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Everything posted by Ignorantbliss

  1. https://www.scottishhousingnews.com/article/almost-50-homes-approved-for-aberdeenshire-village?fbclid=IwAR0hPq4cHeLj_7Qu9wiGziJKoqNaldNLZXntarqubQjyUbeiWGWuXDroCRw Wonderful example of how councils are all too close to the builders. Note the comment “It is only a question of the detail whether the flood risk to some of the properties that have been proposed, is in fact much greater than one in 200 years". In other words, we know some of the houses are going to get flooded, we just don't know how often but ultimately we don't care so lets approve the plans anyway! Makes a complete mockery of the planning process. The estate is gloriously badly designed - plans - this being the last stage of a 99 house development. The most bemusing aspect is that about 75 of the houses can only be accessed via a single, single track road. Had the builders added one more house to the plan, they would then have been forced to add a second access road. Builder cynicism at its best. God help anyone deciding to live there. Just wish the media would report more on these really dodgy planning decisions, but as Stewart Milne is involved, fat chance of the local rag (P&J) making any fuss.
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuAXoQ0luR4 The things ex-european parliament politicians will do for money (mind you, part of me thinks this is clever marketing).
  3. What makes India's double mutant COVID variant, B.1.617 so concerning? Coronavirus: 'Double mutant' Covid variant found in India It really is turning into the year of the variant, missed reading about this one until now.
  4. I await with no surprise for an application soon for some "executive flats" to replace the John Lewis store.. It's a huge space, pity George Street is a tatty mess these days. The closure has inspired a online petition - Save our Aberdeen John Lewis Store - so it's hit the nerve for some people. Taking a wider view, I do wonder if Aberdeen has been one of the worst hit places for loss of retail space/"prestige" shopping thanks to the pandemic. A downsizing or closure of M&S would just put the cherry on the cake there. If our family is anything to go by, the days of Aberdeen being the place to go for retail therapy from the likes of Elgin and Inverness are now gone. Relatives we have there used to come through for the day to go to the likes of John Lewis. Speaking to them last night, they plan now to head off down to Edinburgh and Glasgow instead, either for a day trip or a weekend mini-holiday. The day trip option is feasible these days with the A9 being upgraded at the moment to dual carriageway. That will hopefully remove that summer motoring delight of sitting behind a caravan at 40 mph for mile after mile after mile....
  5. The above summarised another way below - frightening really that 88.3% of the job losses has been from the 18-35 year group. Explains a lot about house prices as that group were hard pressed to buy even before Covid. Ironic that the age group least affected by the disease medically are the ones likely to be most affected financially. https://mobile.twitter.com/lewis_goodall/status/1374307527022764036
  6. And to think the Conservative Party consider the NE as one of their bastions where they hope to increase their representation! They've kicked the fishing and farming industry in the teeth so far this year, so let's go for the hat-trick and add the oil industry.🤪 All this just weeks from the elections, what a gift for the SNP. They'll no doubt backtrack as ever but the damage is already done by even allowing the story to appear in the first place. And it's all completely unnecessary. If they allow the market to decide, there would be minimal exploration anyway as there are much more profitable exploration plays in the world for oil companies. Good news though for those wanting house prices to continue dropping in the area.
  7. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-56352692 Nothing surprising in that but the comments section is eye opening, and I thought Twitter was bad.
  8. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56319623 If this is reflected in other O&G related companies, makes moving to further out locations like Keith and Brechin more viable. So, will prices continue to cool in the immediate area of Aberdeen but now rise in the outer areas as people take advantage of the more affordable housing?
  9. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10219023112712283&set=gm.3900871329978800 Not been in that part of Aberdeen for a while so good to see this building from another perspective. Going by the comments a lot of people actually like this architecture so there is beauty there in the eyes of others.
