Uttlesford is UK’s third best - can it stay that way?

PUBLISHED: 07:58 21 April 2011 | UPDATED: 10:44 21 April 2011

Saffron Walden Common.

Saffron Walden Common.

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HOUSING pressures and the threat of airport expansion have been highlighted as issues to ‘keep the eye on’ despite Uttlesford coming third in a best place to live poll.

Banking and housing experts Halifax conducted a UK-wide survey to find the best rural places to live and Uttlesford finished just behind South Cambs and East Herts.

Uttlesford MP Sir Alan Haselhurst welcomed the news but expressed caution going forward because pressures on rural communities are likely to increase.

“We still have a housing shortage in the district and issues with public transport and faculties in towns could be improved – but this poll is good news for the district.

“It is important that Uttlesford keeps its style of life intact and also keeps a hold of its rural character. Our small villages and neat market towns is what sets us apart from many other places.

“Most recently, fighting off expansion at Stansted Airport was a key part of that ethos as that would have changed the area we live substantially.”

The poll conducted throughout 2010 measures the quality of life through employment rates, housing markets, environmental issues, healthcare and education.

It comes hot on the heels of another survey result released in December 2010 which placed Uttlesford eighth as a best place for a high quality of life in the UK.

With many villages in The Reporter patch sitting on the border between South Cambs and Uttlesford, residents appear to be enjoying the best of countryside living.

According to the poll approximately 95 per cent of are in general good health, the life expectancy of 80 to 82 is the highest in the UK overall, employment rates are at 79 per cent, and education levels are in line with the national average – crime is also considered as very low.

The news has been greeted with an excited response from estate agents as the Uttlesford housing market continues to buck the national downward trend.

Mullucks Wells director Daniel Galati said: “We’re thrilled – but not remotely surprised – that the district of Uttlesford has performed so well in this latest survey. “The area has an unbeatable combination of beautiful countryside, quality schools, and excellent transport links to both London and Cambridge via the M11, and to places further afield via Stansted Airport.

“We’ve known about this region’s benefits for years - but it’s refreshing to hear that the rest of the UK is also starting to catch on.”

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