Well...now it's finally official: After a comprehensive study, NTT Europe online published that local Google Rankings depend tremendously on where you host.
I've noticed that with a few sites in France, Germany and Australia over the past 2-3 years. Without hosting these sites locally, it's quite difficult to rank for anything.
UK SERPs however weren't effected as dramatically as continental Europe. So rule of thumb:
1. Get a local TLD (.co.uk /.de/.fr...)
2. Host locally (double check if servers are really located in the country. Especially European hoster often run their servers in Germany or even in the US).
3. Build /buy inbound links from "local" sites
4. Register your domain in local directories as well as DMOZ.
5. Enjoy better rankings
Found via Seodeluxe