How your next home will help you walk and cycle more
We have long been encouraged to hop on public transport to let the train take the strain and to ditch our four wheels in favour of two but historically, these suggestions have been to reduce pollution and to improve fitness.
In 2020, however, we are being urged to forgo even public transport to pedal or walk wherever possible, casting a new light on property that is close to cycle lanes or within walking distance of town centres and business hubs. In fact, it is such a high priority that the Government has announced a £250 million emergency active fund to revolutionise the way we travel.
The changes will happen in a matter of weeks and will include pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions and cycle-only corridors. More is to follow too, as this is only the first stage of a £2 billion investment – part of a wider £5 billion funding initiative announced for cycling and buses in February 2020. Elsewhere, it looks likely the trial of electric scooters in Britain will be brought forward after a consultation to legalise e-scooters was started in March 2020.
The link between cycling and higher property prices has been strengthening for some time. In the report ‘The Value of Cycling’, released in 2016 in tandem with the Department for Transport, it was concluded that neighbourhoods with cycle-friendly characteristics – low traffic volumes and walk-able to close, off-road cycle paths – are more desirable or have higher property values.
Now, as recently as June 2020, the link between houses prices in London and being able to walk to work has been analysed, with prices in neighbourhoods a short stroll from the office around 18% higher. It’s a trend that is set to spread across the whole of the UK – especially since we’re discovering we actually like walking and cycling.
If you are looking to move home in the near future, your choice of property will help you adopt a healthier, greener way of getting from A to B. You may like to consider the following when conducting your search:-
Plan your route: if you’re planning on walking to work, your commute may be very different. Before you make an offer on a property, do a couple of door-to-door trial runs so you know the terrain and how long the walk will take.
Know where you’re allowed to walk: many home movers will be looking to make a lifestyle move, perhaps with the countryside in mind. While a pleasant amble across acres of open fields sounds romantic, walkers should be aware of rights of way and public access, as well as respect The Countryside Code.
Explore the Government’s Cycle to Work scheme: designed to encourage more people to commute by bike, this Government-run cycle scheme allows workers to buy a bike, tax free. In detail, the employer actually buys the bike and the employee ‘hires’ the cycle through a salary sacrifice scheme (with no tax or National Insurance to pay on the monthly contribution). At the end of the hire period, the employee is usually given the opportunity to buy the bike from the employer.
Think about cycle storage: this is a little more straightforward if you live in a house with a garden, as you can potentially store a bike in a shed. If you live in a flat, you may need to invest in a wall-mounted rack or ceiling hoist, and be mindful of not blocking communal hallways and entrances. You can also buy outdoor, floor-mounted bike racks but if you’re a tenant, consult with your landlord before adding any bike storage. A good option is to look at new build homes, as planning requirements often stipulate that the house builder provide secure cycle storage as standard.
If you are looking to move to somewhere more cycle and walking friendly, let us know. We can send you the latest available properties and provide you with a free valuation on any home you wish to sell or rent out.