ONLY one area in Yorkshire features in a top 50 list of places in the UK with the best quality of life - exposing once again the north-south divide.
Nestled in north-east Hampshire, the district of Hart took the crown in Halifax’s Quality of Life Survey for 2015, with only Hambleton making the top 50. Nowhere in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland appeared.
Halifax assessed everything from health and life expectancy, wellbeing, employment and pay to crime rates, numbers of young people with five or more GCSEs, good weather and broadband internet access.
Adults in Hart, according to the latest Office for National Statistics survey on personal well-being, rated themselves to be among the happiest, most satisfied, believed what they did was worthwhile, and the least anxious in the country.
Hart also has a high employment rate and average full-time gross weekly earnings of £865 - 37% above the national average.
However the top 250 Best Places To Live index did feature eight other Yorkshire places, with Harrogate coming in at number two (65); Selby, 3, (112); East Riding, 4, (120); Ryedale, 5, (133); Richmondshire, 6, (160); York, 7, (164); Craven, 8, (169); Scarborough, 9, (237).
Residents in Hambleton, which takes in the market towns of Thirsk, Bedale, Northallerton and Easingwold, appear to be happier and less anxious than in many other parts of the UK. Martin Ellis, a housing economist at Halifax, said: “In the 2015 Halifax Quality of Life Survey, both Hambleton and Harrogate feature in the Top 100 best places to live in the UK. Both have an employment rate significantly above the national average, over 95 per cent of adults rate themselves in good health and men and women live, on average, into their 80s compared to 79.5 in the rest of the country.
“Added to this, adults in Hambleton appear to be happier and less anxious than many other areas of the UK, while in Harrogate they have a high level of life satisfaction and believe what they do in life is worthwhile. However, as with many other desirable places, living there comes at a cost, with the average house price around 8 times the average annual pre-tax local earnings, compared to the national average of 6.8.”
Branch manager of Hunters Estate Agents at Easingwold Andy Galloway said it came as no surprise that Hambleton was named as the top place to live in Yorkshire: “It’s just a lovely place to live. There are lots of people who never leave - I was born and bred here.
“Obviously there’s the scenery, and then for commuting we’re close to the A19 and you can get to the A1 in 20 minutes and York station in 20 minutes. Some people move here for the schools. There’s potentially another 200 houses being built on the periphery of Easingwold - builders want to build here - it’s a popular place.”