Spa town outscores rest of North in survey of the best places to live

Harrogate is the best place to live in the North of England, according to a quality of life survey.

The Stray, Harrogate. Picture: Simon Hulme

The spa town ranks at number 33 nationally, although the poll by Halifax is dominated by the South. The leafy Hampshire district of Hart has kept its crown as the most desirable place to live in the UK for the third year in a row.

Coun Cliff Trotter, who represents the Stray ward on Harrogate Borough Council and who is also a member of North Yorkshire County Council, said: “I was talking to an estate agent the other day and he was saying it’s absolutely manic now, people wanting homes in Harrogate. Go anywhere in the world and you meet tourists and they say ‘What a beautiful place to live.’”

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Ryedale was also placed in the top 50, coming in at 46.

The top 50 places to live in the UK are again dominated by the South East with almost half, 24, found in that region. The number of areas outside the South in the top 50 of the 2013 Halifax Quality of Life Survey has, however, doubled in the past 12 months to 12 and now includes South Northamptonshire, in third place, and Rushcliffe, in Nottingham, in seventh.

Southern areas tend to receive higher ratings for weekly earnings, the weather, health, and life expectancy, whereas Northern areas score well on education in terms of grades and smaller class sizes, lower house prices in relation to earnings, and lower traffic flows.

Martin Ellis, economist at Halifax, said: “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 Hampshire district scores highly on most of the measures used, including health, life expectancy, employment, average earnings, low crime, and relatively good weather.”

Comment: Page 14.