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Ben Madigan

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Posts posted by Ben Madigan

  1. I just noticed there, BT13 appears to pretty much cover Shankill.

    Considering that my fiancee is a Catholic, does that make BT13 a no-go area?

    It also covers Clonard, so not necessarily... but why buy anywhere in BT13 if you can rent elsewhere?

    Actually, the world has changed a bit even in North and West Belfast, and if you if you are an English fella married to a local Catholic girl, most people in the Shankill end of BT13 would welcome you as decent neighbours long before they would welcome a 'local', Protestant, BT13 person who happened to drug-dealing scummer.

    In BT13, for starters you have Clonard and bits of the Lower Falls (very poor and Catholic), the Shankill and most Woodvale (very poor and Protestant): in all these areas you would be a bit unusual. But I would guess the reaction to you on either side of the peaceline would be like you could expect from my relations in Clonard: you seem to be decent people, decent neighbours and you're actually a bit posh and therefore your kids aren't going to be a problem, either. So, in that case, welcome.

    But why hunt in the marginal parts of North/West Belfast at the fag end of a dying property boom? There are some very nice areas on this side of the City, but also some places you WOULD NOT want to live in.

    In BT13, you also have the better parts of the Shankill - along the Ballygomartin Road and, less salubrious but equally respectable in placeslike Dhu Varren. The old properties on the Ballygomartin and the newer housing estates about Lyndhurst would be fine. In BT14, the same would apply in the better bits of the Upper Crumlin Road (more or less mixed), the better bits of Ballysillan (Protestant although not ghettoes, but be careful not to buy estate agent buellsh1t), and the Cliftonville Road (Catholic - really very nice at the top end, genuinely prime 'pioneer' country at the lower end). But as regards Hesketh Park - I wouldn't live there as a mixed marriage with no local roots. That's tough country. Really, tough country - which is, I would guess, why it's cheap.

    Some have recommended BT15 to you. I have lived here all my life - except for a few years in London - and no Belfast postcode runs the social and religious gamut like here.

    On the Catholic side, the New Lodge is seen as a hard-core Catholic ghetto, but isn't as bad as people make out. If you and your children seem to be 'good people', people in the New Lodge won't care too much where you're from or what religion you are. The sane applies to much of the Lower Antrim Road area, which is sold as being the poor man's Malone Road, but really isn't any different from the New Lodge. Sadly, the reality is that the Lower Antrim Road areas have the same crime rate with less community spirit.

    On the Protestant side, there are places you wouldn't want to live in, no matter how much the housing authorities paid you, like Tiger's Bay or Mount Vernon. On the other hand are places like Seaview and York Crescent where your multi-national mixed-marriage would not go amiss except to compliment your children on their good behaviour.

    And finally, there is the relatively wealthy, middle-class enclave from Dunlambert at the bottom of Fortwilliam Park up to the Upper Cavehill Road and beyond the Castle. Prices might still be too high here but rents are reasonable and it's a very nice place to spend a few years waiting for the bubble to burst. It's where we rent. It is leafy, there is plenty for kids to do, and is the perfect place for renters to wait for prices to come down. And no-one cares where you're from or what religion you are.

    Or, at least, we think so. That's why we're renting here, waiting for sanity to return.

  2. Iceland for example has not put interest rates to 18% out of choice. Choosing not to take rates higher will lead to a complete break down of the currency system involved.

    Iceland has to pay for petrol and food but not for most other energey cost due to both stupendous positioning and (different question) stupendous exploitation vs. the Mid-Atlantic Rift.

    The UK needs to pay for all energy and most food in foreign currency and with oil prices back below US$40/barrel there will be no sense in tapping the more difficult North Sea veins.

    The UK is in trouble, and Northern Ireland is a backwoods, subsidy-addled economic colony of the UK whose only other economic support (the Republic) is also in a poor state, I'd guess people aren't going to pay us for not shooting one another after all...

  3. Basically, there is no point having rates on the floor to try and stop debtors going under if you find that the demolition of the currency means that people still cannot pay their bills because of the level that food and utilities have risen to.

    The UK (and Ireland) produces a small proportion of its own food and none of its own energy.

