Gangs, gun crime and Tory leader David Cameron wanting to hug a hoodie to create a peaceful society might hog the headlines, but new research suggests the British really do still love their neighbours, with 69% believing it is important to have a strong sense of community where they live.

New research entitled Community is Alive and Well in the 21st Century that was carried out by house builder Bryant Homes reveals that stereotypically aloof Londoners retain their starchy reputation with fewer respondents feeling they were part of a strong community, compared to the Scottish where 88% felt very much at home.

The survey also discovered the tradition of neighbours chatting over the garden fence is alive and well, with 87% of people in the UK speaking to their neighbours more than once a week. Regional variations highlight that the friendliest people are in Wales, where nearly everyone spoke to their neighbour daily. However, once again, Londoners proved to be the poorer chum, with only 32% of neighbours admitting they chatted to one another on a daily basis.

Surprisingly, only 21% questioned said they socialise via on-line web communities like Facebook and My Space, and the most important factor for 95% of those surveyed was neighbours you can rely on in an emergency.

Kevin Belsham, UK sales and marketing director for Bryant Homes, said: ?Building a safe and friendly community is just as important as building houses. We encourage new communities to flourish by creating public open spaces and play areas, support new transport links and ensure thoughtful layout and design of our developments.?