Flooding, Fracking, Phone Signals and Schools...
How to find your rural idyll
Severe weather is teaching us some salutary lessons about where we decide to build, live and work. Yorkshire has a wealth of rural properties and, if you are lucky enough to be able to choose, along with flood risk, what should you be aware of?
The avoidance of flooding is, obviously, a high priority and none of us would wish to go through what the residents of the Somerset Levels had to put up with last winter. As part of the legal process of buying a property searches are carried out, which includes a flood search. However, even before you begin negotiating make enquiries of the Environmental Agency to check the flood risk for a particular property. If your chosen property is in a flood risk area, it does not mean that it has actually flooded, so enquiries of your seller are crucial, as well as checking that insurance cover for all risks (including flooding) is available on normal premiums and terms.
Other disadvantages that are not visible from an inspection of a property come in the shape of transport. What are the local transport links, frequency of service and cost? Where are your local amenities: schools, hospitals, vets? Crucial too, especially if you operate your own consultancy or businesses, is mobile phone reception and internet speed. The benefits of living and working in the country are negated if these are low or non-existent.
Whilst you feel your chosen property may be ideal, what else is sitting on the planner’s desk for the neighbourhood? Would you object to a wind farm, acres of photovoltaic panels, drilling for oil, fracking or acres of agricultural fleece? It is always wise to enhance the local search, carried out as part of the legal purchase transaction, with a specialist search and specific enquiries into what you may feel is a potential threat. Simply making your own local enquiries and speaking to the neighbours and the Parish Council early, go a long way to giving you the full picture of the area.
As always, be careful not to buy with your heart. It is difficult when you feel you’ve found ‘the one’ BUT make sure your head is fully engaged too. Viewing in summer can be deceptive; how will it all look under three foot snow drifts? What will you make of that quaint twisty staircase when your joints begin to creak at bit? What will your teenagers think when the last bus from town is at 8pm and you are not prepared to be the taxi driver every evening?
Given the challenges I’ve outlined above, I remain resolutely optimistic by nature but a realist from my many years’ experience helping hundreds of my clients secure their dream house in the country. Yours is out there just waiting to be discovered and by heeding my advice I’m sure you’ll find it!