Business owners and community leaders have welcomed the news that Shrewsbury is among the happiest places to live in the UK. 

According to a survey by Rightmove, Shrewsbury is the 14th happiest place to live – rubbing shoulders with the likes of Stratford-upon-Avon, Harrogate, Skipton and St Ives. 

The survey found that people living in rural areas like Shropshire were happier with where they lived compared to those living in cities and urban areas, which Rightmove says reflects a nationwide trend of people desiring better access to outdoor spaces. 

Shrewsbury BID board director, Tina Boyle, of Acoustic Boutique in High Street, said the report backed up other national research. 

“We have heard lots of people saying that towns which offered a range of activities were particularly desirable during these difficult times,” she said. “Our footfall figures have consistently shown Shrewsbury to be out-performing other areas of the UK over the past few months because people enjoy visiting the town centre for a wide range of reasons as well as shopping. 

“Now this report confirms what many of us already know, that people enjoy living here too.” 

Helen Ball, clerk of Shrewsbury Town Council and BID board director, added: “We are delighted to be named as one of the happiest places to live in the UK. 

“We are all very proud of our combination of beautiful green spaces, independent shops and community spirit, and it’s lovely to see that being recognised on a national scale.” 

Rightmove’s data property expert Tim Bannister said that, for many people, lockdown had given them an opportunity to reconnect with their local area. 

He said: “Our latest research shows that despite all the challenges that this year has brought, many people have been able to reconnect with their local area and community which has had a positive effect on how they feel about where they live. 

“Overall, I think lockdown has enabled people to rediscover what’s on their doorstep, and spending more time in their local areas has made people value their surroundings and communities so much more. 

“This year’s study shows a greater appreciation for green spaces and nature, and a strong correlation between people living in coastal and rural areas and how happy people are where they live.”