    Getting Welsh coal mines out of mothballs takes time, and so does getting English consumers used to Co. Tyrone barley bread (hey, it's nutritious! Jamie Oliver will love it!). UK interest rates can't stay too low for too long in that context.

    Me and Mr. Ben's gay Christmas bum fun weekend in Donegal was gorgeous in the cold winter Sun but severely curtailed by the price of a Mars bar costing more than a month's shop rent in Victoria Square. The same imbalances will apply to the UK economy and they will be with places more critical to the world economy than Dunfanaghy.

    It is currently cheaper to fill up in Strabane than Ballybofey, despite Sterling's collaps. How long will that last when the futures contracts run out? :angry:

  4. townhouses/apartments which have been built on the Annadale Embankment - I think O'Connor was the main EA for them.

    One of my work colleagues who has lived in the Upper Ormeau Road area for many years - )and why not? it's a nice part of town and extremely convenient) - went to look at them after their Belfast Tele splurge. He said they were poorly constructed, and one could hear the few neighbours farting through the crappy plywood walls.

    If you aren't sniffy about Cregagh, there are plenty of extremely well constructed '50s semis in that area, many of which have been nicely upgraded since.

    Or have you thought about moving over here to North Belfast? It isn't all riots and drug dealers. And further afield, Newtownards and Jordanstown are also well worth a look. From the latter, the commute is quite reasonable as the Carrick commuters get caught in the Greenisland single lane trap.

    What's the purpose of that stupid single lane stretch of the A2 at Greenisland? Why darling, to help people in Jordanstown and Fortwilliam get to work quicker!

  5. Could any history experts specializing in Jewish Germans in the 1930s confirm whether any of the following are true....?

    Natürlich - obwohl Ich mit der Geschichte der Nachkriegsdeutschland viel besser bekannt bin.

    - a large proportion of them detested their host nation and wanted it's legal, religious and political frameworks changed to suit their own alien frameworks.

    Absoluter Schwachsinn!! Most German Jews could conceive of no other home. Those who emigrated to France, Britain or America spent their time pining for their German home. Invaluable damage was done to German culture through the extiripation of German talent - Jewish and gentile - through the enforced prostitution to Holywood by the Nazis of German musical talent like Korngold and Hindemith. German Jews like Viktor Klemperer sufferes simply because they were Jews who could not conceive of a German state that could be im Grundprinip kontrasemitisch.

    - a hugely disproportionate amount of them were involved in crime, from violent gun and gang incidents, to organised heroin, cocaine, and other illegal substance dealing, smuggling and distribution, prostitution, car-jacking, mugging, etc.

    Du schaust Dir wahrscheinlich Filme wie "Jüd Süss" ernst an. Absolute gibberish. How many of the drug dealers in modern Britain are Jewish?

    - did some of them carried out terrorist attacks on their host nation's civilian population, including suicide bombing?

    Which attacks, on which dates? I know of no evidence.

    - did an industry spring up in Germany in the 1930s specializing in winning unimaginable sums of money for any of them moaning that they were stuck at their current level at work because they were unfairly discriminated against?

    It sprung up in the midst of Nazi rule in the 1930s? Seriously? Evidence?

    Sounds like you've been watching too many 'non-anti-Semitic' BNP propaganda videos. Not that they're anti-Semitic. Or racist. At all. Of course. They just want to protect people from 'Cosmopolitan Intenational Finance'. Of course.

    - over a brief period, was Germany changed from a homogenous society to a fractured "multi-cultural" one, with the indigenous population constantly told that their culture that was the "wrong" one?

    Evidence? Which immigration flows. When?

    If the woolly liberals are going to start comparing the British people to the Germans of the 1930s, then lets have a proper comparison.

    Definitely. Let's start citing evidence. You know, place, dates, source material?

  6. FFS :( When is this all going to end ? I am starting to get convinced that the entire economy of the western world was built on a pyramid of credit and this is now toppling. I only earn 35K, lone earner in the house, have a mortgage of 90K but still have saved 12K in the past two years. Dont owe anything but the mortgage. I did this by driving a 10 year old second hand car and buying goods like a sofa by saving for months. Looks like common sense has gone out of the window when it comes to financial prudence.

    I earn slightly more money than you - probably in a lower income regional economy than you - similar savings, no mortgage (I rent), drive a better car but also bought it for cash, probably as a result of having no mortgage.

