A Somerset village which counts former Chancellor George Osborne and filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson among its residents has become the most searched-for location among property buyers this year.
Bruton has seen a 72 per cent increase in buyer searches, according to a list compiled by Rightmove.
The tiny West Country town set in a corner of Somerset boasts three boarding schools, a 16th century dovecoat and sprawling manors against the backdrop of the hills, which sell for upwards of £1.5 million.
It earned itself the nickname the ‘new Notting Hill’, having become a countryside playground for the rich and famous who can escape London in as little as 90 minutes on a train from Paddington.
Homeowners in the trendy enclave include theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who is behind West End musicals including Cats, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Oliver! and Mary Poppins.
His neighbours include the fashion designer Alice Temperley, director Sam Taylor-Johnson, photographer Don McCullin, the Corrs singer Caroline Corr and Dominic Greensmith, of the rock band Reef.
Earlier this year, Former Chancellor George Osborne snapped up a £1.6 million retreat in Bruton after he had an offer accepted on a five-bedroom, late 18th century, Grade II-listed Georgian house set in three acres of grounds in the town.
Jock Mendoza-Wilson, the director of investor relations for System Capital Management, described Bruton as a ‘a microcosm of the poshest parts of London transported to one of the most beautiful parts of the country,’ in a Guardian interview this year.
Bruton has become a well-known feature of fans of Sarah Beeny’s new television show that follows her move out of London last year and the building of her new home on the outskirts of the Somerset village.
After selling her London home after advertising it for £3.5million, she bought a 220 acre farm near Bruton.
Bruton has become a well-known feature of fans of Sarah Beeny’s new television show that follows her move out of London last year and the building of her new home on the outskirts of the Somerset village
The Channel 4 show, Sarah Beeny’s New Life in the Country, sees the home renovation queen, her artist husband and four sons adapt to country living
Attracting attention: This five-bed house in Bruton is for sale via estate agents Lodestone Property, for £850,000
George Osbourne, 49, had a bid accepted on this £1.6 million, five bedroom, late 18th century Somerset country retreat in Bruton
Earlier this year, Former Chancellor George Osborne snapped up a £1.6 million retreat in Bruton. Right, Theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who has worked on West End musicals including Cats, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Oliver! and Mary Poppins also owns a home in Bruton
Filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson (left) and world-renowned photojournalist Don McCullin both own homes in Bruton
Locations close to the coast and in more rural areas make up the entire top ten locations that have seen the biggest rise in people searching for homes on Rightmove.
Bruton is followed by Pitlochry in Scotland, up 50 per cent, and Aylesford in Kent, which has seen a 48 per cent increase in views on the property website.
The data compares 2019 with this year, although this year’s data only runs up to December 14.
The Channel 4 show, called Sarah Beeny’s New Life in the Country, sees the home renovation queen, her artist husband and four sons adapt to country living.
The theme of moving to the country has been a big feature of the housing market this year amid the pandemic.
People have sought more space both indoors and outdoors following the first lockdown that saw people restricted to their homes for hours on end every day.
The top five places with the biggest annual increases in buyer searches are completed by Salcombe, Devon and Lightwater, Surrey.
Sarah Beeny is building her new home on the outskirts of the Somerset village of Bruton (pictured)
Sarah and her family (pictured) have moved from their London home (pictured) to live in the countryside
Fashion designers Alice Temperley (pictured left in October 2019), and Phoebe Philo (right in 2014) also own properties in the West Country bolthole
Bruton neighbours include the Corrs singer Caroline Corr (left) and Dominic Greensmith, drummer with the rock band Reef (right)
Bruton in Somerset leads the way, with a 72 per cent increase in buyer searches, according to the list compiled by Rightmove
|Place||Area||Annual % change in buyer searches|
A move to Scotland? This five-bed house in Pitlochry is for sale via estate agents Next Home for offers over £680,000
This eight-bed house in Salcombe is for sale via estate agents Luscombe Maye for offers in excess of £2.5million
Visiting the area? This five-bed house in Barnard Castle is for sale via estate agents GSC Grays for £360,000
What other trends were there?
