Where are the best places to live in the countryside?
Annual report includes factors such as broadband access, weather, and school results
Alex Johnson has been part of The Independent's online team since 2007. He has been writing about microarchitecture on his internationally-acclaimed Shedworking blog since 2006 and is the author of Shedworking: The Alternative Workplace Revolution. His latest book is Bookshelf, published by Thames & Hudson.
Tuesday 25 March 2014
People living in Uttlesford in Essex have the best quality of life of any rural area in Britain, suggests a new report
The annual 2014 Halifax Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey puts last year’s winner Waverley in third place, and Uttlesford in Essex in the top spot, followed by South Northamptonshire.
Uttlesford, home to Stansted Airport, has made the top five before, coming second in 2013, third in 2011, and fourth in 2010. Overall, the best rural areas in which to live are dominated by the East of England, East Midlands, and the South East.
Earlier in the week, Bristol was named as the best city in the UK to live in, thanks to its “great shopping, great scenery and great social scene”.
"Uttlesford has consistently reported positive scores across a wide range of indicators for a number of years," said Craig McKinlay, Halifax Mortgage Director. "And taking a wide range of economic and social factors into account residents here can now lay claim to having the highest standard of living in rural Britain."
The survey takes a wide range of factors into account, including residents' health and life expectancy, crime rate, weather, employment, school results, broadband access, and personal wellbeing.
Uttlesford residents are comparatively wealthy, with average weekly earnings of £819 and an employment rate of 84 per cent, both well above the national average. Nearly 97 per cent report being in general good health. However, the average house price in the area is seven times local earnings, well above the average rural house price to earnings ratio for all rural areas of 6.2.
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
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A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
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An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
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Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
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Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
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A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
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A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
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A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square
A charming four-bedroom house overlooking Burleigh Square Park, close to Thorpe Bay
A three-bedroom farmhouse with a large inglenook fireplace and exposed beams
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