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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Heritage bid could raise Lake District house prices

A new report has raised hopes that the Lake District’s World Heritage bid could raise house prices in the county.

Lake District aerial photo

The recent report from the UK’s National Commission for Unesco found that the economic benefits of world heritage status “include regeneration and stimulation of new investment and house price rises”.

The authors say one specific consequence is likely to be the arrival of more high-spending tourists, particularly from Asia.

A report in the Financial Times on Saturday said there was already an 18 per cent premium for homes within the boundary of a national park and an eight per cent premium for properties within three miles of a park, according to research on housing in 10 of the UK’s national parks released by Nationwide Building Society.

Nationwide said the average house price in the Lake District park stands at £253,000.

David Benjamin, managing director of Fine and Country estate agency in the Lake District, doubted whether Unesco recognition will inflate house prices across the board in a stable, and quiet, market.

“But if the Lake District secures world heritage status, the award could push up the prices of cottages and other houses suitable for holiday lets,” he said. “There has traditionally been a big demand for nice houses in attractive villages – whether inside or outside the boundary of the park – from people living within a couple of hours’ drive of the Lake District: Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and as far south as Cheshire. Then there is a big gap until you get to London and the southeast, with people often cashing in their high-value homes to buy into a quieter lifestyle here, sometimes working partly from home.”

The Financial Times report also said the Lake District had gained a reputation as a ‘foodie’ destination over the past decade.

“[Cartmel, in particular] is a magical medieval village in a beautiful setting,” said Simon Rogan, a Michelin-starred chef who runs three restaurants there, including the celebrated L’Enclume.

Rogan, from Southampton, is due to take over the restaurant at Claridge’s hotel in London next month but plans to keep his home and farm just outside Cartmel. “The Lake District is a safe and unpolluted environment for bringing up a family,” he said.

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