Uttlesford is one of best places in UK

UTTLESFORD has rocketed into the top 10 of the most desirable places to live after jumping up 12 spots in an annual quality of life study.

The district rose from 18th place in 2011 to sixth this year following a survey by the Halifax bank which takes into account factors such as crime, life expectancy, traffic, jobs and house prices.

It was also revealed that Uttlesford has the biggest homes in the country – with an average of 6.4 habitable rooms – alongside Chiltern, South Buckinghamshire and Rutland.

According to the study, the district has the best quality of life in the East of England region.

Mayor of Saffron Walden David Watson welcomed the news and said it did not come as a surprise to him that the district had been recognised in such a positive light. He told the Reporter: “If you look at where we are, the district is is probably the most rural area left near to London and has one of the nicest collections of historic buildings.

“Add to that the attractive villages and two small towns that create such a rural atmosphere and it is clear why people love this way of life. The challenge is to keep it that way and not build ourselves into trouble.”

Hart in Hampshire was awarded the top honour for the second year running – beating four-time winner Elmbridge in Surrey into the runner-up spot – while nowhere in the north of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales featured in the top 50.

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Halifax economist Martin Ellis said: “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.”

Other districts which fared well in the study were Chelmsford in seventh, East Hertfordshire in ninth and South Cambridgeshire in 16th. East Cambridgeshire also made the top 50 in 41st, but this was a big drop from fourth in 2011.