There isn’t much to be happy about in South Ribble – according to the Office for National Statistics.
The latest wellbeing survey claims the Central Lancashire district is one of the nation’s five unhappiest places to live.
The district – which spans an area from Samlesbury across to Leyland, to the West Lancs border at Walmer Bridge and Penwortham on the Preston boundary – has no real centre but is a mixture of densely populated towns and sparse rural villages.
New data released this week is the last of a twice-yearly wellbeing of the national survey and is said to reflect the state of the nation and shows people in the UK are more satisfied with their lives than at any time since 2011.
The latest results revealed that when it comes to happiness those living within the South Ribble area were less happy than anywhere else in Lancashire and much less content with their lot than both the UK and English averages.
Prime Minister David Cameron ordered the research, first published in 2012, after deciding that the Government needed to be informed not only on Britain’s economic progress but also on the public’s quality of life. The survey asked a series of questions on life satisfaction, worthwhile anxiety and happiness. South Ribble was bottom of the happy table – a fact disputed by those who live and work there.
The area is typically named as one of the most affluent areas and boasts some of the nations’s best schools, including a string of those graded “Outstanding” by Ofsted and Runshaw College in Leyland regularly tops the national league tables.
Butcher Darrel Holgate, who runs Holgates Butchers in Walmer Bridge was born and raised in the district and his family has lived in the area for generations.
He said: “ I don’t understand where this information comes from. I really don’t know what they are talking about. I would say that most of the people I know and see are the opposite.
“I would say the people I see every day are quite cheerful.
“South Ribble is a lovely place to live. It is ideal placed to get to places like Blackpool and Southport and it is quite rural.”
Tonii-Matie Scott, assistant manager at the Pear Tree Inn in Bamber Bridge said: “It is rubbish. We have nice happy customers. I think they must have asked people this question (about happiness) on the wrong day.
“I live in South Ribble and would say it is very peaceful compared to the other side of the River Ribble.”
Brough mayor Coun Grhan Walton laughed off survey results and said they “couldn’t be further from the truth”.
He said: “I was flabbergasted when I saw that South Ribble was ranked as one of the unhappiest places in the UK, it’s certainly not what I’m seeing when I’m out and about on my Mayoral duties. In fact I think they must have got the wrong place!
“Residents in South Ribble are happy and proud of where they live, and rightly so.”