    Other than the job, about which none of us can predict what will happen - although I'd guess I'm sorted with the job, but might need to take a pay cut to ensure it - don't see the big difference between be and you.

    But I don't see what the problem is...

    If the world economy is seriously, armageddon-style farqqued, then you are too but no more than the rest of us.

    If it isn't, you have significantly better income and lower debt than most people.

    And even if it is, then you seem to be smarter and better skilled than the average bear, and if we are really living in Armageddon, that's all that will matter.

    You need to relax, dude. If the sh1t really hits the fan, we are all in trouble, but you are better resourced to deal with it. And if it doesn't - 90k mortgage for feck's sake - then, RELAX!!!

  7. No, Tesco have been doing sale and leaseback deals. Judging by the amount of non-food stock with TSL (Tesco Stores Ltd) printed in the sides of the boxes doing the rounds does not suggest they are sorted. Sainsburys seem to be doing okay from what I hear. Waitrose definitely suffering, M&S food even more so.

    Apologies if I have been extrapolating what I know of Tesco NI to the rest of the UK without evidence.

    I am genuinely surprised to hear Sainsbury's are doing OK. They seem to be caught between two stool here - overpriced product, mid-market image, budget product and in deep trouble generally.

  8. >>Sandy Row is home to a loyalist memorabilia shop which sells Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and Ulster Volunteer Force paraphernalia>>


    I am duly trumped.

    And many of the luxury UK slaveboxes in North and West Belfast built since 2005 are in places that make Sandy Row look like the site of an ecumenical shrine pilgrimage...

    I mean, 'luxury aparments' on Carlisle Circus? I grew up round there, and most of the family is still pretty nearby, and what the farque where they trying to do? Let them out to foreign journalists so they could film ethnic cleansing and drug wars from the comfort of their own balcony?

  9. Jews were encouraged to boycott any German made goods in the shops and this in turn turned the Nazis against the Jews.

    Another gross inaccuracy, propagated by another anti-semitic f4ckw1t ruining an otherwise great forum. Too many assimilated German Jews believed that the Nazis were just a bunch of extremist cowboys who would be well brought to heel when the German ruling class reasserted itself and paid with their lives as a result. Read Viktor Klemperer's incredibly moving diaries for a summary of the fate of assimilated German Jews who wouldn't read the warning signs.

  10. interesting post ben

    there is movement down here but on the big ones still not a lot

    That's what I was thinking here in the 'neece' parts of BT15 three months ago. But in the past month, there has been a big jump down in the best Upper Antrim Road/Cavehill properties, especially 'keen to sell' ones. We were only following where West Belfast, Carrick and Newtownabbey led, and in their turn Lisburn, Ards, BT8, East Belfast and eventually the super-expensive BT7/9 and North Down pockets will follow.

    If you don't mind being stuck on a dual carraigeway for an hour a day, why buy a house in Bangor when an indentical one in Lisburn will sell for a lot less?

    And if you want to live near Belfast City Centre, why buy an overpriced house on the Malone Road or in Knock when an identical house in Cavehill sells for half the price?

    Money is tight. On hundreds of such individual decisions is a property crash built.

  11. Not sure about the Cope big stores, but in Belfast they have 'Metro' stores with a difference - they are all in deprived areas, they price keenly and they are always bunged. Increasingly with people from 'up the road' in search of bargains to offset their supersized mortgages. Think they have a depression business model sorted already.

    Tesco will adapt to changing circumstances unless they are really stupid. They already have a completely different business model for their mega warehouses in 'North City' (inner city, one of the poorest areas in Western Europe), and Abbeycentre (suburban, mixed income, with some very high income), 3 miles apart. I can get a decent cheese range in the latter, and a superb range of cheap own-brand frozen stuff in the former, but neither in both. It's the same story across the UK. They own most of their sites outright and are sorted unless they have a mega collective brain fart.

    Sainsbury's have delusions of grandeur combined with an inferior product range. They are already doing poorly and I actually think they are more vulnerable than M&S and Waitrose. The lattter had enough sense not to buy into the economic basket case that is Northern Ireland, even with cross-border trade - although John Lewis is begging for a site near the motorway in Lisburn to capitalise on rich Southerners seeking Northern bargains. Most of them are about to go tits up along with the the lunatic Southern Irish property market that made them.

