LOCAL politicians have leapt to the defence of Abingdon and Didcot after they were branded among the worst places to live in England.

Didcot ranked as the 11th worst place to live, according to a survey by satirical website iLiveHere.

Last year, the town was 44th on the list, therefore climbed 33 places.

Read again: Two Oxfordshire towns named as some of the worst places to live in England

However, Didcot mayor Mocky Khan was quick to defend the town.

He told the Oxford Mail: “I don’t think it reflects Didcot, a town which has a new shopping centre and great community spirit – people might be going off past perceptions.

“I’m proud to be mayor of the town, there’s great community spirit and new shops are opening.

“More and more people are moving to Didcot so there must be something here.

“The demand for housing is increasing so there’s clearly something here that people want.

“I moved from London seven years ago and when friends visit, they’re surprised at how great it is.

“I think those who voted haven’t been to Didcot, as so much is going on.

“If people have issues with the town, then come and visit it.”

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Abingdon ranked 23rd in the iLiveHere survey, and Charlie Birks, who was mayor of the town between 2019 and 2021, heaped praised on the community spirit.

“I’ve lived in Abingdon since 1974 and always found it to be a really welcoming town,” he said.

“Abingdon has a real community spirit, as demonstrated when the pandemic hit.

“Groups rallied round to support the population, and everyone was very grateful for the support given to the more vulnerable people.

“The best thing about Abingdon is its people, it’s amazing the stuff that goes on in the town.

“We’re a small market town, we don’t profess to have a theme park but we do have a cinema, museum and a wonderful selection of historic buildings.

“These surveys are fairly subjective – I’m not deeply offended by people’s opinions.

“Like everywhere, yes there’s things to improve, but I often get very positive responses from people in the town.”

Mr Birks also highlighted the work of Christ’s Hospital of Abingdon – Oxfordshire’s oldest charity.

He said: “The work Christ’s Hospital does is amazing, the level of support is outstanding.”

The iLiveHere survey is conducted annually, and took a poll of 110,172 people, who voted where the top 50 worst places to live in the country are.

Aylesbury was crowned the worst place to live, followed by Huddersfield, Luton and Liverpool.