South Cambridgeshire scores highly in national survey on quality of life

Yellow Flag Iris and cottage in backround early on a peaceful morning 24th May 2010 at the village pond Comberton. Picture by Nigel Palfrey

Contented residents have long thought they have the best of both worlds living in South Cambridgeshire, and now a study by a national newspaper has backed them up.

On Tuesday The Telegraph ranked every area in England and Wales to determine the best places to live in the county, with the villages west of Cambridge coming among the most satisfied areas.

Out of 7,137 areas compared, the region between Royston Road and the M11, which includes the villages of Hardwick, Toft and Comberton, as well as Eversden and Kingston Woods, was named 64th best in the country.

The figures were generated by comparing five different sets of data, which were used as markers of what makes a good place to live.

The levels of employment, home-ownership and net income were combined with the percentage of those reporting ‘good health’ at the last census and the ratio of reported crimes to the population to generate the ranking.

Cllr Ray Manning, the leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said he was unsurprised by the results, and put the region’s success down to the combined benefits generated by city and countryside living.

“I think it’s a good place to live,” he said.

“It’s still mainly a rural area, so it’s got all the advantages of living in the countryside, but at the same time we have got Cambridge city, and quite good facilities there.

“We have got fantastic opportunities for employment, and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the whole of the country, and it’s a combination of factors that mean we are very lucky to live here.”

Other areas of the county also scored well in the study, with the regions around Burwell, Duxford, Swavesey and Oakington all coming in the top 10 per cent of the country.

Cllr Manning said: “There are always issues; the roads could do with upgrading for example, but this is true everywhere.

“When I meet other council leaders from other parts of the country and they are talking about the problems they have got, our pale into insignificance.”

Cambridge itself scored less well, with the city centre ranked 3,182 out of 7,137.

Saffron Walden snuck into the top 2,000, with its home ownership rates dragging its score down. Parts of Ely came in at 1,601st.

Huntingdon was among the lowest-ranked areas of the county, coming in at 5,271, while areas of St Neots varied from 2,606th to 3,916th and much of St Ives came in at 3,664th, although some villages nearby scored very highly – Needingworth was ranked 107th.

Newmarket was 3,176th in the study, while Royston varied significantly in the charts, with much of the town coming in at 214th, but other parts coming 2,143rd. Much of Haverhill came in at 3,426th.

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