Wandsworth gets top score for prosperity and well-being

Published: Thursday 28th November 13

People living in Wandsworth have better economic prospects and enjoy a better quality of life than other Londoners, according to major new national research.

Wandsworth scored the highest results of any London borough in a study of economic success and well-being combined with quality of life factors like health, housing conditions and the work-life balance.

The borough was way ahead of its nearest London rivals, Redbridge, Bexley, Harrow and Kingston.

And it easily outscored the only two other inner London boroughs to have achieved a positive rating - Kensington & Chelsea and Camden. Many London boroughs were actually given a negative rating in these key indicators.

The research was carried out jointly by accountancy and consulting giant Price Waterhouse Coopers and leading think-tank Demos.

Their 'Good Growth for Cities Index' measured ten important economic and quality of life categories, ranging from people's job skills, income and employment opportunities to other key well-being factors like health, housing conditions, the work-life balance, local traffic congestion and pollution.

Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia said: "This study reinforces the very clear feedback that we politicians hear on the doorstep, namely that people very much enjoy living in Wandsworth.

"They appreciate our great transport links and they love our parks and open spaces, the diverse range of shops, the high quality of local housing and the borough's fantastic sports and leisure facilities. These are all key elements that drive up our quality of life score.

"But there are also high levels of economic activity too and we are home to some of the country's best entrepreneurial spirits. We have excellent schools and these are equipping our young people with the job skills they need to make a success of their lives. This is backed up by a very active apprenticeship programme that is teaching young people a variety of trades that will equip them well for the workplace.

"The council is doing a huge amount to drive forward regeneration, increase economic activity and raise levels of prosperity for the benefit of our residents. One only has to see what is happening in Nine Elms and the many thousands of jobs and homes that are being created there, along with the impetus that will be provided by the new Northern Line extension to appreciate the economic opportunities that are available in a go-getting borough like Wandsworth."

The popularity of the borough is highlighted by the fact that once people begin living here many choose to remain here, even when they move house. Wandsworth has one of the highest levels of internal movement in London - meaning that when residents move house - they move to one within the borough rather than in another part of the capital.

Recently Southfields and Balham were both named among the best places to live in London by The Sunday Times

The newspaper described Southfields as the best for "ambitious parents", saying the area enjoyed "a good community spirit, a friendly atmosphere and plenty of green space," adding that it's "real pull" is the area's "cracking state education."

Balham, it said was best for "exiles from central London" who came south of the river "in search of better value and lifestyle."  It added: "Balham now has an array of cute boutique and independent shops and is close to Wandsworth Common."

In July leading estate agency haart said Balham was one of the most sought after places to live in the country, after research showed that more people were trying to buy homes in the SW12 postcode than anywhere else in the country. It found there were 46 registered buyers for every property there, compared with a London-wide average of 19 to one and a national figure of eight to one.

Paul Smith, the company's chief executive described Balham as "a kind of new Notting Hill - the hip south-of-the-river enclave."

And earlier this month the Evening Standard said that Tooting is fast becoming one of London's hippest districts - overtaking hitherto cool places like Shoreditch. The paper highlighted its buzzing bars, restaurants, its burgeoning arts scene, its market and its much loved open air pool the Tooting Bec Lido - Europe's largest open air freshwater pool.

Another study carried out this year by banking group Lloyds TSB named Wandsworth as the favourite place to live in England and Wales for aspiring young professionals.

Its study found hugely popularity with people aged 25 to 35 because of its great transport links, close proximity to the West End and the City, its many parks and open spaces and its vibrant mix of Victorian and Edwardian properties as well as its new riverside flats and conversions.

The borough has also charged the country's lowest average council tax bills for the past 20 years. This year's Band D bill in Wandsworth is £686 compared to a London average of more than £1,300.

A study of bills over the past 20 years has shown that Wandsworth Band D payers are £10,054 better off over that period than taxpayers in neighbouring Merton, £11,741 better off than Kingston residents and £12,108 better off than their counterparts in Richmond.

Cllr Govindia added: "Our borough is also popular because crime rates are the lowest in inner London, while local services are ranked among the best in the country.

"Combine these important factors with the fact that Wandsworth has the lowest average council tax bills in the UK and it's no surprise why it people aspire to live here. Leaving our residents with more money in their pockets to spend as they choose is also an important factor in boosting their quality of life."

People are already talking about why they love living in Wandsworth. To find out more about the council's ambitions to make the borough Britain's best and to see what other people are saying - visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/lovewandsworth

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Recent comments

Interesting that, again, WBC have not published the basis of the report. How many were surveyed? What else did the report say? How were those surveyed selected? Interesting also that you have to sign into PwC to get a copy of the report. Yet again WBC give selected information to make themselves look good, rather than looking at the areas which could be improved.

29 November 2013