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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 00:14 GMT 01:14 UK
Seaside town 'top' for retirement
Southend Pier - before the fire
Southend is also home to seven miles of award-winning beaches
A seaside resort famous for having the world's longest pier has been named the best place in the UK to retire.

Southend-on-Sea in Essex is a "bargain" retirement location with a low violent crime rate, according to research commissioned by Yours magazine.

Poole in Dorset was placed second because of its natural harbour and waiting times for hip operations there are lower than the national average.

The magazine for the over 50s ranked 60 retirement locations in the UK.

Southend was also ranked top because it is relatively flat with a pedestrianised centre, it has a council tax that is almost 100 lower than the UK average for a band G property.

'Idyllic' town

It is also home to seven miles of award-winning beaches, more than 80 parks and open spaces and there are lots of activities for older people.

Editor of Yours magazine Valery McConnell said: "Southend-on-Sea may not be the average person's idea of an idyllic retirement town but it's got everything older people really need."

Whitehaven in Cumbria was third, with below average waiting times for a hip replacement and house prices of nearly half the national average.

Other places to make it into the top 10 include Swansea in Wales, Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, Stirling in Scotland, Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, Skegness in Lincolnshire, Weymouth in Dorset and Southport, Merseyside.

The magazine ranked destinations according to factors such as house prices, council tax levels, shopping facilities, crime rates, hospital waiting times, the availability of NHS dentists and the weather.




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