They all want to live here!

Sowerby Bridge.
Sowerby Bridge.

A national survey has crowned Sowerby Bridge as one of the most desirable locations in Yorkshire and the north east.

The town scooped a spot in the top 10 best places to live in the region.

The list - to be published in the Sunday Times this weekend - takes into account factors such as transport links, quality of schools, natural beauty, low crime, property prices, cultural life and employment.

Editors said each area was also assessed on its own individual assets, whether it is a local festival, fascinating architecture or proximity to an airport.

Sowerby Bridge shares the north east’s top 10 with destinations including Harrogate, Richmond, York and Skipton in North Yorkshire and Beverley in East Yorkshire.

Community and business leaders in Sowerby Bridge yesterday said it was well deserved for the flourishing town - which was the focus of a six-week Courier campaign in 2011 called I Love Sowerby Bridge.

Coun Adam Wilkinson (Lab) said: “I think it’s a fantastic achievement. I remember about five years ago saying to my friends what an up and coming place it is to live - and they laughed.

“But it seems people really are starting to realise what a great place it is and how much it’s got going for it.”

He said factors such as the Totally Locally markets promoting independent shops and the Fire And Water Project, who hope to transform the old swimmming baths and fire station buildings into a community hub, will further boost the town. He added: “I also think the canal wharf is a real asset and brings a lot to the town. It’s certainly somewhere Prince Charles has enjoyed visiting a couple of times.”

David Edkins, manager of William H Brown in Sowerby Bridge says he has been amazed by the level of interest in the town compared to other offices he has worked in.

“It’s such a nice valley - down both the Calder Valley and to Rishworth. And with the bars and restaurants that are opening, it’s really the place to be. I couldn’t believe the difference in this locality compared to my previous office in terms of how many investors are wanting to come and how many buyers are coming to buy a property here.”

Oliver Marns, sales manager at J&C Joel, one of the town’s biggest employers said most of their staff live in the town.

He said: “People like the convenience of having everything on their doorstep. We now have a really thriving nightlife, which perhaps wasn’t there a few years ago, and a large variety of restaurants. We’ve also the new swimming baths and the new market that’s opened up as well as the canal. It’s a pretty good place to live - close to Halifax, Hebden Bridge and the motorway. It’s got all the attributes that you would want for a town.”

The Sunday Times Best Places to Live is edited by Sunday Times Associate Editor and regular broadcaster Eleanor Mills. As author of the “Beyond the Brochure” property column she has visited every corner of the country to assess the pros and cons of relocating.

Eleanor says: “Scampering around Britain for my column I find there are particular bits of our crowded island which always retain a particular attraction for people.

“We have built on this basic information to create a definitive guide. The Sunday Times Best Places to Live will prove invaluable for anyone starting a family, retiring, or simply considering a move.”