    ALDI and Lidl have the German 'plan for doomsday' mentality built in and should do well in the bust. I do a lot of my shopping in Lidl and already see a lot of punters there who wouldn't have been seen dead their six months ago. You also see a lot more people in suits and ties in Asda of six o'clock on a weekday evening than would have been seen there in the past. I'm not convinced that WalMart are in trouble in the UK - their stores are less visibly shoddy than ALDI or Lidl but not especially more expensive. For WalMart worldwide, a lot depends on the Yuan's appreciation and the Chinese gov't's reaction to it, given the degree to which their supply lines lie in China.

    I don't buy into the idea that China is going to be a big winner from the global economic crisis, given the amount of poorly secured credit extended in China and the degree to which China depends on exports to the USA.

  12. The recession may be the last opportunity to mobilise cross-party opposition to further inappropriate development.

    Northern Ireland is a parallel political universe, of course, but I don't see any prospect of any political opposition to this unless the public get off their arses and make this a serious political issue.

    As I see it, the Northern Ireland parties reaction to the gutting of Victorian and Edwardian suburbs in Belfast and Derry is:

    SDLP and UUP: cities, what are they? No-one votes for us in cities any more! As long as we make sure we gut rural planning guidelines to make sure our many smallholder famer supporters can carve out acre sites from their land to sell to developers so we can buy our son up at Uni in Belfast a wee coupé to get to lectures in, we don't really give a toss. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy, which means farmers have to sell their land to developers for six figure sums to build ugly, plywood-frame bungalows that nobody wants to buy. Where is my Euro grant for not farming my land?

    Sinn Féin: we are the party of the humble Irish peasant. After centuries of oppression by the British, it is a basic human right of farmers to sell acre lots to developers to build plywood-framed sh1te on. We are also the true socialist party of the urban poor, which means we must support building flats in middle-class suburbia so that they can be stocked with social housing tenants for buttons when the property market collapses, even though Housing Associations won't touch them because they don't meet minimum standards for social housing. Tiocfadh ar lá! PS - it's all the fault of the Brits.

    Alliance: we are the party of people who live in detached houses in nice Victorian suburbs, but we are also the party of the environment. Replacing detatched houses with flats will ipso facto create wonderful public transport networks along which people cycle to their cross-community farmers' market to buy organic goats cheese with their babies strapped on to their back in a papoose, which is a Native American term, you know. Also, lots of old people want to downsize to a nice apartment made of plywood sh1te.

    DUP: hello, Mr. Developer, nice to see another fat brown envelope. Which Planning Policy Statement would you like us to rewrite this week? And can I stick my granny in a flat in Windy Towers off-plan at a 73.6% discount?

    I appreciate this might all seem strange and foreign to someone in Great Britan, but all your own parties have their own VIs deflecting them from a rethink of urban planning policy. All the NI parties have representatives in suburban areas opposed to the party line and supporting a rethink (well, most of them) but the central party line is uniformly awful, often for different reasons. Unless the people living in old suburbia make this a serious political issue, it won't become one, on either side of the Irish Sea.

  13. Historically this country has been safe and peaceful compared to the rest of mainland Europe.

    Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. One should not have to make this point on hpc.co.uk!

    Historically, this country made stuff that other people wanted or needed. Now, nobody wants financial services managed by people schooled in the era of endless fiscal expansion and the bits of the economy that make stuff people want have been screwed over for 25 years by a fiscal policy set to suit the financial services industry.

  14. Estate Agent NI - it must have been incredibly frustrating to see your profession - and possibly well considered, carefully and sensibly calculated business plans - gutted by a bunch of fly-by-night gombeens with little sense of what they were doing to their own well-being in the long term. As a renter, I've dealt with four different estate agents: two cowboys, and two excellent, professional, agencies who successfully balanced their interests in getting the best deal for both letters and renters. One of the latter is in London and has benefitted from a number of referrals from me when friends have been moving across the water. Being sane and professional brings its own reward in terms of increased business, especially repeat business, over a professional lifetime. I hope that you are one of the estate agents whose professionalism enables them to survive the great bust and benefit in the long term.