Back in May there was a more fleeting trend when Barnard Castle saw daily searches leap 144 per cent, after it was reported that Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser visited the area during the initial lockdown period.
In terms of the nation’s rental hotspots, the top three places in Britain that have seen the biggest annual increases in rental searches are Cambridge at 34 per cent, Stockport at 31 per cent, and Rye at 27 per cent.
Rightmove’s review of the year found that seven of the top 10 areas that have seen the biggest rises in the number of sales being agreed in the past 12 months have populations under 10,000, further highlighting the popularity of rural locations.
The top local markets with the biggest year-on-year increases in sales agreed are Welwyn in Hertfordshire, which saw an increase of 75 per cent, Woodbridge in Suffolk, up 69 per cent, Llanelli in Wales – which is up 65 per cent.
The top five local markets also include Stockbridge in Hampshire, which is up 60 per cent, and Malmesbury in Wiltshire, which is up 54 per cent.
This five-bed house in Llanelli is for sale via estate agents John Francis for £550,000
|Place||Region||Annual % change in sales agreed|
For prices, it’s suburban areas in the North West near Liverpool and Manchester that saw the biggest growth this year.
Eccles, home of the iconic cakes and located west of Manchester, has seen a bigger annual increase in average asking prices than anywhere else in Britain, up 16 per cent. The national average increase is 6.6 per cent, according to Rightmove.
It said average asking prices in the town are up from £184,299 last year to £213,706 this year.
Six other locations across Greater Manchester and Merseyside complete the top 10 property price hotspots in 2020, with Wavertree up 12.2 per cent and Chadderton up 10.9 per cent, taking second and third places respectively.
This five-bed house in Eccles is for sale via estate agents Indlu for offers in excess of £600,000
For traffic, the busiest days of the year are usually recorded in the first few months, but the temporary closure and subsequent mini-boom from May onwards, plus the introduction of the temporary stamp duty holiday in July, saw Rightmove record over 200 of its busiest ever days in 2020.
Daily visits surpassed eight million for the first time on July 8, when the stamp duty holiday was announced. And within half an hour of the announcement, traffic increased 22 per cent.
Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said: ‘This year we’ve seen an uplift in the number of homemovers escaping to the country and we think this trend will continue for now as people show their willingness to make significant life changes.
‘The data highlights just how influential the unexpected events of this year have been in shaping the nation’s housing priorities, with many buyers determined to swap city streets for rural and coastal retreats.’
Glynis Frew, of Hunters Estate Agents, said: ‘2020 has given many people time to reset and reprioritise, with a focus on lifestyle. From a better work-life balance to the need for outside space, we have a renewed sense of what matters to us.
‘For some, this means finally making that dream rural or coastal move, safe in the knowledge that they can work remotely for the majority of the time while coming into the office a few times a month.
‘For those in certain digital-led industries, the possibilities are almost limitless – a good Wi-Fi connection is all they need.’
|Place||Region||Average asking prices 2020||Average asking prices 2019||% change|
|Sowerby Bridge||West Yorkshire||£210,897||£190,415||10.80%|
Richard Speedy, of estate agent Strutt & Parker, added: ‘This year in the West Country we’ve seen around three times the regular number of applicants, and in the last weeks of 2020 are witnessing at least double the number of interested buyers compared to the same period in 2019.
‘This year, people have become increasingly curious as to what they can get in the countryside, with many finally deciding to take the plunge.
‘Coastal locations have seen a boom in popularity as people look for a change in lifestyle.
This year in the West Country we’ve seen around three times the regular number of applicants, and in the last weeks of 2020 are witnessing at least double the number of interested buyers compared to the same period in 2019.
Richard Speedy – Strutt & Parker
‘Hotspots along the coast allow residents to enjoy activities on the water, access the beach, and brilliant coastal walking while also maintaining the ever-important tight-knit community aspect.
