ROBERT Burns branded it a town of honest men and bonnie lassies, and now it seems that Ayr can add healthy folk to that list.

The town is the highest Scottish entrant in a league table of the UK's healthiest high streets which has been produced by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).

Ayr made the top three, alongside Shrewsbury and Salisbury, with the trio said to boast high concentrations of pharmacies, health centres, museums, art galleries, leisure centres and libraries.

The table ranked towns and cities according to the way they encourage healthy choices, and promote social interaction, access to health advice and positive mental well-being. Perth also made the top ten.

An RSPH report published alongside the table found that Preston had the unhealthiest high street overall, with Blackpool, Northampton, Wolverhampton, Grimsby, Huddersfield, Stoke-on-Trent and Eastbourne also in the bottom ten 10.

The RSPH is calling on the next government to introduce a range of measures to make high streets promote healthier living, such as local authorities being given greater planning powers to prevent betting shops, payday lenders and fast food outlets and introducing a limit of 5 per cent of each type of business on a high street.