    As far as high-value detached property goes, there is now real and significant movement here in North Belfast. Those who need to sell quickly are selling at 30-50% below peak and the market is still falling. As for the unrealistic - sure, there are 3 up 2 down terraces in the New Lodge still on the market for 180k; but there are also 3 up 2 down semis on the Upper Antrim Road on the market for 190k and no sane person is going to buy a house in the New Lodge for 10k less than they could buy an identical house on the Somerton Road.

    North Belfast is in the low-middle section of Greater Belfast property - more expensive for like-for-like properties than Carrick, West Belfast and marginally Newtownabbey but still vastly cheaper than S/E Belfast and North Down. Property in the genuinely middle-class parts of West Belfast - the like of Lower Andersonstown, Glengoland, LaSalle, etc. - is in full collpase and middle-class Carrick with its countless ugly trophy mansions is not far behind. We are following in their slipstream, and I would guess the next place to go will be Lisburn.

    Lisburn, the most boringly average dormitory town in the universe, is the canary in the coal mine. When property in that rather upmarket belt stretching from Wallace Park out around the Army Barracks starts going for well below peak, we will have passed the tipping point and BT9, BT4 and Bangor will follow in their slip stream. Family and social connections are a constraining factor, but who is going to buy a house on the Brunswick Road for 250k if you can buy the same house in Wallace Park for 180k? I also know of high end properties in BT9 going for 30% below peak - sure, the peak was crazy but this is allegedly 'crash immune' BT9 we are talking about.

    Personally, I do not think we will be waiting until 2010. The pound collapsed with perfect timing just at the peak of Christmas sales and cross-border trade saved the Northern Ireland economy. For a couple of months. And only the retail bit. The only people still earning reasonable money next Spring will be public sector workers; civil servants, nurses and teachers can't afford BT9, or Ballyhackamore, or Holywood and there won't be enough Doctors wanting to trade up to save the market.

    Good night property boom. It's been pretty depressing knowing you. Good riddance.

  15. One of the biggest scandals which has largely passed this site by is the theft of back gardens for infill. The Victorians deliberately set-out to build suburban-forests i.e. low density housing - large gardens with big trees. This level of housing density was exemplary - both sustainable and attractive.

    In towns and cities across the country we have seen this destroyed by greedy developers and households tearing down perfectly serviceable housing and putting-up shoddy, jerry-built, high-density flats and 'starter homes' all in the name of affordable housing. This increased density has not been matched by increased infrastructure (schools, roads, parking, public transport, surgeries, dentists etc.)

    It is a silent scandal.

    It wasn't actually all that silent. It was trumpeted as a progressive, environmentally friendly, change that would facilitate better public transport through having more people living along main transport corridors, more facilities outside town centres, lower heating and maintenance costs, etc., etc.

    The planning system, outside a few Conservation Areas, was actively biased in favour of super-dense apartment developments and even in Conservation Areas often supported the gutting of mature homes on sizeable sites in favour of much higher density developments of tiny detatched and semi-d houses.

    What astonishes me is the sheer volume of planning applications still coming in for infill, high-density, developments here in Belfast even though it is clear that the property market is Daffy Ducked - and in Belfast Daffy Ducked as nowhere else in the British Isles. I live in an Area of Townscape Character in the City of Belfast with an absolute no on apartments written in to the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan and still at least two planning applications come in a month from developers looking to build apartments here or in the even more rigidly planned Conservation Area next door. The tactic is to leave the site to rot for a few years and let the situation get so bad that the neighbours beg the planners to make an exception and allow some flats to be built to get rid of the dirty, unisghtly mess they've found themselves living next door to.

    The planning applications are still coming in even though banks are withdrawing finance and developers are going bust at a rate of knots. Dozens of new build flats and micro-houses are lying empty within a mile of here. Developments are being abandoned half-completed as the ponzi scheme collapses and there ain't no more money to be found anywhere. And still the planning applications are coming in because the planning system is still biased in favour of super-dense developments, and too many people reckon the 'blip' in the housing market will be over soon and the planning permission will be worth a lot when it is.

  16. At the height of the boom, the Crues has a developer lined up who was willing to pay £5million or thereabouts for Seaview, although the deal has obviously fallen through.

    Are you sure? They are still actively pursuing planning permission from N'abbey Council for a new ground somewhere about the top of Longlands.

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