  10. Some more articles on the NE Scotland economy. Whopping increases in unemployment claims for the area but I wonder if its underreporting the unemployment situation considering how many of those benefits are means tested. https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/301924/economic-fallout-in-aberdeen-laid-bare/ https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/293491/scottish-government-budget-oil-aberdeen/
  11. https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/mon-done-aberdeen-commercial-property-market-continues-to-grow-firm-says/ Brent Oil has jumped $10 in the last month (now $65.90 at time of writing)so back to pre-Covid levels. If nothing else this will boost the morale of what's left of the industry. Meanwhile, the Aberdeen building boom continues, let's add another 213 new houses to the tally. https://www.scottishhousingnews.com/article/aberdeen-details-plans-for-more-than-200-homes-at-former-school-site
  12. Diversification of the Aberdeen economy - https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/filming-for-hollywood-movie-tetris-begins-in-aberdeen/ Not so sure its a compliment that the Zoology building and Tillydrone in general can portray 80s Russia with minimal work! And another building conversion to flats - this time the old Mariner Hotel. Another overdevelopment, squeezing 12 properties into that small space. https://www.scottishhousingnews.com/article/mariner-hotel-housing-plans-approved-by-aberdeen-councillors
  13. I would love to know just how many houses and flats in total are now in the process of being built within a 20 mile radius of Aberdeen as large developments like this keep getting announced every few weeks. The builders optimism is verging on hubris though when you read stories like this about the Aberdeen economy. https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/2887282/people-are-grasping-at-straws-torry-bread-maker-cites-difficult-aberdeen-job-market-as-hundreds-apply-for-shop-assistant-vacancy/
  14. Another 250 flats for the city centre, with the added background hum of the railway station to add to the ambiance. https://www.scottishhousingnews.com/article/cater-group-outlines-redevelopment-plan-for-aberdeen-s-atholl-house
  15. Latest puff piece from Aberdeen Journals on housing. Article below is based on this report - https://www.aspc.co.uk/media/2035/fourth-quarter-2020.pdf Aberdeen property market ‘buoyant’ despite continued challenges https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/positive-movements-in-north-east-property-market-in-fourth-quarter-of-2020-aspc/ Shell and BP announced this week that the North Sea will remain core areas for them so good news you would think. The effect though is more nuanced in terms of jobs etc as well put in this article - looks like the focus is on them being cash cows with little new development. May be better in long term for the North Sea if they pulled out altogether and allowed in more ambitious players. https://www.heraldscotland.com/business_hq/19062925.oil-giants-set-invest-north-sea-projects/
  16. What is fascinating is that large, poor quality housing estates with miniscule gardens are still being put forward for planning permission - here's a good example well outside Aberdeen - link. Naively thought the builders would realise that those houses that are selling quickly are those with decent sized gardens and rooms. Thus they should cater for that market accordingly, but as ever greed rules.
  17. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-55766510 In some ways it does make more sense to have it there rather than out at Westhill. The cynic in me thinks it will all depend on whether or not they get to build houses instead on the stadium land out at Kingsford! Meanwhile, the view of one real estate adviser is that the Aberdeen office market ended on a high... https://www.scottishconstructionnow.com/article/cbre-encouraging-end-to-2020-for-aberdeen-office-market That high perhaps is the fact that "office supply sits at 2.6m ft, an increase of 7.61% against the year-on-year figure".
  18. See the clowncil has a new marketing video for the city, interesting to note an emphasis on lots of new council and private housing. The Kojak take on the city is one to savour as well...
  19. Cold War Steve got this up quick... https://twitter.com/Coldwar_Steve/status/1346921815080366081
  20. A filler article in today's Evening Express summarising how demolition work is proving lucrative in Aberdeen. https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/more-than-a-dozen-aberdeen-office-blocks-marked-for-demolition-in-2020/ More than a dozen Aberdeen office blocks marked for demolition in 2020 Fifteen office blocks were marked for demolition last year in Aberdeen – compared with only nine in 2019. There is an abundance of office space available across the Granite City, with a number of office and retail space planned for demolition due to disuse. Some units, such as Police Scotland’s headquarters and McKay’s on Queen Street, are being knocked down as part of wider plans. Both buildings will serve as part of Aberdeen City Council’s City Centre Masterplan, turning Queen Street into a civic quarter. The Carden Place building that housed Valentino’s bar and restaurant – formerly Dizzy’s – as well as Lefevre Litigation has also recently been demolished, after it was destroyed last year following a fire. Meanwhile, Greyfriars House on Gallowgate also begun to be knocked down in November, as plans to build flats on the former home to the Department For Work