District is in top 10 in the country

PUBLISHED: 15:08 26 April 2007 | UPDATED: 10:19 31 May 2010

COMMUNITY projects such as the under threat Buffy Bus may suffer after Uttlesford was named the 10th best place in the country to raise a family. Saffron Walden mayor Hilary Shibata was delighted to see the district make the top 10 in the Reader s Digest

COMMUNITY projects such as the under threat Buffy Bus may suffer after Uttlesford was named the 10th best place in the country to raise a family.

Saffron Walden mayor Hilary Shibata was delighted to see the district make the top 10 in the Reader's Digest poll.

But she believes being seen as an affluent area may make it hard for community projects to secure much-needed grants.

She said: "I'm surprised it only came 10th in the list as I think the area is the best place to bring up a family.

"The only problem is that it makes getting a community grant very difficult as Uttlesford is seen as an affluent area, but there are still areas of very special need in the district.

"The Buffy Bus is a good example of a project that makes Uttlesford a good location for families and keeps up community spirit."

Failure to secure grants has meant the Uttlesford Buffy Bus Association needs to raise £10,000 in the next fortnight to keep the service on the road over the summer. Its running costs amount to £1000-per-week.

The bus will be in Saffron Walden's Market Square on Saturday between 10am and 3pm as its organisers look to get as many people as possible to sign a petition asking Essex County Council for financial support.

A nationwide poll by Reader's Digest magazine has found good state schools and a low crime rate were the most important requirements for a family-friendly area, closely followed by good hospitals and affordable housing.

Other significant factors were high employment and a low risk of flooding.

Uttlesford District Council Chairman, Alan Row, was pleased to see Uttlesford make the top 10.

"This is very nice to hear, as the local authority does care about the area and therefore does everything in its power to work to keep things nice for the people that live there," he said.

The authors who compiled the report said: "The winning areas are predominantly rural, peppered with small country towns - only three include towns with populations greater than 40,000."

To rank each area, family-friendly factors were weighted, based on the importance parents placed on them.

They were then measured against data from England, Scotland and Wales, including Home Office data.

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