Channel 4 recently named South Ribble the best place to live in the UK, and I couldn’t agree more.
Our area scored highly across the board, in a number of different categories that looked at factors that young adults consider to be the most important. Whether it was wages, house prices, wellbeing or great accessibility to other cities with a broad range of jobs, like Manchester and Liverpool, South Ribble scored very highly.
The presenter of the Channel 4 programme Best Place to Live in the UK, Sarah Beeney, commented, “[The local] communities are friendly and as a bonus there’s beautiful countryside nearby. I’ve been really struck by how optimistic it is for the future and how happy people are.” As I travel round South Ribble I see just how positive and friendly people are and a dynamic and thriving local economy.
We have seen the recent investment in the new BAE Systems aerospace academy at Salmesbury, the Waitrose distribution centre at Buckshaw and the announcement that work is to start later this year on the new development on the outskirts of Leyland at Cuerden, bringing Ikea to the borough. All this investment in our borough means that the same number of jobs were created in South Ribble between 2004 and 2012 as were created in Manchester and Liverpool combined. With the City Deal bringing forward three decades worth of growth in just 10 years, we can expect a further 20,000 jobs to be created locally.
The City Deal is also bringing about 17,000 new homes, helping to drive down pressures on the affordability of housing, and delivering multi-million pound infrastructure improvements for our communities. The average home is priced at £138,000 cheaper than the national average, and nearly £½ million cheaper than in London. Transport links are extremely good, taking just five minutes to get from Leyland to Preston, and commuters can be in Liverpool and Manchester in less than an hour. The huge investment in the local road network means that it will be even easier to get round the borough, assisting business growth and job creation even further.
With world class universities on our doorstep, some of the most beautiful countryside the world has to offer just down the road at the Trough of Bowland, and excellent local parks, such as Worden Park, no wonder it is the best place in the UK. Often we are told that all younger people want to move to London for the ‘bright lights and big city’, but it was judged to be the worse place to which to move.
I am lucky to represent such a great and thriving area, with friendly, positive people who showcase the best of Lancashire and the UK. I am optimistic for yet more positive news coming out in the years ahead for even better future for our borough.