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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 April 2007, 00:16 GMT 01:16 UK
Scots areas top happy family poll
The start of the West Highland Way in Milngavie - image courtesy of Undiscovered Scotland
A slice of paradise is how one resident describes Milngavie
Two Scottish districts are considered the best places in the UK to bring up a family, a poll has suggested.

First place went to East Dunbartonshire in the Reader's Digest poll which quizzed parents and looked at official data; East Renfrewshire came second.

The report's authors said "safe streets, strong schools and thriving towns" backed by a strong community appeared to link the winning places.

Reading in Berkshire was ranked last, in 408th place.

Good state schools and a low crime rate were seen as the most important requirements for a family-friendly area, the poll suggested.

'BEST' FAMILY PLACES
1. East Dunbartonshire
2. East Renfrewshire
3. Forest of Dean, Glos
4. Vale of Glamorgan
5. Hambleton, North Yorkshire
6. Fareham, Hampshire
7. West Lothian
8. South Gloucestershire
9. Ribble Valley, Lancashire
10. Uttlesford, Essex
Source: Reader's Digest

These were closely followed by good local hospitals and affordable family housing, the researchers concluded.

A low risk of flooding was rated as the sixth most important factor by parents.

Reader's Digest polled 1,162 parents with children under 16 and asked them to rate the characteristics of family-friendly locations - giving these a rating from 1 to 10, depending on their importance.

The factors were then weighted depending on the importance parents gave to them.

We consider Milngavie to be a slice of paradise
Gilbert McVean

Reader's Digest also used official data, such as Home Office crime figures, and Land Registry house price figures, to rank each area.

The survey's authors then visited winning areas to hear from parents about what was important to them.

'WORST' FAMILY PLACES
399. Oxford, Oxfordshire
400. Lewisham, London
401. North Lincolnshire
402. Rother, East Sussex
403. Kingston upon Hull
404. Haringey, London
405. Hastings, East Sussex
406. North East Lincolnshire
407. Waltham Forest, London
408. Reading, Berkshire
Source: Reader's Digest

They concluded: "If a single thread runs through the fabric of all these places, large and small, it is the golden one called 'community' - the concerned neighbours, teachers and community groups that stand behind safe streets, strong schools and thriving towns."

Marion McVean, 48, and her husband Gilbert, 52, are bringing up their two children in Milngavie in East Dunbartonshire.

"We're very happy," Mrs McVean told the researchers. "There's always familiar faces coming and going and there's lots to do, especially in sports - but there are drama and music clubs too."

Mr McVean added: "We consider Milngavie to be a slice of paradise."


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