It comes as no surprise to the people of Poulton that their hometown ranks in the UK’s top 10 places to live.
Residents were full of praise for the Wyre market town after, as reported in Monday’s Gazette, it was placed in the top five of a postcodes study carried out by the The Centre for Economic and Business Research, for the Royal Mail.
The town, which is home to a church which is more than 900 years old and has seen Roman settlements dug up beneath it, is now best known for its day and night-time economy offering of dozens of restaurants and pubs, boutique shops and hair salons.
The market town boasts restaurants selling cuisine ranging from Thai to traditional Italian, and a fish and chip shop, Chinese takeaways and an Indian, and a Mexican is due to open in coming weeks.
During the daytime residents have a range of boutiques or charity shops, and market stalls each Monday, on offer, can enjoy an award-winning New Penny Ices ice cream, or be pampered at one of the many hair and beauty salons.
But among residents we spoke to, it was agreed – its the people that make the place.
“There’s a real community,” said Elaine Houghton, 71, who has lived in Hardhorn for 26 years. “There’s always someone to say hello to, it’s not an anonymous place.”
Barrie Smith, 82, of Blackpool Old Road, added: “There’s people here who make a lot of effort for the town.”
The town’s gala, celebrated each June, has adapted and grown in recent years while the Big Gig event, in Jean Stansfield Memorial Park, Vicarage Road, pulled in crowds of thousands in 2014.
And keen horticulturalists ensure the town is colourful year round, regularly winning In Bloom awards and maintaining the town’s war memorial and ancient stocks.
Alan Heywood, 67, of Highcross, said: “It’s clean, people are pleasant, there’s never much trouble.
“I’ve travelled all over the world but this is just a nice place to be.”
“You can always come into Poulton and see someone you know and stop for a chat,” said Christine Fairclough, of Breck Road.
The mother-of-three said she knows her elderly father is safe in the close-knit community too.
She said: “Shopkeepers look out for their customers so we know he’s safe.”
And the town’s geography, on the River Wyre, and between both the Fylde coast and the Forest Of Bowland, make it a special place to be for residents too.
Mrs Fairclough added: “I’d always have thought the Cotswolds of Suffolk would come top in these surveys, but I’ve no doubt this is a great place to be.
“You’re close to the coast, the river and have a view of the hills.”
The town was also ranked based on its access to green spaces, as well as transport links and employment possibilities.
“It’s the best move I ever made,” said Liz Roberts, 53, who moved to the town centre from Thornton.
“It’s a lovely community, really friendly, when people pass by they say good morning, it’s just those common courtesies that I like,” she added.
“I wanted a change of scenery and transport is more convenient for working in Blackpool.”
Poulton boasts a rail link to Manchester and beyond, with a direct route to London due to open up later this year, as well as regular bus routes to nearby Blackpool, Fleetwood and Preston.
Within a mile of the town centre are four outstanding rated schools, St John’s RC, St Chad’s CE and Breck primary schools, and Hodgson Academy, while Baines High School and Carr Head Primary School are each rated good.
“My daughter is moving back here from Canada, just for the schools,” added Mrs Houghton. “And there’s lots of facilities too, a pool and tennis courts.”
Mother-of-two Kimberley Bickerton, 29, of Princess Avenue, said she couldn’t be happier living there.
She said: “I’m really happy, this is just a nice little area. I can’t picture myself anywhere else.
“We can take the children to the park, the school is really good, there’s nice places to eat and drink - it’s all on your doorstep.”