CHORLEY has emerged as Lancashire’s top performer in a new study examining the social and economic performance of all 324 local authority areas in England.

Business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP compared local authority areas in six baskets of socio-economic measures, going beyond GDP to provide a broader view of strengths and areas of opportunity.

The study measures key indicators and awards an overall ‘vibrancy’ score, with 100 being the national average.

Both Chorley and Lancaster were ranked above average for dynamism and opportunity, while the Fylde scored above the national average for inclusion, equality and health.

Mike Thomas, director at Grant Thornton in the North West, said: “We’ve created the index to spark a debate on what type of economy we want in the UK. Lancashire has much to be proud of and many positive objectives, such as the development of Lancashire Enterprise Zone, and with it the vision to create up to around 12,000 jobs.

“The index does evidence the hard challenges of making sure regeneration is for everyone as opposed to isolated pockets of relative affluence.

“The reality is that the vibrancy of any local place is about so much more than GDP. From soup kitchens to social enterprises, riverside clean-ups to responsible lending, green recycling schemes to growth generation through Local Enterprise Partnerships – real vibrancy is the result of collaboration between people and public, private and third sector organisations.”

Chorley ranks146 out out of the 324 areas and was above average for dynamism and opportunity and inclusion and equality.

Mark Lester, director of business, development and growth at Chorley Council, said: “It’s great to see that Chorley has come out at the top in this study for the Lancashire area.“Chorley has a lot to offer and we’re always doing our best to ensure our services are the best they can be for businesses, residents and visitors.

“We have a scheme called Choose Chorley for Business which helps businesses set up in Chorley, and its profile is continuing to grow and raise awareness.

“With several exciting developments happening in the borough, such as the new digital office park, Chorley’s local economy will improve further, bringing more jobs and new companies to the area.”

Neighbouring South Ribble Council was ranked 207th out of 324 and there health, wellbeing and happiness ranks above the national average, while they are in the bottom 20 per cent for dynamism and opportunity, and community.

Cllr Peter Mullineaux, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: “South Ribble holds the title for the Best Place to Live in the UK – based on a study of job opportunities, housing, leisure, culture and happiness.

“There is a real wealth of opportunity in the borough, including that being created through the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal which is a £430m scheme to bring forward three decades of growth in 10 years – creating 20,000 jobs, 17,000 new homes and delivering multi-million pound infrastructure improvements for our communities.

“Our residents are incredibly proud to live in South Ribble, as am I.”