and Pensions office was approved earlier this year. Other buildings marked for demolition this year included the KMD Business and Conference Centre on Wellington Circle, an office complex on the corner of Wellheads Place and Wellheads Crescent and City Gate on Altens Farm Road. Trafalgar House on Hareness Road was also put forward for demolition, as well as three commercial buildings on Canal Road, and Loirston House at Wellington Road. Other sites planned to go this year included Schlumberger Oilfield’s Woodlands Drive site, and the former AM Phillip Truck and Van site on Auchmill Road, as well as Aberdeen Blast Cleaning Services on Hillview Road in Tullos, Tyseal Base on Craigshaw Crescent and Alba Gate on Stoneywood Park, which was only planned to be partially demolished to make way for new residential plans. Councillor Alex Nicoll, who represents the Kincorth/Nigg/Cove area where a number of the sites demolished fall, has called for more support for the oil and gas sector, who typically have taken up office buildings in the area. He said: “There are a growing number of brownfield sites appearing in the area. The demolition of buildings is I am sure a sound business decision to limit cost and expense. I think the reason is fairly straightforward “Many respectable independent commentators have said Aberdeen and the north-east will be the worst affected area from the disastrous situation of Brexit and the energy sector downturn. In addition we now also have Covid. “Quite simply companies are being faced with costs and overheads that can be mitigated by demolition.” In the last quarter, commercial real estate firm CBRE said office take-up in Aberdeen totalled 81,723 sq ft, a drop of 33% on the same period in 2019. It also said that four of the largest transactions in the city were for office space in Dyce, with TAC Healthcare purchasing Wood’s former Wellheads Crescent office, energy services company Expro acquiring Kirkhill House and drilling waste specialist TWMA and subsea contractor Ocean Installer both moving into Aberdeen International Business Park. It was an improvement in the second quarter of the year, where a drop of 69% was recorded in the take up of office space in Aberdeen. In recent months, take up has been said to be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the effect on the oil price. Last year, a number of office blocks were also deemed to be unnecessary, including one on Minto Drive, office units at Kirkhill Business Park in Dyce, a business centre at the Cammack Business Centre on Greenbank Road, the Medical Sociology Research Unit on Westburn Road, a disused office at Fleming Buildbase on Silverburn Place, the former council building and works depot on School Road and units at Souter Head Road in Altens. The most notable demolitions, however, included the former Baker Hughes office on Claymore Drive and the former AECC arena building.
  21. Interesting article in the P&J today - https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/scotland/2772649/house-prices-inverness-and-aberdeen-among-2020s-biggest-winners-and-losers/ A large discrepancy on house prices has opened up in the north, with Inverness declared the winner – and Aberdeen the loser. Bank Of Scotland has released new data regarding how the country’s property market fared over 2020, amid a year where trends were “hard to predict”. In the 12 months to October, Inverness was Scotland’s best-faring city when it came to the market. The average house price increased by close to £15,000, or 8.1% over the period, taking it to £195,500. The bank’s figures show this rise was roughly in line with a general growth in wages for Inverness workers. Pay packets also grew by 8% in the city over the year, taking the average wage to £32,000. At the same time, however, Aberdeen was the worst-performing city when it came to house prices. Over the year they decreased by 1.4%, with the average cost of a home dropping almost £3,000 to £200,800. This also correlated roughly with average wages in the city, with the effects of the pandemic causing them to stagnate. No growth was recorded, with the typical Granite City worker taking home a £30,500 salary in 2020. The figures mean the average property in Aberdeen will now set buyers back around seven times the average wage. A similar picture has emerged in Inverurie, in Aberdeenshire, where prices fell 2.7% over the last year. Homes there currently cost an average of £231,600 – down from the £238,000 recorded in 2019 Graham Blair, Bank Of Scotland mortgages director, said: “Like many things about 2020, it would have been hard to predict where we’d see the biggest changes in average house prices in Scotland. “In Scotland’s biggest cities, we’ve seen prices cool slightly up north in Aberdeen in contrast to Inverness.” Earlier this year property firm Savills reported a 74% boost in north-east property sales following a lockdown slump. While house prices in the Aberdeen area have decreased in the last year, the estate agent said a “surge” in buyer demand has led to many properties receiving multiple bids, including “offers over premiums”. Because of the large number of houses on the market, it said prices were unable to experience any “meaningful” growth in the short-term. Nationally, the Bank Of Scotland figures showed the seaside town of Ayr had the largest average rise in house prices. They rose by more than 15% over the last year to £178,000. It was followed by Dumfries, Kirkcaldy, Coatbridge and Inverness. At the other end of the table, Livingston experienced the biggest drop, at 8.1%.
