“The South Downs National Park is the newest National Park in the UK. Most people consider the status of National Park to be beneficial to the area, which runs from Winchester in the west to Eastbourne in the east, by preserving the special rural nature of the countryside.” says Mark Crampton of Middleton Advisors
“Travelling south from London the National Park is the first proper bit of countryside you get to on leaving the parts of Surrey that feel more busy and built up.
Property in the National Park
Personally, the most special bit of the park is from Winchester to Petworth north and south of the A272 which runs east-west through the Downs. The rolling topography and character of the villages is very special. From a property perspective the area appeals to locals who live and work locally, buyers moving out of London and also weekenders as it is enough of a contrast from London to feel like “you’ve escaped”. Access back to London is still good either by road using the M3, A31, or A3, or by rail with a good network served by stations at Winchester, Petersfield, Haslemere or Pulborough.
Some of the more popular hamlets and villages include Kilmeston, Beauworth, Selborne and East and West Meon in Hampshire and Lurgashall, Lickfold and Lodsworth in West Sussex. These could all be described as quaint, charming, attractive, unspoilt and very sought after. They attract buyers looking for the classic country house close to a nice village and a thriving rich community that is still easily accessible to cultural centres like Winchester, Chichester and of course London. This areas has the additional advantage of being within easy access for the south coast for sailing from Lymington to the Isle of Wight, or a weekend at The Pig in Brockenhurst where you can explore the New Forest.
Planning considerations in South Downs National Park
Planning matters in the National Park are dealt with through the SDNP authority and there is a greater degree of control as a result, however it doesn’t mean that development is completely impossible and many planning applications are dealt with by the local authority in much the same way as before the SDNP Authority came into being. Interestingly many of the proposed fracking sites recently making the news headlines are in the SDNP so it would be foolish to think that nothing controversial will ever happen just because of the National Park. Locals near Balcombe, Fernhurst and Milland are putting up a huge fight against one such proposed fracking site there.
Overall the area has benefitted with most people feeling comforted by the perceived extra layer of protection that setting up the Park was intended to do and it has certainly enhanced the appeal even more of properties now lying within its boundaries.”