Sutton Coldfield never quite came to terms with being annexed by Birmingham in 1974, when the Local Government Act decreed the Royal Town would in future be part of the gritty West Midlands rather than genteel Warwickshire.

And now fiercely-independent Sutton has something to crow about.

It has been named as one of the best places in Britain for people who want to impress the neighbours by living the good life, but haven't yet got enough money to join the ranks of the super-rich.

The town has an abundance of "lifestyle indicators" - excellent schools, top-class golf courses and cricket clubs, up-market restaurants, designer fashion stores - yet the average cost of a house is only #240,000, according to a survey published today.

The Royal Bank of Scotland's Affordable Affluence Index places Sutton as the tenth best location in the country for people who want to enjoy themselves without having telephone-number incomes or digging too deeply into their savings.

Above Sutton in the index are some predictable names. Beverley, in Yorkshire, tops the list, with Maidstone in Kent in second place and Chester third, while Solihull is eighth. Stratford-upon-Avon is in 13th place and Worcester is 14th.

But there is one unexpected entry into the top-ten that is bound to raise eyebrows.

Salford, in Lancashire, a name not associated with affluence since the cotton trade went to the dogs at the beginning of the 20th century, is the fifth best place in Britain for good living and good value.

The decision would appear to be a vindication of Salford Council's huge regeneration programme, which has seen tower blocks and slum housing swept away to be replaced by the gentrification of Salford Quays - a canal-based leisure complex which includes The Lowry museum, theatres, galleries and executive apartments.

In Sutton, house prices and incomes are higher than the national average.

But it is possible to lead an affluent lifestyle in Salford and buy a decent house for substantially less than #200,000.

Positive lifestyle indicators used by RBS included good restaurants, cafes, bars, premium motor dealerships, spa chains, luxury hotels, high-performing schools and cultural attractions.

These were offset against "negative factors", including fast food restaurants and betting shops, to give each location an overall score for amenities.

Property affordability was then scored to determine a town or city's overall position in the index.

RBS says Sutton offers some of the key attractions of the metropolitan hubs, but is still relatively affordable to live in. Its population of 100,000 is well served by two large shopping centres and several parades and also has a high number of sports and leisure clubs, according to the survey.

Harry Keogh, private banking managing director at RBS, said: "The aim of the Affordable Affluence Index is to show people around the country that a wealthy lifestyle is a great deal more accessible than many of us might realise.

"Our study shows that locations such as Sutton Coldfield have all the right ingredients for allowing residents to enjoy the good life at a relatively affordable price."