Table reveals the best and worst places to call home
THE best and worst places to live in east Surrey based on poverty and life expectancy, have been shown in a new database.
Bottom of the league table overall is Merstham, which ranked 9,996 out of 12,706 parishes in England and which is described as "relatively deprived".
The Church Urban Fund, a Church of England charity working to fight poverty across the country, has published the information online, enabling members of the public to search for statistics for their area.
Merstham had the highest figures among the towns and villages the Mirror looked at for child poverty (19 per cent), pensioner poverty (17 per cent), and working age poverty (15 per cent). Male life expectancy was the lowest at age 73.
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The village also had the highest number of adults without any qualifications (26 per cent), the highest amount of people living in social housing (36 per cent) and the highest amount of lone parents.
Tracey Burrows, a community development officer for the Merstham Community Facility Trust, said: "These figures are not a surprise and we've known about Merstham's problems for some time.
"Historically, there are a lot of reasons for this – there are a lot of one person properties which leave people isolated, and a lot of people with mental health problems and from institutions were put here.
"And there are a significant number of families where no one has worked. It might be quite a big barrier to get over if your parents have not worked."
Mark Lee, chief officer of Age Concern, Merstham, said the figures for pensioner poverty and life expectancy were worrying.
He added: "We have just one GP centre here and medical facilities could be more accessible. The harder you have to look for help, the less likely you are to ever get it.
"And older people here don't have enough money. If you can't put enough money away for your old age, your quality of life drops and if that drops, so does your life expectancy. Sometimes the only hot meal our members get is the one they have with us."
Over in Redhill the figures were notably better, but still high for child poverty (18 per cent), and lone parenting (16 per cent), but Reigate scored good, if not outstanding, figures across the board – and its residents were the most qualified in east Surrey with just 12 per cent having no qualifications.
The highest percentage of older people is to be found in both Horley and Oxted, at 22 per cent.
In Horley, both women and men had a high life expectancy. Horley town councillor and mayor Richard Olliver, 66, said: "Horley is a good place to get old – I'm looking forward to it.
"We've got an average mix of ages and social classes, and a good level of employment because of the airport and support services.
"On the whole people have good, long, lives here."
Among the best places to live were Kingswood – ranked 780 out of 12,706 parishes in England and described as "among the wealthiest nationally," and Woldingham, which had the lowest figures for pensioner poverty (3 per cent), working age poverty (3 per cent) and the highest life expectancy for women, at 84.
Visit www.cuf.org.uk/povertyinengland to view the figures.