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Essex district is Britain’s best rural area to live

Residents of Uttlesford in Essex enjoy the best quality of life of any rural area in Great Britain, according to the 2014 Halifax Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey.

With last year’s winner Waverley dropping back to third in 2014, Uttlesford tops the annual survey with South Northamptonshire taking second spot.The annual Halifax Rural Areas Quality of Life 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. This is the first time Uttlesford has come top, although prior to this the Essex District had made the top five on three separate occasions, coming second in 2013, third in 2011, and fourth in 2010.

Nestled in the North West corner of Essex, Uttlesford is a relatively new district having only been formed in 1974 following the merger of the boroughs of Saffron Walden, Dunmow Rural District and Saffron Walden Rural District. Today it is perhaps best known as home to Stansted Airport.

Uttlesford residents are comparatively wealthy, with average weekly earnings of £819 and an employment rate of 84% – well above the national average of £608 and 74.4% respectively. While 96.7% of residents report to be in general good health, they can also look forward to a life expectancy of 81.8 years. However, the average house price in the area is 7 times local annual gross earnings, which is above the average rural house price to earnings ratio for all rural areas of 6.2.

Craig McKinlay, Halifax Mortgage Director, said:

“Uttlesford has consistently reported positive scores across a wide range of indicators for a number of years. 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.

“In terms of personal well being and general good health, Uttlesford residents score among the highest in Great Britain. And while house prices relative to earnings are above the rural average, Uttlesford still performs strongly in terms of average weekly earnings and a high employment rate.”

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