10:58, 5 JUL 2019
Coupar Angus has been named as one of the healthiest places to live.
The Perthshire town was ranked as the eighth healthiest place in the UK, following research by the University of Liverpool.
Researchers at the university looked at lifestyle and environmental factors to compile the data, including access to fast food outlets, off licences and pubs, and proximity to health services, parks and recreational spaces.
The news has been welcomed across the town.
Joe Richards (69) said: “I am absolutely delighted to hear this, and slightly surprised.
“I did think at first it was fake news, but it is right, and shows we stand head and shoulders above the rest.
“I am 69 years old and I have lived in Coupar Angus all my life, and I am as fit as a fiddle – I climbed three Munros yesterday – and so I was pleasantly surprised to hear the outcome of the survey.
“They looked at health services, for example we have great access to our GP.
“There are six doctors in a modern practice, there is a great pharmacy open full-time in the town, and we have a dental practice that can still accept NHS patients.
“NHS Tayside is also meeting their waiting times better than in other parts of Scotland – Ninewells Hospital is doing exceptionally well, and we are getting that benefit here in Coupar Angus.”
He continued: “Our physical environment is also particularly good.
“We have a large park on the edge of the town with the latest play equipment for children , and people are often running, cycling and walking there.
“The park has been a great asset to our town for many years, and last weekend we had a cycling festival there to promote fitness and reducing our carbon footprint.
“We also have a lot of green spaces, and recently a community woodland was installed in the town and we had great interested from the local school who planted trees there.
“What also enhances life here is the blue spaces – the amount of visible water – we have the River Isla at the back of the town, which is great for dog walking and fishing, and a local burn through the town.
“Children have recently helped design a plaque to explain the history of the burn and how it was used to give water to horses in the old days.
The town was marked highly for its parks and open spaces, pictured are Pride of Place volunteers Maria Bee, Andrew Mill and Kathleen McGregor
“The air quality is also exceptionally good, with very little contamination and no heavy industry – that was another big marker the researchers looked at.”
The researchers also focused on residents’ access to alcohol and fast food in the survey.
Mr Richards continued: “In terms of our retail environment, we have no betting shops in Coupar Angus, which is seen as a good thing, only two pubs and no fast food outlets.
“All of that comes together in Coupar Angus.
“When you drive into the town you see a sign saying Coupar Angus is the ‘Jewel of Strathmore’, and we can really claim that now.
“I am delighted at this survey and shows how our little town measures up in reality.”
The researchers at the university worked with the Consumer Data Research Centre and Public Health England to collect their data, including getting air pollution statistics from the Environment Agency and information from local GP surgeries, health centres and fast food shops.
The news has also been welcomed by two politicians who represent the Coupar Angus area.
Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire, said: “I was pleased to hear that eight out of the top 10 places to live in the UK are in Scotland and that one of those is right here in my constituency.
Children are being encouraged to get involved and get active in Coupar Angus
“We obviously must all do more to eat healthily and have an active lifestyle, but I am thrilled that Coupar Angus has been voted as one of the healthiest places to live in the whole of the UK.
“Alongside my colleagues in the Scottish Government, I am keen to do all we can to promote healthy living and to encourage people to make choices that are of the most benefit to their health.”
John Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North, said: “These findings are further proof that the Scottish Government’s sustained focus on improving public health is succeeding.
“From minimum unit pricing to ensuring our NHS receives record-high funding of £13.9 billion – £4bn more than when we took office – the SNP is committed to making all parts of Scotland healthier, happier places to live.
“I am delighted that the benefits of these policies are being felt so close to home in Coupar Angus, and I am hopeful that we can continue to build upon this excellent progress.”
The top rated place was Great Torrington in Devon, and the other places in the top 10 included Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire, Fauldhouse in West Lothian, Foxbar in Renfrewshire, Marnoch in North Lanarkshire, Ryton in Gateshead, Ballingry in Fife, Kinghorn in Fife and Kilsyth Bogside in North Lanarkshire.