Doncaster 'one of worst towns'

DONCASTER is one of the worst places to live in the UK, a survey carried out for TV show Location, Location, Location claims.

The town has been ranked in 15th place in the show's annual round-up of the best and worst places to live - the full results of which will be revealed on a programme this Wednesday night.

But borough councillors today sprung to the town's defence - saying there are plenty of good things about Doncaster.

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Mayor Martin Winter said: "People who rate Doncaster as a bad place to live obviously haven't spent much time here.

"In addition to an international airport, a community stadium, a transport interchange with top retail facilities and a redeveloped racecourse, there is great community spirit.

"Recent statistics show crime is down by a massive 15.6 per cent and some of our education results are the best they have ever been. In addition, house prices are affordable and we have unrivalled transport links to London, Europe and beyond. We are still in the early stages of our ambition to be an international city of significance but I am confident Doncaster has something to offer everyone and will continue to be a place where people will want to live, visit and enjoy."

Lib Dem Susan Phillips, who represents Mexborough on the council, said: "This result is quite surprising when you think of all the good things in town.

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There's the Keepmoat stadium and our new shopping centre is lovely. There are great places to eat there too and our market is fantastic. Doncaster's a lovely place - I'm so surprised we're 15th on the list."

But Independent councillor Tony Brown said he understands the reasons for Doncaster's poor showing on the list.

"Doncaster has struggled to overcome the image of a 1960s mining community and investment in town has been aimed in the wrong direction," he said.

"The town is slowly improving but it will take many, many years for us to get to the level of places like Tonbridge Wells. What surveys like this prove to me is there is still a very real north-south divide."

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Location, Location, Location presenter Phil Spencer said: "Each year we seem to create a storm of controversy with this survey, but it's all based on official data and all we do is tell you the results."

Fellow presenter Kirstie Allsopp added: "I want more than anything to champion, not condemn, the places on the worst list as there are some real diamonds in the rough."

The average house price in Doncaster is about 143,000 - a nine per cent increase on the average value of property from 2006.

Robbery fell slightly below the national average at a rate of one per 1,000 residents, although that is offset by the number of household burglaries and thefts of cars - both of which easily amount to more than two times the national average.

Middlesbrough came top of the poll of worst places and Hull was second.

The independent survey was based on data from local authorities, the Home Office, and the Office for National Statistics.