Shropshire Star

Shropshire market town named 'best place in the UK to live as a single parent'

A Shropshire market town has been crowned the 'best place in the UK to live as a single parent'.

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Ranked highly for its affordability and environment to raise a family, Bishop’s Castle has been named as the best place in the UK to live as a single parent.

The ranking was conducted by family law specialists, Richard Nelson LLP which looked at seven key factors including average house price, salary, council tax rate, the proportion of Ofsted rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools and nurseries, cost of electricity, crime rate and amount of public green space.

Data for each factor was collected for the locations listed in the Times’ Best Places to Live guide, then ranked to establish which were best for single parents.

The research comes as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the UK, especially lone-parent families which now make up 15 per cent of all families in the UK according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Bishop’s Castle scored 138 out of a possible 173 in the study, ranking as first overall in the best places to live as a single parent.

Most notably, the market town had the fourth cheapest average house price at £285,400 out of all of the locations analysed as well as the second highest amount of green space per person at 4,278 square metres.

It also ranked highly for additional affordability factors including its average salary, cost of electricity and council tax.

The Michaelmas Fair in Bishop's Castle

Bishop's Castle was followed by Wooler in Northumberland and the ceremonial county of Rutland in the top three.

Family law consultant solicitor Lauren Greenhalgh said the team wanted to "offer some insight" for those transitioning into being a single parent.

She said: “Given the current economic climate, there’s never been a more challenging time to be a lone parent.

"Despite this, there are more than 2.9 million single parents in the UK therefore we wanted to conduct research to establish which areas of the UK would be best for lone parents to raise their children in.

“The transition to being a single parent can be a real challenge for many, with finances, personal confidence and sense of belonging all thrown into question.

"Exploring a new life in a different location can be daunting and full of challenges, so we wanted our research to offer some insight for those that find themselves in that position.”

Coming in as the least affordable locations for single parents were Wadhurst in East Sussex, Lindfield in West Sussex and Alresford in Hampshire. The average house price combined across these locations is more than £629,000, with an average salary of £28k.

Of the locations analysed, Leeds ranked as the most affordable but had the highest rate of crime per 1,000 people, the least green space and one of the lower proportions of Ofsted-rated 'good' or ‘outstanding’ schools and nurseries.