Men in Lycra boost Otley’s appeal

The
Tour de France celebrations in Otley helped boost the town's appeal to outsiders
The Tour de France celebrations in Otley helped boost the town's appeal to outsiders
0
Have your say

When the Tour de France sped through Otley, it delivered some of the Grand Depart’s greatest scenes.

The cameras showed the town and its community at their very best and the legacy left by the world’s biggest bike race continues to have an effect two years on.

When the Tour de France sped through Otley, it delivered some of the Grand Depart’s greatest scenes.

The cameras showed the town and its community at their very best and the legacy left by the world’s biggest bike race continues to have an effect two years on.

It has certainly boosted the property market, according to estate agent David Phillip, of Dacre, Son & Hartley.

He says that the race has increased the town’s popularity and has attracted more outsiders. “We’ve seen quite a lot of people from the suburbs of Leeds and Bradford moving here. They like the idea of living in a market town and they understand that this is a very friendly community.”

James Hendry, of Hunters estate agency, says that last year around 40 per cent of buyers were from outside the area. There is also “a significant number” of would-be buyers from London on the mailing list.

Both estate agents agree that there is a desperate shortage of supply. While this is common across most parts of the UK at the moment thanks to the rush to buy before the increased stamp duty for buy-to-lets and second homes is imposed in April, it is more marked in Otley.

First-time buyers are the most prevalent house hunters and there is a chronic shortage of starter homes. This has led to some startling price rises at the lower end of the market. A property on Albion Street that was worth £135,000 in 2009 has just sold for £175,000, according to David Phillip.

James Hendry adds that most properties are selling quickly with some going to best and final offers above the asking price. The reason for this is the town’s many attractions, including its location, impressive list of amenities, great schools and a strong community spirit.

It sits on the banks of the River Wharfe, which runs through the heart of the town. There is a beautiful park and Otley is surrounded by countryside, including the hills and moors of Chevin Forest Park.

It is within easy driving distance of Harrogate, Leeds and Bradford and Leeds-Bradford airport is just under four miles away. Unlike its fashionable neighbour, Ilkley, it does not have a train station but there is a shuttle bus that runs from Otley to Menston railway station.

Waitrose spotted its appeal and opened there in 2004. It also has a Sainsbury’s but retains an impressive number of independent shops and street markets, along with community-run festivals. While Ilkley has more boutiques and restaurants, Otley is renowned for its “proper pubs” serving real ale. Most of the schools are rated good but the main draw is Prince Henry’s Grammar School. Last year, 75 per cent of students achieved 5A*- C GCSEs, including English and Maths – results. Prices for properties close to the school reflect its popularity. Family-sized homes are over £300,000. A new three-bedroom mews house by PJ Livesey within walking distance of Prince Henry’s is on the market for £359,950.

Prices elsewhere are not cheap and there is very little under £150,000. They are, however, about 15 per cent cheaper than those in Ilkley. While some might say Otley sits in the shadow of its posh neighbour, James Hendry says the two should not be compared. “Otley is nothing like Ilkley,” he says. “This is a traditional and very friendly market town.”

*www.visitotley.co.uk