We’re lucky to live in Test Valley, according to the latest survey from the Halifax, which placed our region in the top 20 rural areas to live in Great Britain.
Test Valley actually came 14th out of a total 119 local authority areas across Great Britain. We scored particularly well for employment at 81.4%, well above the national average of 70%. But the score also took into account factors like the weather (although the Isle of Wight is the sunniest spot), income levels, health and life expectancy, as well as things like broadband access, education (class sizes and GCSE results), crime, population density, traffic and CO2 emissions, and affordability of housing (compared to local earnings), all giving us a relatively good quality of life.
But if we didn’t live in Test Valley, the other places to consider would be the East of England as East and South Cambridgeshire, and East Hertfordshire came first, third and fifth respectively, with Wychavon in the West Midlands coming second. Other Hampshire places featuring in the top 50 include East Hampshire (32) and the New Forest (44). Wiltshire featured in 39th place.
That said, I’m not planning to move any time soon! Test Valley is such a wonderful place to live with its varied rural landscape, picturesque villages and towns like Romsey, Stockbridge and Andover, all with the beautiful River Test flowing through it.
And now the serious stuff… how they gathered the data in Halifax’s own words: “The Halifax Rural Areas Quality of Life Survey tracks where living standards are highest in Great Britain by ranking local performance across key indicators covering the labour market, the housing market, the environment, education and health. The survey examines all 119 rural local authority districts and is based on data at local authority district (LAD) level. Data has been gathered from a number of sources, including Halifax, Point Topic (Broadband data), ONS, DEFRA, the Met Office, the Department for Transport, Department of Children, Schools and Families, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Welsh Assembly, Northern Ireland Government and the Scottish Executive.”