  22. Anecdotally I've been surprised at the level of house sales in West Aberdeenshire recent which have still to appear in the figures. Had eye on two 3 bed houses (both around £250k) that appeared on the market at the start of December - planned to view them before the Level 4 restrictions but when phoned for viewings was told both were already SSTC (though still appearing on ASPC as for sale). Local car dealers don't seem to be in that much stress, had to get a new (used) car recently and the local ones were as arrogant and expensive as usual so that trade went to Dundee.
  23. Seems to be a lot of turmoil with the small energy providers. I'm with Powershop, but not for much longer as they are no longer accepting new customers and existing customers got an email last week telling us that going forward we would be supplied by E.ON Next. So gone under in all but name and minus all the media reporting. "We wanted to let you know that PS Energy UK Limited, which includes Powershop, is now part of the E.ON group. This means all of our existing customers will, in time, be supplied by E.ON Next."
  24. In essence the stamp duty holiday is already finished going by how long sales are taking to get to completion. Friend of ours sold (SSTC) a inherited property in Mid September to a cash buyer (property in Scotland). They are still waiting on the sale to complete due to Covid related delays in all areas of the process (land register/WFH/furloughed staff) - latest estimate is end of December! And this should be the quickest type of sale to process. Based on this experience, a buyer now is going to be lucky to complete by the end of March, especially with the Christmas/New Year period coming up.
  25. https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/whats-covid-taught-us-lots-23038832 Darren McGarvey takes a closer look at the lockdown lessons we should have learnt since March. As lockdown looms tomorrow, today may be an appropriate time to reflect on the lessons of the year so far. Since March, we have each had to swallow some harsh truths about ourselves and, more importantly, the fundamental nature British society. While there has be no shortage of optimistic rhetoric about “building back better”, the sad fact remains that the social and economic trends before the onset of pandemic were already headed south. The Covid-19 crisis merely accelerated a process which was already well under way – the political, social and economic decline of “Great” Britain. While the ominous cloud of Coronavirus continues to lord over us all, casting it’s unending shadow over our lives and livelihoods, the true character of British society has been laid so utterly bare that, in the years to come, it may prove to have been the silver lining. So, what have we learned? Well, we learned (despite the protestations of boomers everywhere) that class remains the primary dividing line in society. This was evidenced early in the crisis when half the country moved onto Zoom, while the other half brought them food, alcohol, sex-toys and bread-makers. We also learned the state-interventions (previously portrayed by free-market extremists as illiberal inefficiencies that would lead to a socialist dystopia) are actually Ok – as long as they are targeted disproportionately at the livelihoods of economically viable, politically lucrative, over-mortgaged sections of the population, whose “stay-cations”, credit cards, gas-guzzling cars and gym-memberships must be covered at all costs. We learned that after a decade of austerity (which left tens-of-thousands destitute, homeless, hungry or dead, that the “magic money tree” we were told didn’t exist is not only real, but has also blossomed so prolifically that the state was able to fork out millions providing discount Nandos (the Tenerife of al fresco dining) over the summer. We also learned that “community” and “looking after your neighbour’ are actually important principles and that when politicians use their public platforms to remind us that it’s ok to regard ourselves as more than rats in a race, the national mood can shift quite dramatically from mean-spiritedness and distrust, to compassion, empathy and solidarity. We have learned that any crisis which may befall the middle and upper classes will be rapidly escalated to the status of a public health emergency within days, but that drugs-deaths, rough-sleeping and child poverty, interlocking epidemics spanning decades, still don’t qualify for this special designation. We learned that governments ‘follow the science’ when it is politically convenient – like when millions of prospective voters find themselves prey to a microscopic foe they know little about – but that leaders actively ignore and dismiss the science when it comes to issues that affect the vulnerable, like drug-addiction and poverty-induced child neglect and abuse. When all of this is over and the cloud vanishes beneath the horizon-line, the time will come to put what we have learned into practice. I want to know why it is ok to borrow billions to fund free-lunches for the middle classes, but it’s not OK to run up a tab building rehabs, schools and social-housing. I want to know why frugal, fiscally-conservative tax-payers (paragons of wisdom that they are), are ok with receiving generous handouts when adversity strikes them, but would aggressively deny the same dignity to the disabled, the elderly and the mentally and emotionally traumatised. And if you are not angry right now, or you do not see the problem here, then I want to know how the hell you sleep at night. Like a baby, no doubt.
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