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Hampshire district named best place to live in UK

23/12/13

By Simon O'Hare

A district in Hampshire has been named the most desirable place to live in the UK for the third successive year.

Hart, which is centred on the town of Fleet, again came out on top in the annual Halifax quality of life survey.

Health and life expectancy, crime rates, weather, employment and the performance of local schools are among the factors taken into account.

With its 84 square miles of green woodland and the biggest freshwater lake in Hampshire, Hart has been described as "a step back in time".

Healthiest people in the UK

The district, which is situated in the north-east corner of Hampshire, is said to be home to the healthiest people in the UK.

Some 97.4 per cent of residents are reported to be in good or fairly good health.

Their life expectancy is also longer than anywhere else in the country, with mean living on average until 82.9 years compared to the national average of 79.

Hart's employment rate is also extremely favourable at 80 per cent compared to the national average of 71 per cent.

Weekly earnings more than national average

Locals tend to earn more too, with typical weekly earnings in Hart coming in at £843, whereas the national average is £616.

However, such desirable features come with a hefty price tag so it seems, with average Hart house prices said to be 7 times the annual local wage compared to the UK average of 5.8.

Just one area of London made it into the top 50 - the City of London in 38th place - and nowhere in Wales or Northern Ireland made it in.

The Orkney Islands, in at number 50, was the only location in Scotland featured in the top 50 rankings.

Coming behind Hart in second place was Uttlesford in Essex, rising from sixth position a year ago.

Impressive employment rate

Uttlesford's impressive 84 per cent employment rate and weekly average earnings of £819 helped propel it into the top two.

There were several big upward movers in this year's top 10 list of districts with the best quality of life.

This is mainly as a result of the index now taking into account new Office for National Statistics (ONS) research into personal wellbeing.

South Northamptonshire climbed a massive 27 places to third position and Rushcliffe in Nottingham surged up from 22nd last year to seventh this time around.

As previously, the south east dominated the top 50 list and this year accounted for almost half of it with a total of 24 locations. 

The east of England, meanwhile, claimed 12 of the places.

While southern areas tend to score more highly for weekly earnings, weather, health and life expectancy, those in the north fare well on education and lower house prices in relation to earnings.


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