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Is Ipswich really one of the healthiest places in the UK?

PUBLISHED: 19:00 26 June 2020

Ipswich was ranked as the sixth healthiest place to live according to recent research Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

Ipswich was ranked as the sixth healthiest place to live according to recent research Picture: GEMMA JARVIS

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The number of green spaces, GP surgeries and gyms in Ipswich have led to it being labelled the sixth healthiest place in the UK - despite having 136 fast food restaurants.

Colchester high street was ranked the 26th healthiest town, way below Ipswich Picture: JESSICA HILLColchester high street was ranked the 26th healthiest town, way below Ipswich Picture: JESSICA HILL

The listings, compiled by Zoopla-owned financial services company Bankrate, weighs up the number of gyms, wellbeing centres and GP surgeries versus the volume of payday lenders, pubs and fast food restaurants, to establish how beneficial the town’s high street would be to someone’s life.

It found Ipswich was the sixth most healthy place to live in the UK, well ahead of local rivals Colchester (26) and Norwich (29), and even Scotland’s cultural hub of Edinburgh (7).

The town secured the top 10 spot thanks to the comparatively high number of vegan-friendly restaurants and the low number of vape shops and payday lenders.

However, the research is at odds with other findings from Ipswich and the surrounding area, all using different methods to establish where is a healthy place to live.

In July 2019 the village of Shotley Gate was in uproar after research conducted by the University of Liverpool declared it was the third most unhealthy place to live in the UK.

MORE: Shotley labelled third most unhealthy place to live in the UK

The research considered some similar aspects to wellbeing as Bankrate, such as proximity to GP surgeries, green spaces and gambling centres.

The residents of the village, which was crowned Suffolk’s Most Active Village in 2017, were quick to call the research “laughable” as many of the negatives recorded in the research were related to pollution created not in the village but at the ports of Harwich and Felixstowe, both more than a kilometre away over the River Stour and Orwell respectively.

In January 2020 it was shown almost half of the air quality monitors in Ipswich were recording higher levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) than permitted by government.

NO2 is linked to respiratory problems and a reduced resistance to lung infections but was not included in Bankrate’s research.

And in February figures showed a 13% drop in the number of takeaways in Ipswich in three years however the figure then was still 77 more than reported in Bankrate’s research, which only considered the facilities in the unspecified ‘most popular/main high street’ and those within 10 roads of that street.

And in February figures showed a 13% drop in the number of takeaways in Ipswich in three years however there were still 136 operating in the borough - 77 more than reported in Bankrate’s research, which only considered the facilities in the unspecified ‘most popular/main high street’ and those within 10 roads of that street.

MORE: 136 takeaways operating in Ipswich


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