ASSOCIATION with phone-hacking allegations and Government cuts have been blamed for Chipping Norton being listed among the worst places in Britain.

The Cotswolds market town has been voted third in a book ranking the ‘Crap Towns’ of the country.

Thousands of people voted in the poll and the book Crap Towns: the 50 Worst Places to Live in the UK is published this week.

The town is associated with the so-called ‘Chipping Norton Set’ as local residents include former newspaper executive Rebekah Brooks, Prime Minister David Cameron, TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson, and News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch’s daughter Elisabeth.

The book’s co-editor Sam Jordison said it was the association with that group that had caused anger among voters.

He added: “It’s people who are angry with the coalition and phone-hacking. It is the organic, cheesy ‘isn’t everything lovely’ kind of thing that loads of people wrote in about.”

Oxford was rated 48th in the survey while Banbury came in at 16th.

London won the coveted title, held for the last decade by Hull, while Bradford came second. Also in the top 10 were Southampton, York and Nuneaton.

The entry for Oxford reads: “There are many towns that do pretentiousness better, towns that do poverty better, towns that do mindlessness better, but as an all-rounder, I’d say Oxford’s your winner.”

But Chipping Norton mayor Mike Tysoe last night dismissed the book as a “bunch of nonsense” and he said it was unfair as the Chipping Norton set did not even live in the town.

He added: “I don’t take this book very seriously because I know differently.

“I think the whole thing is a bunch of nonsense. It is a fairly unserious piece of typed manuscript.”

But he said the book might not be a bad thing for the town, adding: “It might improve the town’s trade. People might come to see what a crap town it is and see how nice it is. Notoriety is not necessarily bad publicity. “ Oxfordshire County Council deputy leader Rodney Rose also defended the town.

He said: “(Chipping Norton) was the centre of my life for many years and I think it is a superb town. It is a typical English, Cotswolds market town.”

Mr Rose said those who disliked the town spent some more time there to discover its “finer points”.

In July 2011, town resident Keith Ruddle told the Oxford Mail people were becoming fed up with the association with the phone-hacking scandal.

Mr Ruddle, one of a team of volunteers who put together Chipping Norton News, invited Sarsden resident Mrs Brooks to come and work at the newsletter after she resigned as News International chief executive.