Here at lapd Architects we have put together a small guide for those who are looking to relocate to rural Oxfordshire.
As families grow and working conditions change, city life can begin to seem less desirable. Rural Oxfordshire has wonderful things to offer for homeowners. Oxfordshire has many wonderful areas to offer those interested in rural living: be it near Oxford city itself with its beautiful surrounding villages; to the South of the county near Abingdon, Harwell or Henley; or further North towards the Cotswolds with Banbury, Woodstock and Bicester. Rural Oxfordshire provides the best of both worlds, near enough to larger towns and cities but remote enough for that idyllic countryside existence with large gardens and lots of character.
Whilst you are looking for your next family home, however, it is important to keep a few things at the front of your mind. Here is a short guide to help as you begin your house search.
The perfect home does not exist… yet…
When looking for your new home it is important to look for opportunity rather than an already finished home. No house will be perfect to begin with. Working with an architect means that you will be able to unlock the potential in a house through bespoke design, making it work for you and your family. Even if this might be a few years off it is important to be thinking of how the home you are thinking of buying could change. One way of thinking about this is understanding what is fixed about a property: aspect (where does the sunrise and set), access roads and the surrounding area, views (that can or can’t be changed?), garden space for possible extensions. At lapd Architects we offer a free initial consultation to help you think these things through.
Be aware of site constraints and local authorities
The planning process might be far off in your thinking at this point, but there are some site constraints that you should be thinking about even at this early stage. Is the property:
- In an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)?
- In the Green Belt?
- In a conservation area?
- A listed building?
- In need of any special surveys (tree, bat, ecological)?
None of these things are bad in and of themselves, in fact many of them can be positives – as long as you are aware of them. Listed properties have character, but might mean you can’t make certain changes to the property. Conservation areas can often mean that your views will remain undisturbed, although you might not be able to be as drastic with your external changes as you first thought. Architects can manage all these aspects. Here at lapd Architects we offer a bespoke design service that works for you and your vision whilst also working around the constraints, both legal and site specific, that your property might be under. We are experienced with working with the local authorities and planning departments in Oxfordshire, including but not exclusive to Vale of Whitehorse, South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC), Cherwell, West Oxfordshire and Oxford City. One tip would be to have a look on the planning portal for the area your potential new property is in, and see what planning precedents can be found in the accepted planning applications. That will give you a guiding idea of what has been done in the area over the past 5 or 10 years and what you might be able to do yourself.
Think budget, immediate and long term
When looking at relocating it is easy to only see the immediate. However, when thinking about budget always have in mind a budget that encompasses any work done to the house, even if that might be a five or ten year plan. At lapd Architects we help you with your cost plan from right at the beginning of the process so that you know that your scheme will be within your budget.
Whilst looking for your next property, keep these things in mind. If you want to see what some of the possibilities are for properties in rural Oxfordshire then have a look through some of our projects: barn conversions, listed building projects, extensions/ refurbishments and more. We offer a free initial consultation and would be more than happy to talk through a property you are thinking of purchasing in order to offer our expert opinion on what could be possible within your budget for your potential next property.