TO some it may come as something of surprise, to others it has been on the cards for years…
Tonbridge has been officially named as a better place to live than Tunbridge Wells, according to the 2016 Halifax Quality of Life Survey.
Tonbridge & Malling was ranked as the 14th ‘best place to live’ in the UK. Tunbridge Wells came in 91st, the third best in Kent, after Sevenoaks in 57th.
In 2015, Tunbridge Wells was ranked 27th with Tonbridge at 29th. In 2014, the boroughs were 31st and 42nd respectively.
With the gap closing each year, it was only a matter of time before Tunbridge Wells was surpassed by its neighbours.
The survey considers various factors, including residents’ health and life expectancy, employment and earnings, and high scores in personal well-being surveys.
Tonbridge beat Tunbridge Wells in a number of categories, with better average weekly earnings, a greater percentage of homes with central heating and bathrooms, a lower burglary rate, lesser annual rainfall, greater access to high speed broadband and higher scores on happiness surveys.
The Leader of Tonbridge & Malling Council, Nicolas Heslop said the result ‘reflects the fact that we have a rich blend of vibrant villages coupled with very beautiful countryside’.
He also pointed to the good transport links with London, as well the range of leisure facilities and schools.
Tunbridge Well Cllr Jane March, Cabinet member with responsibility for Tourism, Leisure and Economic Development said:
“I’m very happy for Tonbridge & Malling as we work so closely in partnership with them in West Kent. Every district has something different to recommend it and Tunbridge Wells perfectly complements Tonbridge & Malling, we’re very proud of our borough.”
Although she hinted that it was a recent change of the rules that led to the disparity between the boroughs.
“While it’s a shame we don’t feature in the top ranks of this year’s survey I see that the way the survey has been compiled has changed so perhaps if it changes again next year we’ll be back at the top,” she said.
The overall winner was Winchester with the Scottish Orkney Islands as runners up and Wychavon in Worcestershire in third.