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Reopening rail lines closed during the notorious Beeching cuts of the 1960s could boost house prices in places such as Ashington, Okehampton and Skipton which have found themselves less desirable in recent years, research has found.

Property agency Savills analysed house prices and found that values in many of the towns at the end of the potential new lines had slipped behind the average price for the county which they are in.

But the agency suggested that if the lines are reopened, an option outlined by transport secretary Chris Grayling on Wednesday, the price of homes could soar.

Mr Grayling said he wants to identify which routes would boost the economy, encourage house-building and ease overcrowding, and restoring lost capacity is a potential option.

Thousands of stations and hundreds of branch lines were closed between 1964 and 1970 in the wake of a report by British Railways chairman Dr Richard Beeching.

Links from Exeter to Okehampton and Newcastle to Ashington are two of the routes which could be brought back into service.

Savills’ analysis found that towns at the end of the lines which had not experienced house price growth in the past 10 years could now go up in value. This was particularly the case with more rural locations, the company said.

For example, while Exeter house prices are already 4.6pc above the Devon average, at £258,576, prices in Okehampton are 19.5pc lower than the average, at £198,969.

Similarly, while Newcastle prices are 18.2pc higher than the county average, at £186,168, at the other end of the line, prices in Ashington are 46.3pc below the average.

“This means they have more capacity for further house price growth and they may benefit from the improved connectivity into the relevant cities that the reopening of these lines may offer,” Savills said.

Similarly, the towns of Skipton, Colne, Wisbech and March, all of which could be on the end of a restored train line, also currently offer value when compared to their county averages and have more capacity for further house price growth.

However, where house prices are already above average, for example in places such as Oxford and Cambridge, adding a new rail link would have little impact, Savills said.


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