Hart in Hampshire is the best place to live in the UK, a study has found.Scotland’s 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.
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.
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 the West Midlands also feature in the top 10.Employment rates, wellbeing and the weather were also taken into account.
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.
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”.
Top 20 places: Hart, Hampshire
Orkney Islands, Scotland
Rutland, East Midlands
Craven, North Yorkshire
Richmondshire, North Yorkshire
Ryedale, North Yorkshire
St Albans, Hertfordshire
Tonbridge and Malling, Kent
City of London
Source: BBC Hampshire