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National Park status set to increase property prices by 10%, conference is told

Property prices within the South Downs National Park could increase upwards by 10% as estate agents use national park status to improve the desirability of the area, a conference heard.
It could also mean more second home owners in the area and fewer local people being able to afford property, the conference organised by chartered surveyors Smiths Gore and solicitors Adams & Remers, was also told.
The South Downs National Park, which has taken 60 years to come to fruition, will be unique among England’s 10 existing National Parks as approximately 85% of the land is under management with 60 % given over to arable.
It will also include more than 320,000 kilometres of footpaths and more than 120,000 people will live within the Park boundary and approximately eight million people living within one hour of its boundary, the conference heard.
‘There will be increased opportunities for landowners, both large and small, from the increase in tourism into the area and we expect to see a significant uplift in the value of cottage rentals,’ said Rupert Clark, a partner at Smiths Gore and head of Rural Estate Management.
‘We would also expect to see house prices increase upwards of 10% as estate agents inevitably make a play on National Park status,’ he added.
He said there will also be challenges ahead in the provision of affordable housing and increasing weekend holiday home ownership will have an impact on housing supply. ‘The South Downs is already a relatively expensive part of the country to purchase property, particularly for agricultural and key workers. The added challenges and bureaucracy that will be involved in achieving planning permissions is only likely to make this position worse,’ explained Clark.
However, Richard Shaw, the interim chief executive of the South Downs National Park
Authority, and Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel and South Downs and Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said that the very nature of the South Downs National Park with the large numbers of people living and working within its boundary along with tightening DEFRA budgets to National Park Authorities may mean that a significant proportion of responsibilities back to local authorities, including that of planning.
‘It is usual that a National Park Authority becomes the planning authority for all planning applications within the Park boundary. It was suggested that this may not be the case with the South Downs National Park. If so, this will be good news for home owners and businesses within the Park,’ said Andrew Pawlik, a partner at Adams & Remers based in Lewes, a town that falls within the Park boundary.
‘Local authorities that border the South Downs National Park may also take some comfort from this as well, as there is always the danger that they become a dumping ground for development that would not typically be allowed within National Park boundaries,’ he added.