BURNLEY has been crowned the friendliest place in the country with experts celebrating the town’s family support and neighbourly love.

A national report has revealed the town has come up trumps for community spirit according to a leading think tank. The index measures prosperity through factors including quality of schools, wealth, the environment, how safe people feel and how they get on with their neighbours.

Researchers looked at how strong family bonds were in the town and how well people could depend on their friends in times of need.


The town’s MP Julie Cooper said: “I am delighted that Burnley has won another accolade.

“I’m not surprised though. The warmth and friendliness of Burnley people is part of the charm of the place and I have regularly heard visitors comment on this.”

As well as achieving top marks for its friendly communities, Burnley was also shown to have the cheapest house prices in the country, with Kensington and Chelsea the most expensive areas in the Legatum Institute’s UK Prosperity Index report.

Cllr Gordon Birtwistle, leader of the liberal democrats on Burnley Council and the town’s former MP, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Burnley is somewhere people can rely on.

“People are still very friendly now, but in the old days you could nip round to your neighbour for a cup of sugar or something and people would be more than happy to help.

“It’s about being part of a community and Burnley has a great community, we might all be slightly different but we all have lots of things in common.

“Being a member of parliament I remember speaking to a lot of people in London and it reinstated how friendly it is up North.

“A lot of people didn’t have time to be friendly they just got their head down and did their work.

“I’m thrilled, I am very happy we have been highlighted like this.”

The worst borough for neighbourly love was Brent, in London.

Members of Burnley’s business community said that they were not surprised that the town cared for its neighbours.

Ian Bythell, director of Petty Residential, said: “In fairness, we’ve got a lot to be happy about in Burnley, so it’s no surprise we’re so friendly – great countryside, surrounding villages with high-quality affordable housing, great amenities and even a Premier League football club.

“At Pettys, when we show people around, they are always impressed by how welcoming local people are.

“I think it’s because of the immense pride we all feel.

“I can’t imagine why anybody would want to live anywhere else.”

Andy Brown, managing director of Crow Wood Leisure in Royle Lane, said: “It comes as no surprise to me that Burnley has been named at the top.

“At Crow Wood we often say that it’s not a health club, but a social club where people socialise.

“Our spa attracts people from up to 50 miles away and they often comment on how friendly the whole staff are.”

Karen Hunt, manager of the disability charity Scope in Parker Lane, said her customers were wonderful people and she had built up great friendships over the years.

She said: “Making friends is really important and it’s a great way to bring people back again and again.

“Burnley is a really kind place and it’s no surprise it has the most support in the country.”

David Taylor, 79, who born and bred in Burnley, said it was the people that made the town.

He said: “It’s always been a wonderful town to live in. I have known a lot of fantastic people here.

“It’s great to see another positive come out of Burnley.”

Cllr Mark Townsend, leader of Burnley Council, said: “It’s fantastic news that a national survey has recognised what we already knew, that Burnley is the friendliest place in the country.

“It’s a great place to live and everyone is more than welcome here.”