Study on Scotland’s most expensive streets is misleading

By Yaz Duncan

A recent study by the Bank of Scotland naming Northumberland Street as the most expensive in Scotland may be misleading according to local estate agents.

The study conducted by the bank named Northumberland Street in Edinburgh’s New Town as the most expensive street to buy property, with average house prices hovering around the £1.3million mark.

However, the study has faced criticism from estate agents who say that the statistic is not accurate because more expensive houses have been sold in the surrounding streets.

Peter Lyle, Director of Edinburgh Residential at Savills said: ‘We have sold a property in Northumberland Street for £1.7m, a little bit more actually. That is the most expensive this year.

‘Properties in the surrounding area have sold for more than £1.7m in streets like Heriot Row and Royal Circus. A whole townhouse there will be more expensive than in Northumberland Street.

‘The study is comparing apples and pears and is simply taking an average of what has been recently sold. If you look at some streets in St Andrews houses are selling for three or four million. It is an odd statistic.’

Despite the alleged inaccuracy of the study, Northumberland Street properties are still selling for higher than average prices and the New Town continues to be a desirable area.

Peter Lyle added: ‘Northumberland Street is in the heart of the New Town, walking distance from Princes Street and close to nice parks. It ticks the boxes for people wanting to live in the city centre.’

In response to suggestions by estate agents that the study is misleading Nitesh Patel, economist at the Bank of Scotland said: ‘We took the period from 2010-2015 and there had to a be a minimum of seven transactions over this period.

‘Northumberland Street meets that criteria with an average house price of over £1.3m. There is always research being done on expensive streets. We make clear that it has to be a minimum of seven transactions in five years.

‘We get data from the Registrar of Scotland. I don’t know what estate agents have  said but there will be one or two streets with more expensive sales but they would not meet our criteria.’

The average UK house price in 2015 was £197,000 but the number of homes in Scotland sold for more than £1m has more than doubled over the last 12 months. The capital boasts 13 of the 20 most expensive streets, Aberdeen have four and Glasgow have two.

 

West Lothian welcome Small Business Saturday

West Lothian Council are encouraging residents to spend their money locally tomorrow as part of a campaign to support independent retailers.

Small Business Saturday is a UK non-commercial campaign which aims to promote local businesses and encourage shoppers to spend their money on the first Saturday in December.

The Council hope that the focus on independent firms will benefit business owners in the town centres of Armadale, Bathgate, Broxburn and Uphall, as well as Linlithgow and Whitburn.

Stuart McKinnon, Senior Public Affairs Advisor for the Federation of Small Business in Scotland said: “We know that independent businesses are part of the recipe for success in Scottish towns and communities.

“Especially in rural and remote Scotland, small firms create jobs and opportunities.

“Small Business Saturday is an opportunity for local people to support local business with the pounds in their pockets.”

Harry Ferguson, owner of Broxburn Bargain Centre welcomes the imitative, but said that his business is consistently supported by the community. He said: “Truthfully I don’t know much about Small Business Saturday, we’ve got an MP coming to fill us in about it but anything to support small independent business is a great idea.

“We need all the help we can get in this day and age. We have been here for 65 years so we have a lot of repeat customers.

“They look in the big retailers and they come back to us.”

Small Business Saturday will coincide with other events taking place across West Lothian that highlight independent, local businesses and their place in the community.

Whitburn’s Christmas Cracker event will be held at the Community Education Centre on Manse Road. It will include events for children and a festive market for gifts, food and drink. There will be a Santa Parade making its way to Whitburn Cross and the Civic Space for the Christmas lights finale.

Broxburn and Uphall’s Advent Fayre will take place this Saturday. There will be a Santa’s Grotto and market followed by the switching on of the Christmas lights at Broxburn Library.

Executive councillor for development and transport, Cathy Muldoon, said: “West Lothian is home to a number of truly unique and traditional towns and villages, many of which host a wide variety of small, high quality, specialist retailers, business services and stores.

“Small Business Saturday on 5 December is the perfect opportunity for local residents to show their support for such firms, which play a vital role in their communities and ensure our town and village centres remain vibrant places to visit, shop, work, live and be entertained in.

“The small boutiques and shops in West Lothian can lend a helping hand when it comes to picking that perfect unique gift for someone special, whilst local butchers and delicatessens can help create a great tasting, traditional Christmas lunch or dinner, as well as providing tasty nibbles and treats throughout those long, cold and wintry months.”

Last year’s Small Business Saturday saw 16.5 million people shop locally, spending a total of £504 million.

 

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Yaz Duncan

A Transgender Day of Remembrance event will take place in Glasgow tomorrow to commemorate those who have lost their lives due to hate motivated violence.

The event will be held at the University of Strathclyde Student Association and is being organised by the LGBTQI+ societies of Strathclyde University, Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Glasgow.

One of the organisers of the event, Leonie Siebert, said: “There is still a huge amount of transphobia and hate trans people face every day.

“This is often overlooked and ignored in the media, and paying our respects to the trans people who lost their lives during the past year also gives them the recognition they deserve.

“Their deaths, most of which are a product a culture that did not recognise them as the gender they were, need to be remembered – but also, they show that there is still a long way to go for society in the recognition and acceptance of trans people.”

According to Transgender Europe, in 2015 alone there have been 80 reported murders of trans and gender diverse people globally.

The event is inviting people who identify as transgender or who are questioning their gender identity to speak at the event.

Camryn Mowatt, who will be speaking at the event, said: “I think it is very important to remember and reflect on the people who have lost their lives because of their gender status, either through being attacked or feeling that there is no option but to take their own lives.

“It is a day of remembrance but also a celebration of people’s lives and what we can achieve by working together.”

Kay Logan, who is trans, has also volunteered to speak. She said: “I think event like this are important because people need to be made aware that trans people still suffer at the hands of their families and communities.”

A study by Transgender Alliance found that over 37 per cent of transgender people have experienced physical threat while 19 per cent have been assaulted for being transgender.

Although everyone is welcome, the organisers have asked that only people who identify as transgender speak at the event.

Organiser Leonie Siebert said: “People at this event are encouraged to listen and reflect on these experiences, with the final aim to get a better understanding of what it is like to identify as trans and to live within a very transphobic society.”

The Transgender Day of Remembrance movement started after transgender advocate, Gwendolyn Ann Smith held a vigil to honour murdered trans woman Rita Hester in 1998.

Cat Smith MP, Labour’s shadow Women’s and Equality Minister said: “Transgender day of Remembrance reminds us all of the huge challenges and discrimination that trans people face in their day to day lives.

“Recent cases in the criminal justice system show how far we still need to go.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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