THE best place to live in Britain for 2020, according to Halifax, is East Hertfordshire. Fareham, yes Fareham, comes second.

Winchester has slipped down to 34th. It’s decline is something of a mystery. Its strengths are still there and its weaknesses are common to lots of places.

East Hertfordshire includes market towns such as Bishop’s Stortford and Hertford, and was given the title after scoring well on several factors.These include strong exam results, high life expectancy, excellent health and happiness scores and high average earnings.

Sarah Broughton, of buying agent Prime Purchase, said: “It’s not surprising that East Hertfordshire tops the chart as the best place to live. The countryside is unspoilt with attractive villages, good footpaths and some excellent pubs. There are good schools and easy accessibility to London if that’s what you need, but yet it is still rural.

“Bishop’s Stortford, in particular, is attractive and vibrant, and the easy commute to London make it a great place for families to live.”