The road to success: Infrastructure planning23/09/20
The UK lockdown brought some interesting questions to the fore. One of them has been the ‘work from home’ ethic that has been instilled in those able to do so.
It used to be the case that the location of your home in relation to your workplace had a great deal of bearing on your decision to live there. But now proximity to work for many is becoming less important, compared with how good the services, amenities and quality of life are locally. Infrastructure, for both commuting and leisure, is still important. But for the time being the emphasis has shifted slightly and this is being reflected in the housing market.
However, infrastructure remains a key factor in buyers selecting a new property. It’s important for the Government and local authorities to get the balance right. There’s a great deal of difference between urban and rural planning. Major roads are the arteries of the country, but many people travel by rail too – and a station, even in a rural community, can make a huge difference to its appeal with house buyers. Once you add in factors like city parking or congestion charges and the availability of out-of-town shopping, urban travel – and consequently urban living – quickly becomes less appealing. However, road conditions in the countryside are never going to be quite as good as major roads. They also tend to be lower down the list when it comes to maintenance budgets, despite enduring some pretty heavy agricultural wear-and-tear. But even in rural locations, you can still be near vital road links, that planners ensure are upgraded to accommodate current and future capacity.
Long-term planning is particularly important for the wider ambitions of local authorities. Many rural areas are seeing burgeoning development and an influx of residents, so infrastructure planning must keep pace with the numbers. It’s no use turning villages into small towns, without the roads, lights, services and power capabilities to match. Forge Property is seeing people keener to make the switch to the countryside and this is driving both the market and demand. Our surveyors and valuers are aware of the huge impacts good infrastructure can have on clients selecting a new home and these aspects are reflected in our appraisals and advice to buyers.
On the flipside, poor infrastructure may not be immediately apparent and our local knowledge on these matters can help our clients make the right choices for their requirements – be they buyers seeking a home to commute from, or retirees looking to settle somewhere to enjoy all that rural living has to offer. This locale currently has added appeal, with guidance on ‘working from home’ and an encouragement to ‘shop local’.
These days infrastructure also includes the considerable telecommunications and digital networks that have become intrinsic to our daily lives. Planners are trying to ensure that many urban and rural locations are well connected – via the internet, if not via a reliable mobile phone signal. For home workers, the ability to log-on easily and efficiently has made home working a hit for some, while many home entertainments such as streamed TV and gaming rely on internet connections.
It’s finding the right location to suit our clients’ needs that features the right balance of connected infrastructure and quality amenities. Infrastructure planning shapes our environment and at its best, creates spaces that we’d all like to live in.