Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Where the Better Half Lives

Survey reveals the best places in the UK to live

by RAY CLANCY on JANUARY 3, 2011
The Best Place to Live

If you want to move to Britain and find sunshine then the Isle of Wight it the best place with an annual survey showing it is the sunniest place in the UK with an average of 37.4 hours a week.
Though if it is money that motivates, then the highest salaries can be found in Kensington and Chelsea, at £1,484 per week, followed by the City of London at £1,206, Westminster at £1,158 and Elmbridge in Surrey at £1,018.
Employment is highest in Ryedale in North Yorkshire and the Shetland Islands, where the rate is 86.1%, according to the fifth annual Quality of Life survey from the Halifax. Also scoring well are the Orkney Islands at 85.4% and Purbeck in the South West at 83.8%.
If you want less traffic and less crime then the best place to move to is Scotland. The lowest traffic levels are in the Western Isles, the Highlands, Orkney and Shetland Islands, Argyle and Bute and Isles of Scilly. While the lowest burglary rates per 10,000 households are in the Western Isles which also has the lowest population density in the UK.
London though is not just about congestion. The survey also shows that the lowest CO2 emissions per person are in the capital city. Tower Hamlets has the lowest at 1.7 tonnes of CO2 per household, followed by Southwark at 1.8 tonnes and the City of London at 1.9 tonnes, compared with a national average is 2.5 tonnes per capita.
Life expectancy is highest in Kensington and Chelsea at 84 years, followed by Westminster at 83 years and Epsom and Ewell at 82 years. Kensington and Chelsea also has the best school results with 92% of 15 year olds achieved five or more GCSE results, grades A to C, followed by the Isles of Scilly at 91%, Sutton, Hammersmith and Fulham both at 88% and Trafford at 87%.
Overall though, it is an exclusive corner of Surrey nicknamed the Beverly Hills of Britain that is named as the best place to live in the whole country. Just 130,600 people live in the district of Elmbridge, which includes places such as Claygate, Esher, Oxshott, Weybridge and Cobham and nearly every aspect of their lifestyle is better than most other people’s in Britain, according to the survey.
They are fitter, they live longer, they earn more, their children do better in their exams and the weather is nicer too. The area, just inside the M25, is a magnet for celebrities who enjoy a lifestyle which combines a rural idyll with easy access to London. Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood turned on the Christmas lights in the village of Claygate where he lives and other famous residents include footballers John Terry and Jamie Redknapp, Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker, publicist Max Clifford and snooker player Jimmy White.
The average weekly salary of an Elmbridge resident is nearly £1,200 before tax, the third highest in the country and double the national average of £598, according to the Office for National Statistics.
They certainly need such high salaries. The average cost of a home in Elmbridge is £378,823, more than twice the national average of £164,704. Residents also enjoy less than average rainfall and more than average sunshine and good school results.
‘For the third year running Elmbridge has delivered against a range of indicators to demonstrate that its residents have the best quality of life in Britain. The Surrey district scores highly on several measures, including health, life expectancy, employment, average earnings and school results,’ said Nitesh Patel, housing economist at the Halifax.
‘Many areas in southern England perform well in terms of average earnings, employment rates, health and the weather, whilst areas in the North tend to score highly on school exam results and physical environment characteristics such as low population densities and low traffic flows,’ added Patel.

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