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Hart named UK's most desirable place to live for third consecutive year

Hampshire's Hart district has topped the UK's list of most desirable places to live for the third year in a row

Hart maintains top spot on UK's list of most desirable places to live

Hart has held onto its crown as the most desirable place to live in the UK for the third year in a row , according to the 2013 Halifax Quality of Life Survey.

The annual survey takes a wide range of factors into account including residents' health and life expectancy, crime rate, employment, school results, broadband access and personal wellbeing.

Hart scored consistently highly across almost all categories.

Its 80% employment rate is significantly higher than the 71% national average, while gross average weekly earnings of £843 are 37% up on the UK average of £616.

Some 97.4% of the population report being in good or fairly good health, and the average man makes it to just shy of 83, compared to the national average of 79.

Hart District Council leader Ken Crookes was delighted with the news.

He said: "This is a fantastic achievement for Hart.

"Health and wellbeing is a key priority for us and sport, which contributes to that, is continuing to be developed throughout the district with the introduction of a new Hart Leisure Centre in the next three years.

"The economy in Hart is strong with businesses thriving, this is evident from four businesses winning categories in the recent Hampshire-wide Inspire Business Awards.

"We pride ourselves on giving our residents and businesses the best of the best, making Hart a great place to live.”

'Advantaged area'

But Community Campaign Hart leader James Radley said he was "amazed" that Hart District Council believed they could in some way take credit for the impressive showing.

He said: "Taken on face value the survey is mainly concerned with the attributes of the population, not a reflection on Hart as a place.

"Undoubtedly a significant portion of the Hart population are motivated, driven individuals. In some respects someone struggling to achieve in life is excluded from living in Hart due to the high cost of living and lack of support services, this will help skew the result.

"The amount of money provided for social support services in Hart is reduced precisely because we are seen to be an advantaged area.

"I'm sure that most people in Hart have a healthy scepticism about the result; happy to take the accolade while not being entirely sure why it was given."

Halifax economist Martin Ellis said: "The old adage of ‘Health, Wealth and Happiness’ is the traditional measure of a good quality of life.

"For the third year running Hart has delivered against a range of indicators to demonstrate its residents have the best quality of life in the UK.

"The district scores highly on most of the measures used including health, life expectancy, employment, average earnings, low crime, and relatively good weather.

"These factors are reflected in the fact that adults in Hart rate themselves among the happiest and least anxious in the country and believe what they do in life is worthwhile."

The cost of living in the district is high, with average house prices seven-times the average pre-tax income.

How other areas fared

Meanwhile neighbouring Rushmoor was propping up the bottom of the list, coming 205th out of 250 areas in the list of the most desirable places to live.

While more than 96% of residents reported to be in good health, only 71% of GCSE students had five or more A-C GCSE grades compared to Hart's 84%.

Across the border in Surrey, Waverley and Elmbridge made it into fourth and sixth spots on the list respectively.



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