England

Hart in Hampshire 'best place to live in UK'

Fleet Pond, Fleet Image copyright Ian Paterson
Image caption Hart in Hampshire, which is home to Fleet Pond, came top in the Halifax study

Hart in Hampshire is the best place to live in the UK, a study has found.

The Orkney Islands retained its second place position for a second year, while Rutland in the East Midlands came third.

The annual Halifax quality of life study looked at a range of factors including health, earnings, crime rates and life expectancy.

Women in Hart have the longest average life expectancy at 86.7 years, the report said.

Image copyright Bill Henderson
Image caption Orkney was named the best place to live in Scotland, and second best in the UK

The district, centred on the town of Fleet, came top between 2011 and 2013 but was only in 26th position last year.

Halifax said it "rocketed" back to first place having scored well in the Office for National Statistics personal wellbeing survey.

Image copyright Kate Jewell
Image caption Rutland in the East Midlands, which is home to Normanton Church at Rutland Water, was named third in the study

Last year's top scorer, Winchester in Hampshire, along with Wychavon in Worcestershire, Wokingham in Berkshire, Waverley in Surrey, Craven and Richmondshire in North Yorkshire, and Stratford-on-Avon in Warwickshire also feature in the top 10.

Employment rates, wellbeing and the weather were also taken into account.

Image copyright Jon Wornham
Image caption Wychavon in Worcestershire, which is home to the town of Droitwich Spa and its barge canal which opened in 1771, was named fourth in the study after coming third last year
Image copyright PA
Image caption Last year's top scorer, Winchester in Hampshire, dropped to fifth place this year

At least nine in 10 Hart residents reported good or fairly good health and the area has the third longest life expectancy for men at 82.5 years, the report found.

Residents also enjoy 32.5 hours of sunshine per week, compared to the national average of 29.7 hours.

Image copyright Stehen McKay
Image caption The market town of Wokingham in Berkshire came sixth in the report
Image copyright Stefan Czapski
Image caption Waverley in Surrey, which is home to the town of Godalming where the borough's headquarters are, was seventh on the list

However, the study found living in Hart comes at a price, with the average house price standing at £419,231, which is 8.8 times the average annual pre-tax local income.

The study said many areas in southern England scored strongly in categories including the labour markets and health, while northern areas tend to perform well on education and "benefit from more affordable properties with lower house prices to earnings".

Image copyright Lakeland Ramblers
Image caption Craven, which centres around the market town of Skipton, was eighth in the report
Image copyright Ray Ellis
Image caption Ninth in the study was Richmondshire, which covers a large northern area of the Yorkshire Dales including Arkengarthdale
Image copyright Dominic Moore
Image caption Stratford-on-Avon was number 10 in the poll

Top 20 places:

  1. Hart, Hampshire
  2. Orkney Islands
  3. Rutland, East Midlands
  4. Wychavon, Worcestershire
  5. Winchester, Hampshire
  6. Wokingham, Berkshire
  7. Waverley, Surrey
  8. Craven, North Yorkshire
  9. Richmondshire, North Yorkshire
  10. Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire
  11. Uttlesford, Essex
  12. Ryedale, North Yorkshire
  13. Westminster, London
  14. South Oxfordshire
  15. St Albans, Hertfordshire
  16. Tonbridge and Malling, Kent
  17. East Hertfordshire
  18. City of London
  19. Chiltern, Buckinghamshire
  20. Rugby, Warwickshire

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