Here's why Harrogate is no longer one of Britain's best places to live

editorial image

Yorkshire has performed well in The Sunday Times's 2018 guide to the best places to live in Britain.

York took the overall title, while Chapel Allerton in Leeds, Beverley, Skipton, Wetherby, Malton and Pateley Bridge all appeared in the north's top 10 desirable locations.

Yet the one glaring omission was Harrogate, the spa town which has been a mainstay of the guide since it was first published.

This year, it was excluded for the first time while nearby Wetherby and Pateley Bridge picked up the plaudits for their community spirit and do-it-yourself attitude.

The Sunday Times team were bluntly honest when explaining why Harrogate has dropped out of the reckoning - although they still consider it an aspirational town.

The ever-increasing property prices were one reason they gave for why it has become less attractive to buyers.

"We’re anxious: flats for £12million, and it’s just not as fun as it was. It’s certainly no match for Leeds. Yorkshire’s biggest city has shopping as good as anywhere in the UK, even if you still need to think hard about where to settle."

But Harrogate Council have hit back - saying that although a developer proposed building apartments costing £12million, a planning application was never submitted.

Councillor Richard Cooper said:

"Harrogate district remains a fantastic place to live, work, raise a family and run a business, even if we didn't make the Sunday Times list this year.

"We know house prices are higher than average here, but talk of flats costing £12 illion is misleading, especially considering there aren't any.

"The Harrogate district benefits from vibrant and busy town centres packed with independent retailers which make us attractive in our own right.

"We don't see ourselves as a rival to Leeds - in fact, the last thing I want is for Harrogate to be like Leeds. A big city is always going to offer something different."

Highly commended by the writers were Scarborough - their favourite spot on the Yorkshire coast - and Halifax, which was praised for its bohemian edge. They also highlighted UNESCO World Heritage model village Saltaire, which offers cheaper house prices than Leeds due to its Bradford postcode, yet is well-connected and vibrant.