‘Laughable’ - Shotley Gate rubbishes research claiming it is one of UK’s unhealthiest places to live

Shotley Gate, at the very tip of the peninsula, was in the top 10 unhealthiest places in Great Briti

Shotley Gate, at the very tip of the peninsula, was in the top 10 unhealthiest places in Great Britian, according to research from the University of Liverpool Picture: JIM TANFIELD - Credit: Inscope imaging

It is one of the most beautiful places in Suffolk - but villagers have been left bemused after their picturesque village was branded one of the country’s unhealthiest places to live.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool named Shotley Gate in their top 10 unhealthiest places to live alongside parts of London.

Even though it has no fast food shops and gambling spots, its access to healthcare, air quality and usable green space was judged to be poor.

But people living in the village cannot believe it is so low down.

Coucillor Derek Davis said: "To suggest Shotley Gate is among the 10 most unhealthy place to live is the UK is laughable.

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"Shotley Gate, with all its green spaces, walking trails, marina, two rivers and outstanding community activities, is part of the reigning Babergh and Suffolk Village of the Year.

"We were named Suffolk's Most Active Village two years ago along with Stradbroke due to our healthy approach.

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"This village is a haven for walkers, cyclists, sailors and runners, never mind a huge amount of dog walkers.

We don't have a fast food outlet, we don't have any gambling facilities, we are blessed with wonderful fresh air due to our proliferation of woods, copses, flora and fauna.

"Shotley Gate is home to many species of birds and wildlife, so to state we are unhealthy shows the data has to be seriously flawed."

What did the data show for the rest of Great Britain?

At a national level, the study found that six neighbourhoods in the top 10 were in London.

The study found that Soho had the greatest access to unhealthy opportunities such as takeaways, pubs and off licenses, combined with high levels of air pollution and low levels of parks and green spaces.

Liverpool senior lecturer in health geography, Dr Mark Green, who undertook the study, said: "The statistics reveal important insights about the concentration of certain amenities that may be damaging or promote health.

"For example, on average, individuals in Great Britain are just 1.1 kilometres away from a pub or bar, which is as close as they are to their nearest GP.

"We also found that 42% of people are within 1km of their nearest gambling outlet. These statistics reveal troubling issues with the neighbourhoods we live in and how they may be damaging to our health."

Professor Alex Singleton, deputy director of the Consumer Data Research Centre, said: "Our study found that access was not evenly spread across Great Britain - rural areas have poorer access to many health services, and those services which are seen as damaging to health are often concentrated in poorer areas.

"For example, 62% of people who live in the 10% most deprived areas are within 1 km of a fast food outlet compared to 24% in the 10% least deprived areas."

Mr Davis still believes Shotley Gate has more to offer than their score suggests, adding: "We have an excellent GP surgery, primary school and the outstanding Kidzone, a wrap around children's nursery and day care centre, within 2km of Shotley Gate.

"I would invite Dr Green, or anyone from the University of Liverpool or the data providers, to visit Shotley gate and see for themselves."

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