltern, South Buckinghamshire and Rutland, which all have an average of 6.4 habitable rooms. The smallest homes are in the City of London, Tower Hamlets, and Westminster, all below four habitable rooms. The average number of habitable rooms in UK homes is 5.5.

Some 80% of local area districts households have access to superfast broadband where download speed is greater than two megabits per second (Mbps).They include Manchester and Trafford, York, and Ards in Northern Ireland. Across all areas of the UK the majority of households have a good level of broadband access.

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