Everyone wants to live in a village it seems. Preferably one with a village green, traditional pub and its own village school (Ofsted rated 'outstanding' of course). Even in central London, at least according to most popular TV property programmes, buyers are forever seeking out that desirable village setting.
Buying, investing or developing in a village, however, is not quite so easy. For decades planning rules have, by and large but with some exceptions, precluded development of most villages to any great extent. Planning policies normally place a limit on the maximum number of new houses that can be provided in villages, which is broadly in keeping with the current size of the village and its existing facilities.
There are signs, however, that this approach is changing - due to a recent directive from the Planning Inspector in the northwest. So in this report we will look at the latest situation and at what impact it might have for those wishing to develop or invest in a village (or even perhaps just live in one).
Let's consider for a moment why investors might want to buy in villages in the first place. Many of them offer an idyllic rural lifestyle which is in demand with buyers and tenants, particularly with well-heeled commuters, and which may help bolster prices, rents and yields. Past planning policy has often kept new supply tight, improving prospects for capital appreciation.