‘With the majority unable to travel abroad this year, the staycation trend has highlighted the benefits of the British countryside and coastline, leading to a surge in interest from first and second-home buyers, particularly in Devon and Cornwall, wanting their own slice.
‘What’s quite interesting, in the last couple of months, is the increasing number of professionals in the financial sector being given a greater amount of flexibility when it comes to working location.
‘Many have been given the option of working remotely, with required time in the office limited to just a couple of days a month.
‘As a result, a rising number of relatively high net worth individuals and their families are heading to the South West in search of the rural, or coastal, idyll.
‘Priorities have changed – being within a one hour’s radius of London is no longer a must-have requirement and, as a result, people are looking to buy larger homes than they would have previously considered, with most requiring one, if not two, home office spaces to be able to work remotely.’
Tom Parker, of Zoopla, said: ‘More space and a desirable location have been the primary drivers of home moves as a result of lockdown measures, with households across the country making a once in a lifetime reassessment of their property and whether it lives up to what they want and need.’
Sarah Beeny is criticised by viewers for pouring ‘huge amounts of concrete’ into ‘beautiful’ fields to create her dream home on New Country Life – after furious locals slammed her development plans
By Chloe Morgan for MailOnline
Sarah Beeny’s New Country Life viewers have criticised the presenter for pouring ‘huge amounts of concrete’ in a field in the middle of the ‘beautiful countryside’ to create her dream home.
The Channel 4 show follows the property expert, 48, her husband Graham Swift and their family after they relocated from London to juts outside Bruton, Somerset, and started renovating a semi-derelict former dairy farm into their ideal family home.
In last night’s episode, the couple recruited a band of workers to begin Covid-safe renovation work after a month’s pause in the project – but the endless lorries of concrete didn’t got down well with those who tuned in.
‘I can’t help thinking whilst watching #SarahBeenyNewLife that there could of been better places to pour huge amounts of concrete, than a field in the middle of the beautiful countryside,’ wrote one.
Last night’s episode of Channel 4’s Sarah Beeny’s New Country Life followed the presenter (pictured) and her family as they recruited a band of workers to begin Covid-safe renovation work after a month’s pause in the project
Viewers criticised the presenter for pouring ‘huge amounts of concrete’ in a field in the middle of the ‘beautiful countryside’ (pictured)
Taking to the comments section, one person penned: ‘I can’t help thinking whilst watching #SarahBeenyNewLife that there could of been better places to pour huge amounts of concrete, than a field in the middle of the beautiful countryside’ (pictured)
A second added: ‘Erm… laying electrical cables without putting down the safety warning tape or a stop board? Dogs & kids running around on a building site?’
‘All that concrete will be doing wonders for the Co2 emissions? Might be green fields but not green friendly…or safe.’
The truck that will pump the concrete into the walls through its 30 metre arm could be seen arriving on site – closely followed by the first concrete truck with nearly 19 tonnes in its mixer, ready to pour.
‘The second lorry is here already,’ said Sarah Beeny. ‘It’s going to be pretty relentless today.’
The truck that will pump the concrete into the walls through its 30 metre arm could be seen arriving on site (pictured)
The couple also disagreed on whether they should have animals, so arranged to borrow four alpacas from a nearby farm to see if they liked the idea (pictured)
The couple also disagreed on whether they should have animals, so arranged to borrow four alpacas from a nearby farm to see if they liked the idea.
‘I’m not sure whether they’re really building a house or just setting up an elaborate petting zoo,’ wrote one, while a second penned:
‘No wonder the house isn’t getting built…they’re always too busy with alpacas, fishing, owls etc….’
A third added: ‘I keep watching #SarahBeenyNewLife because I want to see the new house, and yet most of the show is filled with stuff like sheep sheering or making random things! I have a feeling we might not see the finished house this series – argh!’
Sarah and husband Graham intended to build the home of their dreams on the 220 acres of land and make it a home for their four sons Billy, 15, Charlie, 13, Raffy, 10, and Lawrie, nine.
