South Cambridgeshire tops a quality of life poll

South Cambridgeshire tops quality of life poll

Halifax survey identifies South Cambridgeshire is the best place to live in rural Britain

The countryside around Cambridge is the best place to live in rural Britain, according to a Halifax survey which gave it the top spot for its mix of high incomes, life expectancy, good health, high educational standards – and the fact that it doesn't rain too much.

In a survey of every rural area in the UK, South Cambridgeshire emerged at the top of the table, closely followed by East Hertfordshire, Uttlesford (the area around Stansted Airport) and Aylesbury Vale in Buckinghamshire.

But South Cambridgeshire edged ahead of every other part of the UK with 95% of its 140,000 residents reporting generally good health, and the highest life expectancy of any rural area in the country. Average weekly earnings across the area, made up of 105 villages, are £739, and the employment rate, at 79%, is one of the highest in the UK.

Alex Colyer, executive director of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: "It's a very vibrant place with a science and education-driven economy which ripples out of Cambridge. We have lots of biotech and science companies and low levels of deprivation."

Recession and austerity have barely touched the district, where house prices rose strongly through 2010 and currently average around £275,000. Unemployment is below 2% and employment in the R&D sector is 18 times the national average.

Halifax measured every rural location in Britain on criteria including home size, traffic flows, employment, crime, weather, and GCSE results.