Well managed green space is adding millions to the value of properties around the country, report national land management charity, the Land Trust, as it publishes the findings of a joint research project with Lancaster University and AMION Consulting.
The research highlights that the Trust’s management of green spaces around homes is contributing to an uplift in house prices estimated to be in the region of £394 million for properties situated nearby the charity’s sites.
The Trust is able to report these figures for the first time following research carried out in partnership with Lancaster University.
The research aimed to provide robust data on the quantity of housing located close to the green spaces managed by the Trust. Alex Wylie, who was on placement with the Land Trust while a Geography undergraduate at Lancaster University, identified nearly 130,000 homes within 500 metres of the Trust’s sites, using a combination of housing and property data and geographical information systems.
Using data from the Trust’s economic and social value model, it is estimated that the value of the green spaces, capitalised into the property prices, could be as high as £394 million, based on research published by the ONS in October 2019.
AMION Consulting developed the economic and social value model in conjunction with the Land Trust to assess the benefits of sites being managed by the national land management charity and the impacts arising for the communities that live and work around their parks and green spaces. The model enables the Trust to measure the benefits of their green space management against the charity’s five key charitable objectives of:
Speaking about the findings, the Land Trust’s Director of Portfolio Management, Alan Carter, said: “At the Land Trust we have known for some time that well managed green spaces have a hugely positive impact on the value of property prices in a local area.
“However until now we have been unable to quantify that figure on a nationwide scale as we simply haven’t had the data to do so. However the hard work and dedication of Alex and Lancaster University has allowed us to understand how many houses are situated within 500 metres of one of our green spaces. Applying this, alongside the existing published research provides a really clear picture of the value that our green spaces can generate.
“Many of the Land Trust’s sites are situated in deprived communities desperately needing quality housing stock. However due to the relatively low land prices before we get involved in a site, developers are not able to justify the investment of developing at these locations.
“After several years of working with key developers, we have realised that as we deliver well managed green space, the land adjacent to our sites which is zoned for development becomes economically viable, offering developers real opportunities to deliver low cost and affordable housing for the local community.”
Lancaster University graduate Alex Wylie, who undertook the project as part of his dissertation, said: “The work that the Land Trust is undertaking to quantify the holistic benefits of green space and green infrastructure is more important than ever before. The effects of COVID-19 and the national lockdown have highlighted the need for accessible green space to exercise, safeguard and improve overall mental health and raise productivity.
“As well as this, the report proves how green infrastructure can add real economic value to our urban spaces in a sustainable way, building resilience against the current economic recession and long-term global warming.”
The research highlights the need for property developers to consider the value and quality of green infrastructure within new developments. The Land Trust manages public open space on behalf of 4,500 homeowners at nine service charge sites across the country, with this figure expected to rise to 20,000 over the next five years.
Carter believes that research such as this will have a huge influence over developers and key decision makers in the future:
“Since taking over the management of our first service charge site in 2016, the Land Trust has been working in partnership with developers across the country to help them understand the value of green infrastructure and the need to prioritise this as an essential part of their developments.
“From our own client relationships we know that developers are increasingly taking this seriously and the ramifications of Biodiversity Net Gain means this will have to become a priority for them in the future.
“Too often in the past the green infrastructure on a development has been bottom of the list of priorities as they focused on building and selling houses. However, this evidence clearly shows the positive benefits of investing in green space at the outset and we hope more and more people will continue to sit up and take notice.”
Alex’s placement with the Land Trust was supported through Lancaster University’s Centre for Global Eco-Innovation.
Dr Andy Pickard, Manager of the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation at Lancaster University said: “We were delighted to team up with the Land Trust on this piece of work and the results are overwhelmingly positive. Alex’s work has enabled the Trust to clearly evidence the number of properties in close proximity to the Trust’s green spaces and the impact they are having on property prices and the communities around their parks and green spaces. We are always keen to link bright and ambitious students with innovative organisations, as we believe everyone wins from this collaboration. The student gains excellent industry experience and insight, whilst the host organisation gains an extra dedicated resource and often an outside perspective on business operations.”
Tim Johnston, the Chairman of AMION Consulting who has worked with the Land Trust since its inception said: “Capturing the full range of economic, social and environmental benefits of the work carried out by the Land Trust has become increasingly important in recent years, not least to provide evidence to underpin investment decisions and ensure public funding delivers the best value for money. However, valuing the management and use of green spaces has been particularly challenging to date.
“Thankfully, projects such as the one carried out by Lancaster University have, and will continue to make this process easier, and we look forward to working alongside the Land Trust as the work of the Trust, and the model continues to evolve’.”
This project was supported by the European Regional Development Fund.
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