Fareham comes out top in battle of towns

West Street in Fareham
West Street in Fareham
The countryside surrounding Harting Down in the South Downs National Park, in West Sussex.

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FAREHAM is outperforming Portsmouth in a study of British cities and their neighbouring satellite towns, according to a new report.

Havant came out bottom in the study, carried out by the independent think-tank Demos, which found that in the south east, towns are on average underperforming their cities.

However, Fareham is one of three out of the six towns that actually outperform.

Fareham MP Suella Fernandes welcomed the news.

She said: ‘This report is good news for Fareham, showing how well our local economy is doing and what a great place it is to live.

‘It can sometimes be hard for satellite towns like us, but these results show that we draw strength from our links to Portsmouth, as well as having many great local features of our own.’

The study selected 21 of the largest cities by population across England, and identified two satellite towns for each, picked according to their proximity to the city and their population size.

Based on data from the 2011 census and other official statistics, it built an overall index of socioeconomic performance with 30 indicators, including commerce, crime, education and skills, employment, health, household characteristics, housing, political participation, public health and wellbeing and transport.

Each ‘satellite’ town was then compared to its neighbouring city. Fareham was the second-highest performing in the south east, ahead of Totton and behind Eastleigh.

Havant MP Alan Mak said he favoured local opinion rather than statistics.

He said: ‘Havant is a great place to live, work, visit and invest in.

‘Our economy is strong with low unemployment. Schools are doing well, crime is low and we receive thousands of visitors every year.

‘I prefer the judgment of parents, commuters, business leaders, investors and visitors who’ve all chosen Havant.

‘It is a high-performing area and we’re working to make it even better.’

Cllr David Guest, Havant’s lead for economic development, said that Havant was ‘thriving in business and commerce’.