England

Hart in Hampshire remains UK's most desirable place

Fleet Pond Image copyright Diane Sambrook
Image caption Hart boasts the county's largest freshwater lake - Fleet Pond

The most desirable place to live in the UK has been named as Hart in Hampshire.

The district's residents were found to be the healthiest and live the longest, with a high employment rate.

Surrey's Elmbridge and Winchester in Hampshire came second and third on the annual Halifax quality of life survey's top 50 list.

It was dominated by areas in south east England, and Hambleton, Yorkshire, was the only place in northern England to make the list at number 50.

The survey looked at factors including life expectancy, crime rates, education and weather.

It is the fourth year in a row that Hart has topped the list.

Top 10 most desirable places to live

  • 1 Hart, Hampshire
  • 2 Elmbridge, Surrey
  • 3 Winchester, Hampshire
  • 4 Rutland, East Midlands
  • 5 Chiltern, Buckinghamshire
  • 6 Uttlesford, Essex
  • 7 South Northamptonshire
  • 8 Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire
  • 9 Wokingham, Berkshire
  • 10 Waverley, Surrey

Hart, which is centred on the town of Fleet, boasts vast open spaces of heathland and woodland, as well as the county's largest freshwater lake.

More than 97% of residents report being in good health, and the average weekly wage is £839 - one third more than the UK average of £629.

Employment rate is also high, with four out of five 16 to 64 year olds in work.

Life expectancy in Hart is the joint highest in the UK along with South Cambridgeshire, with the male population typically living to the age of 83.

However, Hart residents pay a premium to live there as the average house price is nearly seven-and-a-half times the typical local annual income.

Image copyright David Stowell
Image caption Warwick was one of the biggest risers on the list, from 42nd to 11th place

Elmbridge, where average weekly earnings stand at £1,104, has moved to 2nd place from 6th position last year. In previous years it has topped the survey four times.

Other big climbers this year include Rutland, in the East Midlands, which jumped 17 places to number four.

Chiltern in Buckinghamshire has risen 10 places to number five and Warwick has moved from number 42 to 11th place.

Nowhere in Wales, Northern Ireland or the south west of England made the top 50. Scotland's Orkney Islands rose three places to number 47.

The report, which is the ninth Halifax has produced, uses statistics from various sources including the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Met Office.

Image copyright Darren Smith
Image caption Hart is centred on the town of Fleet

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