Re­vival of vil­lage life with 21st-cen­tury adap­ta­tions

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - BUCKS PROPERTY -

THE 21st-cen­tury vil­lage is not the quaint place of yes­ter­day.Vil­lages of the fu­ture will have to adapt to cater to a grow­ing de­mand for flex­i­ble liv­ing/work space and up­graded in­fra­struc­ture, ac­cord­ing to the find­ings of Strutt & Parker’s ‘Hous­ing Fu­tures’ sur­vey, which points to a new trend for peo­ple seek­ing amenity-rich en­vi­ron­ments within a vil­lage set­ting.

A cur­sory glance at ex­ist­ing re­search would sug­gest cities have the up­per hand over vil­lages. By 2050, the UN pre­dicts that 66% of the world’s pop­u­la­tion will be ur­ban, with the UK in­evitably be­ing part of the trend. By the mid-cen­tury, there will be ap­prox­i­mately 65 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing in Bri­tain’s cities, com­pared to just eight mil­lion in ru­ral ar­eas.

Ur­ban­i­sa­tion has gen­er­ally been viewed as a pos­i­tive eco­nomic and so­cial driver that leads to longer life ex­pectan­cies, a re­duc­tion in poverty, in­creased lit­er­acy and higher ed­u­ca­tion lev­els, as well as en­hanced cul­tural op­por­tu­ni­ties.

But as the ur­ban trend has gath­ered pace, a num­ber of neg­a­tive traits have be­gun to ap­pear.When ur­ban­i­sa­tion is too rapid, or when it is un­der­taken with­out proper plan­ning, cities can be­come more un­equal than ru­ral ar­eas, re­sult­ing in a rise in sub­stan­dard liv­ing con­di­tions, ur­ban sprawl and in­creased pol­lu­tion.

Ur­ban­i­sa­tion can also lead to un­sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion pat­terns.Add in con­cerns about the af­ford­abil­ity of hous­ing and lim­ited de­vel­op­ment, and per­haps it is not so sur­pris­ing that over the past three years of Hous­ing Fu­tures re­search we have seen the emer­gence of a new creep­ing trend – the de­sire to move back to ru­ral.

In Strutt & Parker’s lat­est re­search, 21% of re­spon­dents who are mov­ing want to live in a vil­lage, mak­ing it eas­ily the most pop­u­lar lo­ca­tion.The shift away from cities is be­ing driven by peo­ple look­ing for neigh­bour­hood safety (86%) and space be­tween neigh­bours (58%), as well as for a strong com­mu­nity feel (48%).

Ac­cord­ing to Depart­ment for En­vi­ron­ment, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs (De­fra) in 2013/14, the UK saw net

This brick and flint pe­riod cot­tage has a court­yard gar­den to the front and an out­side decked area for din­ing to the rear. Lo­cated in Dean­way in Chal­font St Giles.Ask­ing price £435,000. Call 01494 871991. in­ter­nal mi­gra­tion of 60,000 peo­ple to pre­dom­i­nantly ru­ral ar­eas in Eng­land. It is a trend that has been pos­i­tive every year since 2001. But this re­verse mi­gra­tion is not to a tra­di­tional ru­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

The in­flu­ence that tech­nol­ogy is hav­ing on shop­ping, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and, most im­por­tantly, work­ing habits is help­ing to trans­form vil­lages and the type of peo­ple who want to live in them.

Tech­nol­ogy is also help­ing to change the ru­ral econ­omy, which plays a key role in cre­at­ing jobs and pros­per­ity. Eng­land’s ru­ral econ­omy now ac­counts for £210 bil­lion of eco­nomic out­put and hosts more than 25% of all reg­is­tered busi­nesses.

Once the pre­serve of agri­cul­tural en­ter­prises, new com­pa­nies are thriv­ing in ru­ral lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing hi-tech man­u­fac­tur­ing, food pro­cess­ing, the ser­vice sec­tor, re­tail and power sup­ply (in the form of re­new­ables). What’s more, the ex­pan­sion of broad­band and mo­bile com­mu­ni­ca­tions has seen a greater up­take of work­ing from home in ru­ral lo­ca­tions com­pared to ur­ban ar­eas. It seems the same fac­tors that once drove ur­ban­i­sa­tion – im­prov­ing eco­nomic and so­cial con­di­tions – are now in­spir­ing the vil­lage re­vival.

For more in­for­ma­tion about vil­lage prop­er­ties for sale, con­tact Roberts Newby, now part of Strutt & Parker at 83 Pack­horse Road, Ger­rards Cross, SL9 8PJ; 01753 891188 or visit www. strut­tand­parker.com.

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