Halifax's 2011 Quality of Life survey, beating Tunbridge Wells and Ashford which also made the top 30. Maidstone also has the highest employment rate at 84%.
15 of the top 30 are in the South East while no northern districts made it into the top 50.While I'm not sure of the metrics used, they seem to be looking at earnings, employment, crime rates, life expectancy etc. which would account for the focus on the South East. Successive governments have failed to address the inequalities in the UK, a scandal that is largely ignored by the reports in the Guardian and the by the BBC.