It’s official - Central Bedfordshire is one of the best places in the UK to live for families.
That’s according to the Better Family Life Index from uSwitch.com
The annual study by the independent price comparison and switching service looks at different aspects which are important to family life and then ranks almost 140 local authorities across the UK accordingly.
This year’s study - which put Centra Bedfordshire third in the country - focused on 33 areas, ranging from health, housing, crime and education to the amount of sleep people get and the average daily hours of sunshine.
Central Beds has risen from 11th place in 2015 to third this time around of the 138 local authorities surveyed using consumer research and government data.
Council Leader Councillor James Jamieson said: “This is great news and reaffirms what we already know – that Central Bedfordshire truly is a great place to live and work.
“We have affordable housing, great schools, excellent transport links, low levels of unemployment and some beautiful countryside and green spaces for everyone to enjoy.
“We are still a relatively young authority but it is clear that the secret is definitely out of the bag and increasing numbers of families are discovering all of the benefits that this area has to offer.”
The council has invested heavily in a new leisure centre for Flitwick, which is already proving very popular with users, and is moving forward with plans for a £20million leisure and cultural hub in the heart of Dunstable.
The number of schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted here has risen from 75 to 86 per cent in the last four years.
There are a number of exciting and ambitious schemes in place and in the pipeline to revitalise our market towns.
The council is focusing on helping people live independently for longer, with our flagship Priory View site in Dunstable a huge hit with residents since it has opened, and a planning application submitted last week for a new independent living scheme in Houghton Regis.
Nine parks and open spaces across Central Bedfordshire were recognised in this year’s Green Flag awards.
Work is progressing well on the Woodside Link and A5-M1 Link roads with both scheduled to open in spring 2017.
Cllr Jamieson added: “When you start to compile a list of everything which is taking place in Central Bedfordshire, it is quite phenomenal – and it’s great to have some recognition.
“However, we won’t stop there and will continue to work to ensure that we have the best possible services and opportunities for residents of all ages.
“We will also continue to work hand-in-hand with big businesses who are now seeing Central Bedfordshire as the perfect place to set up shop, bringing money and jobs to the area.”
Among the other highlights here which the report picks out are:
The low levels of young people not in employment, education or training and just four per cent of children in workless households
Families have easy access to services, taking residents an average of just under ten minutes to reach their local primary school and GP – beneath the national average
Families average almost five hours’ quality time together each day, enjoy seven hours’ sleep a night (above the UK average of six hours 48 minutes) and Central Bedfordshire has an average of four hours and 34 minutes of sunshine each day