Wonderful Wokingham: 'the best place to raise children'
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Monday 01 October 2012
Nestled in the Loddon valley, the peaceful market town of Wokingham is renowned for its excellent schools and low crime rate.
Now researchers have crowned the historic Berkshire town as the best place in the UK to bring up children.
Wokingham came out on top of this year's study of "family friendly hotspots" covering 2,400 post-code districts in England and Wales. It scored highly for affordable childcare, school results and earning prospects.
The market town, whose roots stretch back to before the Normans, is part of the commuter belt just 33 miles west of central London and has a population of over 30,000 people.
The research looked at 67 separate factors from best choice of schools and green spaces, to low crime rates and affordable property.
Parish priest Father Jim Joyce said: "When you see groups of teenagers in the street they move aside and say sorry, which I'm sure wouldn't happen in some other parts of the country. It's a homogenous community and a really rather pleasant place to be."
The study was drawn up by Family Investments, where Kate Moore, the head of savings and investments, said: "Wokingham's place at the top of our table reflects its combination of excellent school results, relative affordability for young families and low crime levels. We have tried to be as comprehensive as possible in gathering information on the factors parents have told us are most important."
It is not the first time that Wokingham has been hailed as a desirable place to live.
In 2007, the Berkshire town was named as having the best quality of life by Halifax Estate Agents. The survey found its residents were the healthiest people in the country, with a life expectancy of 80 for newborns.
Desirable towns: Family favourites
1 Wokingham, Berkshire
2 Woodley, Berkshire
3 Chulmleigh, Devon
4 Lightwater, Surrey
5 Shebbear, Devon
6 Oakham, Rutland
7 Bromley Cross, Lancashire
8 Bingham, Nottinghamshire
9 Chinnor, Oxfordshire
10 Yarm, Yorkshire
- 1 School playground evacuated over 'unusually aggressive' grey squirrel
- 2 Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke beats opponent 33 years his junior in exhibition boxing match
- 3 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 4 Today was a bad day for renters, landlords, and democracy
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
At least 100 dead after Islamists launch attack on Nigerian mosque
Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke beats opponent 33 years his junior in exhibition boxing match
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Russell Brand: 'Katy Perry? I don’t know who that is'
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
David Cameron sets out immigration reforms: We should distrust Ukip and their 'snake-oil of simple solutions'
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...
£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...
£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...
£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...