THIS time last year, Leigh had been crownded as the happiest place to live in Britain.

It was praised for its community spirit, the opportunity to develop skills and its restaurants and its shops. 

But fastforward a year and it has dropped to 37th in Britain, which, to be fair, still isn't a bad result.

And the good news is it was still named as the third-happiest in the east of England. 

Southend, meanwhile, was rated as 16th in the region - and 145th in Britain.

Chelmsford was listed 11th in the East and 88th overall. 

The Northumberland market town of Hexham was crowned the happiest place to live.

Northern England made up half of the top ten list compiled by Rightmove,
with Harrogate, Skipton, Altrincham and Southport also appearing.

Richmond-upon-Thames in London, Dorchester in south-west England and
Sevenoaks in the South East were also in the top 10, as were Llandrindod
Wells and Monmouth, both in Wales.

More than 22,000 people responded to Rightmove's happy at home index

They were asked questions such as the extent to which they feel a sense
of community spirit, feel safe, earn enough to live comfortably and
whether locals are friendly and polite.

They were also asked about local amenities such as sports facilities,
arts and culture, shops, restaurants, doctors' surgeries, schools and
green spaces.

Looking on a broader geographical level, Rightmove also said the South
West of England was found to be the happiest region, followed by the
South East and the East of England.

Galashiels returned the highest score for nature and green spaces in
Britain and was named as Scotland's happiest place to live. It finished
in 11th place overall.

Llandrindod Wells was identified as the happiest place to live in Wales,
coming in fifth place overall across Britain.

Rightmove's insights expert Lydia Yao said: "This just goes to show that
people place enormous value on living somewhere that they're proud to
call home.

"Our results also show that having friendly neighbours and being able to
be yourself remain hugely important factors when measuring the happiest
places to live in Great Britain."