Proud Preston: City named as the proudest in the UK thanks to its cleanliness, interest in recycling and parks

In the early-18th century, chuch leader Edmund Calamy described Preston as "a pretty town with an abundance of gentry in it, commonly called Proud Preston".

By Catherine Musgrove
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 9:38 am

Three hundred years later, the town is now a city, but the pride is still there - and Preston has been officially crowned the proudest place in the UK.

>>>Proud Preston's lamb. Click here to see everywhere it features in the city.

According to research by building merchant Buildworld, the city ranks highly for its cleanliness, quality of green spaces and interest in recycling - giving an overall neighbourhood pride score of 6.98 out of 10.

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A shot of the River Ribble running alongside Avenham Park

In second place was Exeter with a score of 6.81, followed by St Albans with 6.79.

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In follows on from Preston being named the best city in the North west by the Demos-PWC Good for Growth Cities index last year.

Buildworld judges said: "Located in England's North West is the city of Preston and our top scorer for neighbourhood pride. This city scored particularly well when it came to the quality of green and parks in the local area, something it may have the local Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Forest of Bowland to thank for."

Preston's scores:

- 62.5/100 for being clean and tidy

- 81.25/100 for quality of green spaces

- 1,530 annual searches for 'recycling near me'

- 16.96 per cent of the borough council's total expenditure is on envrionment and regulatory services

- 95 neighbourhood groups

- 42 Britain in Bloom groups

Mayor of Preston, Councillor Javed Iqbal, said: “I’m thrilled at this wonderful news that the people of Preston feel this way and are proud of their city, especially in the year we celebrate 20 years since receiving city status.

"Preston is a cultural haven with lots on offer, including an easy balance between city living, fantastic parks and green spaces with countryside walks on our doorstep; it’s a thriving city built on a rich history.

"It’s a true multi-cultural community with a friendly, northern feel and I’m delighted to join everyone in feeling proud of Preston too.”

Councillor Neil Darby, Deputy Mayor, said: “It’s no surprise that Prestonians are so proud of Preston – there is so much to be proud of!

"For me, the best of Preston is the strength of our communities. I think the difficulties of the last two years have brought us closer together than ever.

"In Ingol, Cottam, and the rest of our city, we have seen neighbours looking out for each other and local community groups going out of their way to help people in their area. That is definitely something we should all be very proud of in Preston.”

Green spaces

In October six popular parks and green spaces in Preston, which played a 'vital role' to people during lockdown, received the prestigious Green Flag award. They included Ashton Park, Avenham and Miller Parks, Fishwick Bottoms, Haslam Park, Moor Park and the Winkley Square Gardens.

>>>Click here to read more about Preston's Green Flag winners.

The city also boasts the unique 21-mile Preston Guild Wheel cycling and walking loop, and sits on the edge of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural beauty (AONB).

Best city in the North West

In the latest Demos-PWC Good Growth for Cities Index, Preston remained the highest performing city in the north-west, for the second time, and scored above average across a number of categories the public think are most important.

Such categories include economic wellbeing, including the availability of jobs, a positive work-life balance, the skills of the population and the variety of roles on offer.

And the city has also been recognised for its resilience to the continued Covid-19 pandemic, with a lower proportion of employees in the city being furloughed as part of the UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CRJS) in comparison to other cities in the region.

Carbon emissions

Preston City Council was praised last year for its work in measuring and reducing carbon emissions in the city as it aims to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The council achieved the Carbon Neutral International Standard, granted by One Carbon World, for its work on measuring and reducing its carbon emissions over the past decade.

Schemes put in place over the past ten years include the installation of solar panels on the roof of Town Hall, switching to LED lighting in council buildings and installing more energy-efficient windows in a bid to reduce the carbon footprint of the city.

>>>To read more, click here