Suffolk voted best place to live

IT IS official –Suffolk is the best place to live in East Anglia.The county has also been judged one of the top 10 places to live in England in a national survey.

IT IS official –Suffolk is the best place to live in East Anglia.

The county has also been judged one of the top 10 places to live in England in a national survey.

The county won eighth place in the Country Life study, below southern holiday spots such as Cornwall, Dorset and Devon - which came top – but above Norfolk, which came 12th, and Cambridgeshire, in 19th place.

Quality of life just over the Suffolk border, in Essex, by contrast, was found to be far worse, being placed eighth from bottom.

All counties were awarded marks out of five or 10 in a range of categories – from birdlife and binmen to the price of a pint of ale - to give an overall score for quality of life.

It was Suffolk's gently rolling countryside, abundant wildlife and tranquillity that claimed the most points, contributing to the county's total of 58%. Devon, at the top of the table, scored 72% and Staffordshire, at the other end of the scale, a paltry 30%.

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Suffolk's high score could see more tourists and potential house buyers looking towards East Anglia.

Jane Cryer, of the East of England Tourist Board, said: "We are delighted that Suffolk has been recognised as one of the loveliest counties in England. The beautiful countryside, the variety of wildlife and the tranquil way of life in this historical county are all qualities that we know very much appeal to visitors."

Suffolk boasts a largely unspoiled 45-mile coastline, with conservation reserves rich in animal, bird and plantlife, including Minsmere and Havergate Island, Orford – home to Britain's largest colony of Avocets.

Sarah Anthony, conservation officer English Nature's Suffolk team, said: "We have 145 sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) in Suffolk and six national nature reserves. The Suffolk coast in its entirety is of international significance."

The survey also showed residents in the county enjoy a relatively crime-free life, escaping the scourge of domestic burglaries.

Suffolk weather also earned a good clutch of points – based on the average hours of sunshine - logged by the Met Office from 1961 to 1990.

The county was also awarded high marks for affordable housing and for the commendable level of service provided by Suffolk County Council. The county was also shown to have escaped over-development in housing plans for the next 20 years.

If anything let it down, it was education, rated zero out of five and the Arts, which was only awarded a single point.

The latter may come as a surprise to regular concert-goers at the internationally renowned Snape Maltings, or Aldeburgh and Bury St Edmunds festivals. Composer Benjamin Britten, who lived in Aldeburgh, would have been sorely disappointed by the finding.