Another person who tuned in wrote: ‘I’m not sure whether they’re really building a house or just setting up an elaborate petting zoo’
Sarah and her husband Graham were eventually granted permission for their dream house.
Documents show objections to the development focused on a track leading from the property to a nearby road associated with accidents and poor traffic.
Her development on the edge of Bruton has been subject to an arduous planning permission process.
Plans for Sarah Beeny’s new home were met with objections from local residents. Pictured: Drawings submitted as part of the planning application for the Somerset property
The property expert outlined plans for the drive to the house to connect onto a road locals said was an accident blackspot
But the project was initially struck by a series of objections by locals. One neighbour labelled her original development plans ‘irresponsible and downright dangerous’ while another said they were ‘extremely foolish’.
Eight out of nine comments objected to the original application back in the summer of 2019.
Wincanton resident Paul Williams said: ‘Having lived here for 35 years and in that time seem dozens of accidents on this notorious stretch of road, several of which have been through my hedge.
‘The idea of adding a further entrance/exit in this zone seems irresponsible and downright dangerous.
‘I fully support the Parish Council’s view that in the interest of public safety this proposal must be rejected.’
Sandra Pentecost added how locals have spent days and nights ‘slowing and directing traffic on a blind bend to avoid further collisions.’
She added: ‘I think it would be extremely foolish to allow any further vehicular access onto this road, particularly as the proposed dwelling has a well maintained and safe access from Barrow Water Lane.
‘The tracks that the applicants are claiming to be existing access points are in fact not and never have been for vehicular use.
‘I urge the planners to turn down the Application for this access point on to a dangerous and fast road.’
William Heath, who live in a cottage a few hundred metres from the property said: ‘We have lived at Dairy Cottage for circa 4 years.
‘During that time we have seen at least 23 road traffic incidents on the stretch of road between Trendle lane and the Stoker Hill junction.’
The broadcaster and her husband Graham Swift bought the dairy farm in order to build an enormous mansion on the land but struggled to get planning permission
Eight out of nine comments objected to the original application back in the summer of 2019. Pictured: The land where Sarah hopes to build the home in Somerset
Official data shows a lower number of incidents than Mr Heath suggests, but he argued not all traffic incidents are reported to the local authorities.
Mark Hill, who also lives in Home Farm, Wincanton backed up Mr Heath’s claim, adding that Beeny’s exit onto the road could risk potential accidents involving animals.
He said: ‘The proposed access point has, in fact, been the scene of a number of accidents in the last ten years due to vehicles increasing their speeds as they enter this particular stretch of road.
‘One of the fields belonging to Home Farm is directly opposite the proposed access point and it contains livestock all year round.
‘One of the significant concerns is the danger posed by increasing the potential for accidents at this point that could lead to vehicles damaging the hedging, fencing and livestock.’
Objections also came towards plans to remove a small number of hedgerows to provide access to the property.
Wincanton resident Debbie Hicks said: ‘This hedgerow plays a key role in the wildlife connectivity between Moorwood and the River Pitt corridor for a number of species.’
Another neighbour argued the trimming of any hedges would be disturbing ‘nesting birds’ and therefore breaking regulations laid out by various wildlife acts.
Documents show a planning application was submitted in April 2019 and finally approved in July this year.
The Channel 4 show was met with a backlash after previous episodes when Sarah was criticised of ‘painful citysplaining’.
Sarah called the property ‘Little House on the Prairie’ as the couple began changing the land around their would-be home, including planting 1,000 trees to create a ‘woodland walk’ near the stream.
One viewer posted online: ‘Er this lot already have a big farmhouse to live in, am I missing something?’
One commented: ‘Watched expecting the warm fuzzy feeling. Instead, I feel I have been ‘citysplained’ as to how to correctly live rurally by rich town folk who can’t grasp council apprehension to the construction of a garish mansion being built in the beautiful countryside.’