IT is a suburb that only began life in the 1980s but has proved popular with young families.

But now it is official – Valley Park is the best place to live in England and Wales.

The community in Chandler’s Ford has been ranked top for its low crime rates and residents’ good health and high income.

Chandler’s Ford itself came 329th, Eastleigh 3,741th, Chilworth 877th and North Baddesley 1,132nd. The highest ranked area in Southampton was around the Common, at 906th.

Other desirable areas were the eastern side of the New Forest, Chilworth, Chandler’s Ford and north towards Winchester along with west Hampshire.

Research looked at 7,137 areas across England and Wales, examining statistics on crime, household income, health, home ownership, the proportion of residents who are earning.

This follows a number of recent surveys where the area performed well.

Earlier this year figures from Public Health England revealed that people living in Valley Park have the highest life expectancy locally, with women expected to live to 89.3 and men to 84.7 – compared to 83.7 for women and 80.2 for men in Hampshire.

And Chandler’s Ford itself was named among the places where you are least likely to be burgled in the country by comparison site MoneySuper-Market, based on insurance claims.

The community is predominantly couples with young children and most residents are professionals who commute.

Adam Sparks, director of Chandler’s Ford estate agents Sparks Ellison, said that the whole of the area was popular, but Valley Park was more desirable. Buyers include young professionals and the retired, but mainly it is a big lure for families.

He said Valley Park had the advantage of a good family area but with good transport links to the M3 and M27 motorways, mainline railway lines going to London and Southampton Airport, recreation facilities and good schools, which he said was key.

“They have retained in the planning of it a lot of wooded areas with good walks and cycle paths,” he said.

Borough councillor Andrew Beesley said the rating, which came about as the result of research carried out by a national newspaper, was a testament to the work of councillors at every level and an active community, which “cares about where they live”.

Borough councillor Alan Dowden said crime was low and antisocial behaviour reduced to “negligible” levels and that the area had the lowest council tax in Test Valley.