WINCHESTER is one of fastest growing areas in Hampshire for household earnings, according to a new survey.

The average household income in Winchester is £55,650, a six per cent increase on last year's figures. Only constituencies in the New Forest experienced similar growth.

The wealth survey, by Barclays Premier Banking, ranked Winchester 37th in the country. Top of the pile was the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, with average household earnings hitting £101,600.

Household earnings in Winchester are nearly twice as much as the western edge of Southampton, whose income is just £28,700, and the second highest in the county, behind north-east Hampshire, which has an average income of £63,475.

Eloise Appleby, head of cultural services at Winchester City Council, said: "I'm not sure this survey tells us anything very unexpected, but it does provide further evidence to support the city council's corporate commitment to the economic prosperity of the Winchester District."

"We aim to ensure that our local economy meets the challenges of the 21st century, which means building on those sectors that are already thriving - such as our creative industries and tourism.

"A healthy economy is also an inclusive one, and we are also keen to create opportunities for those who are not earning anything like the average household income quoted for Winchester. Skills, affordable housing, health and equality issues are all important for us and for the partners with whom we work."

"We are working hard to stimulate the economy of the market towns and villages that surround the city, where rural isolation is a major factor."

Beaconsfield, in Buckinghamshire, is the wealthiest place outside of the capital with an average household income of £74,345 while the wealthiest place outside the south east is Tatton in Cheshire, which ranks 13th nationally with an average income of £62,350. The fastest growing wealthy area in the country is the Cotswolds; household incomes here increased by nine per cent over the last year to an average of £60,800.

Bret Packard, managing director of Barclays Premier Banking, said: "High incomes are no longer unusual in the UK. There are now one million individuals in the UK earning over £100,000 a year."