What makes you happy?

Rich­mond has it all, while Brom­ley is burst­ing with good news. The latest Happy at Home sur­vey from Right­move finds the most con­tented Lon­don bor­oughs. Noella Pio Kivle­han re­ports

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Winning Boroughs -

RICH­MOND UPON THAMES has for the third year run­ning been crowned Lon­don’s hap­pi­est place to live. But in a sur­prise move, Hack­ney in north­east Lon­don comes out of the shade and into the sunny up­lands as this year’s num­ber four. And while Rich­mond and Hack­ney res­i­dents have been en­joy­ing their feel-good fac­tor, it ap­pears other bor­oughs have not been giv­ing their res­i­dents nearly as much love as they’ve been used to.

Kingston upon Thames was ousted from the num­ber two spot, held since the first Right­move bor­ough sur­vey in 2015. It plum­meted 20 places to a lowly 22, join­ing num­ber 23 on the list, Haver­ing, which was in the top five in 2015, and still in the top 10 last year. Bot­tom of the list was Brent in north­west Lon­don.

In the new Right­move top five for 2017, Brom­ley is num­ber two fol­lowed by Cam­den, Hack­ney, and Waltham For­est.

The win­ning bor­ough, Rich­mond, is rich of course and it al­ways helps in the hap­pi­ness stakes to have well-heeled res­i­dents. How­ever, the sur­vey also finds peo­ple like their bor­ough to posses a sense of place, to en­joy a good stream of new in­vest­ment, and of­fer enough af­ford­able homes to give young peo­ple a chance to buy a place of their own.

Right­move’s re­search man­ager Abi­ola Oni and her team quizzed 17,000 peo­ple to find the UK’s hap­pi­est places, and says: “The con­nec­tion be­tween the 12 fac­tors and the over­all hap­pi­ness lev­els ac­tu­ally sug­gests that money is less im­por­tant than feel­ing you fit in with the other peo­ple in an area.” Oni adds that liv­ing in a neigh­bour­hood with a lot of well-de­signed re­gen­er­a­tion and a va­ri­ety of leisure-time ac­tiv­i­ties on the doorstep plays a part in peo­ple’s over­all con­tent­ment lev­els.

In Brom­ley, re­gen­er­a­tion has been rapid since the coun­cil launched its town cen­tre area ac­tion plan in 2011. The £94 mil­lion re­gen­er­a­tion of St Mark’s Square — a pub­licpri­vate de­vel­op­ment in­volv­ing the coun­cil and U+I — will de­liver a mul­ti­plex cin­ema, restau­rants, a 130-bed Premier Inn ho­tel, and 200 pri­vate and af­ford­able apart­ments, with a two-bed­room flat cost­ing £515,000. The scheme is due for com­ple­tion next spring. Visit uandiplc.com/port­fo­lio/stmarks-square-brom­ley for more.

In Cam­den, where av­er­age prop­erty prices sit at an eye­wa­ter­ing £1,071,316, res­i­dents felt safest and were happy with lo­cal at­trac­tions such as its fa­mous mar­kets, shops, restau­rants and mu­sic venues that at­tract more than 150,000 peo­ple a week. The town is also un­der­go­ing var­i­ous re­gen­er­a­tion projects. One of these is Cam­den Lock Vil­lage, a project be­ing de­liv­ered by Mace, which will fea­ture eight new build­ings of be­tween three and nine storeys with 195 homes, a food quar­ter, a canal­side mar­ket, cafés and restau­rants. Visit mace­group.com/projects/cam­den-lock-vil­lage for details.

Hack­ney, ranked at num­ber 22 in 2015, has thrown off its his­toric down-at-heel im­age to rise to fourth place in the Right­move chart. It is now a mecca for hi-tech busi­nesses clus­tered around Shored­itch, par­tic­u­larly at Old Street Round­about, while Hox­ton has be­come a hotspot for restau­rants and bars. “Hack­ney house prices have been ris­ing a lot faster than other bor­oughs over the past year — av­er­age prices are £669,519 — so it’s likely that in­vest­ment in ar­eas around the Hack­ney bor­ough has added to how happy peo­ple are feel­ing,” says Oni. Res­i­dents sur­veyed rated Hack­ney top for sports and recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties, op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­velop skills, and art and cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties.

As part of on­go­ing de­vel­op­ment plans in fifth-placed Waltham For­est, the coun­cil aims to build 12,000 homes by

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