Hart in Hampshire remains UK's most desirable place

The Hampshire district of Hart The rural Hart area includes the towns of Fleet and Yateley

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Hart in Hampshire has been named the UK's most desirable place to live for quality of life for the second year running.

The study by the Halifax bank took into account factors such as jobs, housing, health, life expectancy, crime, weather, traffic and house prices.

Hart district, centred on the town of Fleet, beat previous four-time winner Elmbridge in Surrey into second place.

Nowhere in the north of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales was in the top 50.

The annual survey shows districts in south-east England to be increasingly more desirable, with 30 districts in the top 50, up from 27 last year.

Top 15 Quality of Life districts

1. Hart

2. Elmbridge

3. Tunbridge Wells

4. Wokingham

5. Waverley

6. Uttlesford

7. Chelmsford

8. Chiltern

9. East Hertfordshire

10. Sevenoaks

11. St Albans

12. Maldon

13. Windsor and Maidenhead

14. Reigate and Banstead

15. Surrey East

Hart, in the north-east corner of Hampshire, has been dubbed "a step back in time", with 84 sq miles of green wooded landscape and the county's largest freshwater lake, Fleet Pond.

Halifax economist Martin Ellis said: "While not necessarily being the leading district across all measures, Hart comes out on top because it scores consistently highly across nearly all indicators.

"In particular, Hart residents enjoy good health, high employment, low crime, and high quality schooling."

The study found Hart residents can expect to live longer than the average Briton, with the average life expectancy at 81.7 years for men, compared to the national average of 79.

Employment in Hart is at 78.6% - well above the national average of 70.2% - and crimes rates are among the lowest in the country.

Elmbridge in Surrey, known locally as "Britain's Beverly Hills", topped the survey in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and still has higher average weekly earnings, at £1,162 compared to Hart's £830.

Wokingham held the title for a year in 2007 only for Elmbridge to regain its title again the following year.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 435.

    Interesting places on the list and I have lived in three of them. Obviously, the compilers have never been to rural Suffolk!

  • rate this

    Comment number 434.

    The most important factor for quality of life is the other people who live there. The sweetest sound in the world, it is said, is someone else calling your name. Without the human element, wherever it is will be a desert.

  • rate this

    Comment number 433.

    Here we go again, the usual twaddle about the "best" places to live.....

    I live in Shetland which for some mysterious reason is no. 3 in "Scotland"(Shetland doesn't belong to Scotland, we're simply colonially ruled by it).

    Anyway, despite the Simon King blurb and Promote Shetland blurb it's frankly a cold, wet and windy hole for 98% of the time!.

  • rate this

    Comment number 432.

    Why is New Milton not on the list ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 431.

    4 Minutes ago

    What about good old Slough, with its huge investment plans?"

    I grew up near Slough in the 1970s. It was a dump then, and it is a dump now. Sir John Betjamin hit the nail on the head.

  • rate this

    Comment number 430.

    What about good old Slough, with its huge investment plans? I think no one nominates it due to the damage the office tv series did (which was in Swindon)

  • rate this

    Comment number 429.

    I moved out of Hart earlier this year a couple of miles away to Bracknell Forest, why because of the amount of anti-social behavior in Hart. Fleet itself is nice during the day but come the night the high street is a no go for anyone over 30. Live outside of Fleet town itself then the council treats you like a second class citizen, I would never go back there!

  • rate this

    Comment number 428.

    Elmbridge. Don't understand why it is not ALWAYS No 1.
    Expensive to buy here yes, but I bought in the distant past and our suburban village has EVERYTHING, including the most comprehensive little shopping area, from dentist, doctor, vet, grocer, mini-supermarket etc. AND instant access to miles of commons, Waterloo 30 mins, with the South Bank and Trafalgar Sq a nice walk across the river

  • rate this

    Comment number 427.

    Very Happy with the listing! That's where you need to go and live folks!
    no where "up north" is worth even looking at Honest!! (and you wouldn't understand our language anyway..)
    Perhaps you could even try France?
    Take the Government with you please.
    Happy "Whatever it is you do down there" at this time

  • rate this

    Comment number 426.

    I know 4 of the top 5 very well having lived & worked in and around them for 30 years. All tend to have higher than average proportion of rich people living in them and within commuting distance of London, but little particularly desirable to me. Each to their own I suppose.

    The only surprise is that Hart has high life expectancy. I would have thought dying of boredom could be an issue...

  • rate this

    Comment number 425.

    I live in south shrop. We have a sense of community, we talk to one another, neighbours have fun together, you can count on them for help if you need it. You can see the stars at night, crime rates are low, the standard of living is good but you don't need endless streams of stuff to make you happy. Londoners, please stop coming here ruining it. We like the way we live. We don't need diversifying.

  • rate this

    Comment number 424.

    Chelmsford, Uttlesford & Maldon make up 20% of the top 15 - seems the only way really is Essex!

  • rate this

    Comment number 423.

    Don't be daft - we used to live in St. Albans (No. 7). There was a traffic jam from our front doorstep 2 miles to the centre nearly ALL THE TIME! Walk down the street, and my nose was full of black stuff (pollution). Now, we live in North Wales - its beautiful, no traffic jams, no commuting, no crime, a 3x bigger house for the same money and I feel FREE of that rat race! There is no comparison!

  • rate this

    Comment number 422.

    You've got to be kidding, I'm not disputing that part of the Uk is not desirable but really. I've traveled extensively within the uk & there are equally as nice areas in the North of England, Wales Scotland & Northern Ireland.
    This whole thing is flawed.
    How about the Lake district the fens cotswolds to name but a few

  • rate this

    Comment number 421.

    405. kozzy06 - take a look at St. George's Hill in Elmbridge mate, very diverse & very rich!

  • rate this

    Comment number 420.

    Don't believe any of this. If you want to know where the most desireable place to live is follow the money. A lot of it leads to Alderley Edge in Cheshire.

  • rate this

    Comment number 419.

    Its not where you are from its where you are at "Ian Brown". Sure the south has money and wealth but no soul and culture unlike those north of the border. The south is a lot like your dad dancing at a party, money cannot buy you class or style just look at Made in Chelsea or "Essex".

  • rate this

    Comment number 418.

    I think we all know the SE tends to have slightly better weather. The rest is meaningless twaddle related to wealth.

    Being rich means you are more likely to have better health & education and less tempted to commit crime. This is true whether you are rich in Fleet or Hull.

  • rate this

    Comment number 417.

    I have no interest in any of those places, why would anybody want to leave the Gower for these places when the Gower has all of them and so, so, so much more.

    Halifax wouldn't know about that though, their list was written by suits in. South England office.

    What is nicer? Highlands or SE? Gower or SE? Lake District or SE? Etc etc

    Nobody would rather live SE!

  • rate this

    Comment number 416.

    I think Halifax's PR team should get their P45's for their Christmas bonuses. How can a northern institution (based in Leeds) say that the south is a so much better place to live than their own backyard? It's like Manchester United saying Arsenal have better supporters!


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