Mid-Suffolk best place to live in UK

MID-SUFFOLK is the best place to live in the whole of the UK - and the rest of the county is not far behind, according to a survey out today.

Craig Robinson

MID-SUFFOLK is the best place to live in the whole of the UK - and the rest of the county is not far behind, according to a survey out today.

Communities in this part of the world have the best quality of life amongst rural areas in the whole of Great Britain.

The survey - released today by the Halifax - tracks where living standards are highest in local authorities by ranking performance through the labour market, housing sector, environment, education and health.


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And Mid-Suffolk came out on top, with St Edmundsbury coming in eighth and Babergh thirteenth.

According to the survey residents of Mid Suffolk - which includes the towns of Stowmarket, Needham Market and Eye - are some of the healthiest and have one of the highest life expectancy rates of 80 years.

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The majority of householders are owner-occupiers (77%), while houses are larger than average with six rooms each.

Students' exam results are also above average (67.5% with five GCSEs grade C or above) and the area sees two hours more sunshine per week (30.3 hours) than most rural local authorities.

Tim Passmore, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, said it was a wonderful accolade.

“It reflects the difficult balance we are always trying to strike between preserving the environment and encouraging development and job opportunities,” he said. “We have really nice market towns but at the same time there are all these picturesque villages which are particularly attractive.

“Our transport links with the rest of the county are on the whole very good and we are well placed for the coast and to reach London.

“Unemployment has crept up recently but I think there is hope on the horizon - with the new nursing home opening at Baylham and the abattoir at Eye. Fortunately we are not dependent on one single sector.

“Also you have to pay credit to the education system - we have some wonderful schools on our patch and it all helps to make it a good place to be.

“The future's bright. It's not going to be easy - these are challenging times - but if we all keep together we will do the best we can.”

Gerry Baxter, parish councillor for the village of Debenham, in the heart of Mid Suffolk, said he could not think of a better place to live.

“I've been living here for 19 years now and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else - it's absolutely beautiful,” he said. “We have a lovely community here and that doesn't vary - we still have our post office and two pubs and we have a good leisure centre. People are very supportive of our local shops and long may it continue.”

MP David Ruffley's constituency spans both Mid-Suffolk and St Edmundsbury.

“This proves what we all know - that Suffolk is the best place in the UK to live,” he said. “As the MP for Stowmarket and Needham Market I know that these two towns have a fantastic community spirit and people try to look out for each other.

“Meanwhile in my humble opinion Bury St Edmunds is the jewel in the crown - not just of Suffolk - but of the whole country.

“You can't fail to be made happy by the fantastic Georgian architecture and the amazing cathedral. Suffolk continues to be a great British success story.”

Jennie Jenkins, chairman of Babergh District Council who lives in Nayland, said: “We are extremely privileged to live here in such a wonderful part of the country.

“It is a great environment and the rural communities are strong and vibrant - everyone pulls together.”

Mid-Suffolk

Mid Suffolk is one of the largest districts in England covering 87,107 hectares (335 square miles).

It has a population of 86,837 people - that's 0.9 persons per hectare (259 persons per square mile).

More than 70% of the population live in villages and rural areas.

It has five Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and two Regionally Important Geological Sites (RIGS).

31 of Mid Suffolk's settlements contain conservation areas and there are in excess of 4,000 listed buildings - more than any other district in the county.

Estimates suggest the population of Mid Suffolk will grow to around 98,700 by 2021.

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