West Berkshire in top 20 per cent places to live in the UK
The 2012 Halifax Quality of Life Survey has placed West Berkshire 44th out of 250 districts in the UK.
However, in a survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics last summer, West Berkshire was ranked the fifth happiest place to live in the UK.
Based on a range of factors, including residents' health and life expectancy,
employment, crime rate, weather and broadband internet access, the north Hampshire district of Hart remains in first place for the second year in a row in the Halifax survey.
West Berkshire is the fourth highest ranking district in Berkshire, with Wokingham in fourth place, Windsor and Maidenhead in 13th place and Bracknell Forest in 20th place.
Other local areas that did not fare so well were Basingstoke and Dean in
58th, Wiltshire in 111th, Reading in 132nd, Slough in 213th and Oxford in 224th.
The average gross weekly earnings per person in West Berkshire is £698, which is £132 lower than in Hart, but West Berkshire’s employment rate is 0.6 per cent higher than in Hart at 79.2 per cent.
According to the survey, the burglary rate in West Berkshire is 36.4 per 10,000 population, while the life expectancy for men is 80.4-years-old.
The average annual rainfall in the district is 764mm, with Castle Point, Essex, recording the least amount of rainfall with 508mm last year.
In terms of sunshine, West Berkshire has 30.9 hours of sunshine per week compared 36.5 hours in the sunniest place in the UK, which is Eastbourne.
Leader of Newbury Town Council, Julian Swift-Hook (Lib Dem, Pyle Hill) said he is not surprised that West Berkshire has gained a place in the top 50 areas to live in the UK.
“I’ve lived here for 30 years and I’ve always known that West Berkshire is a happy and healthy place to live, so it’s great to have it confirmed officially,” Mr Swift-Hook said.
“It would be nice to be top of the poll, but being in the top 20 per cent is fine, and it means we still have a bit of wriggle room to make West Berkshire even better.”
Economist at Halifax, Martin Ellis added: "Taking a wide range of indicators into account, residents of Hart are still able to say they enjoy the best quality of life in the UK. The Quality of Life Index shows a wide range of districts coming out on top for each of the different indicators used.
"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."