FOR a lot of people across the UK, they might like to think they live in the ‘happiest place around’, but residents of one North East town can now say they officially live in the ‘happiest place of them all’ after topping an annual poll.
Hexham in Northumberland, which boasts a population of just over 11,300 people, has been crowned Britain’s happiest place to live.
The “happy at home” index, now in its tenth year, asked more than 21,000 people across Britain how they feel about various aspects of where they live.
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Happiness measures in the index compiled by Rightmove include friendliness and community spirit, whether people feel they can be themselves, character and green spaces, opportunities locally to develop skills and amenities including schools, restaurants, shops and sports facilities.
For those that live in Hexham, the most recent poll might not come as much surprise, after the market town also before topped the index in 2019.
This year, Hexham managed to triumph over Richmond-upon-Thames in London (2nd) and Harrogate in North Yorkshire (3rd) to claim top identify.
The average price tag on a house in Hexham is £297,088 – just a quarter of that in the leafy London suburb of Richmond, which has an average house asking price which is just shy of £1.2 million.
After finding out that Hexham has topped the surveys once again, Mayor of the town, Derek Kennedy, hailed the Northumberland location as “incredible”.
He said: “Hexham is thrilled to be awarded the happiest place to live in Great Britain.
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“We are a small town with great history, Hexham Abbey and other historical buildings, and our market place is 800 years old. There is a wonderful community spirit, people are very supportive of one another.”
in addition as the community-spirit, house prices and green spaces, Mr Kennedy also said that there are many sporting events organised locally, including a park run, cricket, tennis, squash, golf and rowing, and plans to bring much more to Hexham.
The mayor additional: “The open countryside is wonderful with Hadrian’s Wall on our doorstep.”
“We have big ambitions to progress our sustainable development and we work with interested groups to enhance the town. We all know how great it is to live in Hexham but to win this accolade is fantastic.”
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Ailsa Mather, director at Andrew Coulson in Hexham, said: “The last 12 months in the market have been exceptional. People have re-evaluated what they want out of their lives, moving closer to family and moving from the city to the countryside.
“Over 38 per cent of our sales in the last 12 months have been from people south of Birmingham, as more people now have the opportunity to work from home, and don’t need to be in the city five days a week.”
Meanwhile, Harrogate in North Yorkshire, with its Victorian spa heritage, boutique shops and afternoon tea establishments, took the third identify.
Daryll Digpal, managing director at Beadnall Copley in Harrogate, said the area “boasts a thriving high street with many international retail brands, a booming hospitality industry and excellent state and private schools”.
Within Rightmove’s study, it found that people living in coastal villages tended to be the happiest group in the study.
Around a third of this year’s top 20 happiest towns are market towns, it additional, while eight in ten of those who had moved from a town to a village said they now feel happier with where they live.
Rightmove predicts 1.5 million house sales will have taken place this year.
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