LEDBURY'S least and most deprived neighbourhoods have been revealed in a Government study.

Areas have been rated from zero to 100 taking into account access to jobs, education, housing and crime, with most Ledbury zones coming in well under 20, which compares favourably with nearby Worcester, for example, where the area of Warndon was rated as highly as 76.

By comparison, the northern end of Ledbury’s New Mills estate, including streets off the Hereford Road, score under 6. But the highest figures are also to be found to the north of town, in rural areas where the figure is over 23. But this is still comparatively low on the national scale.

Separate census-based statistics put out by the UK Local Area website agrees with the Government data that parts of the New Mills are enviable locations, said to be “better than 82 per cent of areas of England”, and the rural areas to the north of town, including Wellington Heath, are rated as “better than 70 per cent” of other areas in England.

But Phillip Howells, the county’s ward councillor for Ledbury West, believes the encouraging data does not reveal the full story about deprivation in the market town. He said: “I think there are things being overlooked. We have a foodbank here that is being used quite extensively. The New Mills estate is quite a prosperous part of town; there are others that are more deprived where people might be struggling. There is poverty in Ledbury, although we are fortunate overall.” Older streets in Ledbury, such as the Victorian Albert Road and Victoria Road, were given a rating of just over 20 on the scale, but that is very still low compared with national averages.

The Deer Park estate, to the south of the town, has a comparable rating to the New Mills estate, with a similar average of around 11, according to the study. Ledbury retailer and former mayor, Annette Crowe, also believes that Ledbury has its problems, but the overall outlook is positive, when compared with other towns.

She said: “We have had an upsurge of vandalism and anti-social behaviour; but if you look around Ledbury, you would not think this is an area of deprivation.

"However, we are still short of social housing, which is very few and far between for young people wanting to start families. Also, we don’t have a large amount of jobs, and people have to travel out.

“But we do have fantastic shops and schools in Ledbury and a thriving High Street. We have been really busy.”

Former Ledbury businesswoman, Yvonne White, a founder of the Voice of Ledbury website, said: “I think the study accurately reflects the area. I can’t see any deprivation whatsoever. When I ran a taxi service, people would come to Ledbury and say, 'Oh what a lovely place'. The general consensus from visitors is, this is a fantastic place to live.”