The results of a report analysing the sustainability of Market Harborough as a town and comparing it with similar places in the UK has been published this month. The State of the Town report (which can be accessed here) is comprised of an analysis of statistics from organisations such as the Office for National Statistics in conjunction with responses from residents as part of the ‘Measuring what Matters’ initiative. Commissioned by Sustainable Harborough with support from Harborough District Council, the report is designed to identify the town’s strengths as well as any areas for improvement. As part of the project, Market Harborough was compared with ten similar market towns including Stamford, Melton Mowbray, Ely and Stratford upon Avon. Each town was measured against a range of specific criteria, such as how well designed, run and serviced the town is, safety and inclusivity, environmental issues and economic activity. Using these measures, Market Harborough was independently identified as the most sustainable of the 11 towns surveyed. It performed particularly well in areas such as access to services, and achieved the highest score in the category of ‘inclusive and safe domain’ as well as recording good levels of economic activity and high levels of satisfaction and quality of life. The only negative comparison was in the category of energy usage, which was the highest per capita of all the towns in the report. “We were delighted with how Harborough performed across almost all of the sectors. Looking at the statistics support our experience of Harborough as a thriving and happy place to live and work,” comments Gavin Fletcher, Project Manager for Sustainable Harborough.
“The report also gave us important areas that we need to work on such as energy usage and improving the implementation of renewable energy sources.” The residents’ survey analysed opinions on a range of issues, including levels of happiness, sense of belonging, accommodation and employment. The responses were largely positive, corresponding closely with the statistical findings. Most people stated that the town had a dynamic business and retail community; that it was a good place to raise a family and that they were happy living here.
“Getting the views of local people was a vital part of the project and complemented the statistical research,” adds Gavin. “By bringing these two areas of research together we hope that we can show the benefits of working with the Council, businesses and the wider community to further improve the town.. This involves consolidating areas of strength so we can help keep Market Harborough at the top of the pile as well as working on areas of weakness where the town could improve its performance.”
Comparing the rateable value (RV) with similar towns shows that Harborough has a good spread of activity and buildings across all areas of the economy, with a significant number of independent retailers. The relatively high number of significant RV properties in the factories and warehouses category reflects the fact that the town has a healthy mix of retail and wider employment. Market Harborough has also scored highly in two recent national surveys of good places to live: the Halifax Quality of Life Survey 2015 and The Best Places to Live in Britain list compiled by the Sunday Times.
To access the report click here –