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Coleshill house: Grandmother, 58, complains lorries on the A466 ‘shake’ her £350,000 ‘dream’ home

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A grandmother who bought a £350,000 new-build home just nine feet from a busy 70mph A-road has complained that passing lorries cause her house to ‘constantly shake’.

Jackie McCormack, 58, and her husband moved into the ‘absolutely beautiful’ detached three-bed home in Coleshill, near Birmingham, at the end of February.

They viewed the home seven times before deciding to buy, but Mrs McCormack says each visit was early on a Saturday morning before the busy A446 had ‘woken up’.

After moving in they soon realised the thundering of cars and lorries could be heard on weekdays between 5.30am and 8.30pm, while at weekends boy racers roared past at speeds of up to 100mph until the early hours.

‘It was absolutely horrendous,’ she said. ‘I know it’s a really important road but it’s impacting our mental health.’

Mrs McCormack. who works as a Follow-on Advocate for disability charity People In Partnership, says she does not blame the estate agent, but if the viewings had been at 2pm ‘we wouldn’t have touched it with a barge pole’.

Now she is campaigning for the council to install crash barriers and reduce the speed limit to 40mph so her grandson is safe to play in the garden.

Jackie McCormack (pictured in her garden), 58, moved into the 'absolutely beautiful' detached three-bed home in Coleshill, near Birmingham, at the end of February

Jackie McCormack (pictured in her garden), 58, moved into the ‘absolutely beautiful’ detached three-bed home in Coleshill, near Birmingham, at the end of February

She said she and her husband spent their first night in the house, which borders the A446 Lichfield Road, on a Friday but by the next morning the noise 'was absolutely horrendous'. Pictured, a lorry travels along the road nine feet from Mrs McCormack's garden fence

She said she and her husband spent their first night in the house, which borders the A446 Lichfield Road, on a Friday but by the next morning the noise ‘was absolutely horrendous’. Pictured, a lorry travels along the road nine feet from Mrs McCormack’s garden fence

Thundering of commuting cars and lorries could be heard weekdays between 5.30am and 8.30pm. On weekends boy racers roared past at speeds of up to 100mph until the early hours, Mrs McCormack said. Pictured, the house borders the road

Thundering of commuting cars and lorries could be heard weekdays between 5.30am and 8.30pm. On weekends boy racers roared past at speeds of up to 100mph until the early hours, Mrs McCormack said. Pictured, the house borders the road

They initially put in an offer on a four-bedroom new build on the same estate priced at £375,000, but changed their mind when a three-bed came up for £25,000 less. 

The average cost of homes in Coleshill is £233,624, according to Rightmove, although the majority are flats and terraced homes. 

Mrs McCormack and her husband, who is not named, spent their first night in the house, which borders the A446 Lichfield Road, on a Friday and by the next morning realised the extent of the problem. 

Despite setting the garden up with a goal post for her grandson, she added: ‘My garden’s a no go area and I think it always will be, unless they reduce that speed, it’s too much of a danger. 

‘I wouldn’t allow my grandson to play outside, it’s too scary. It’s the speed at which the juggernauts go past, it’s the speed of the racers, they’re doing wheelies, it’s absolutely shocking. 

‘I didn’t realise there was an injunction regarding boy racers on the A446, they don’t take any notice of it,’ she added, revealing she had not researched the area before making the move.

The A446, also known as Lichfield Road, runs to the north east of Birmingham in the West Midlands and acts as the city's main bypass, allowing traffic to move smoothly around the metropolitan

The A446, also known as Lichfield Road, runs to the north east of Birmingham in the West Midlands and acts as the city’s main bypass, allowing traffic to move smoothly around the metropolitan

Mrs McCormack wants the council to install crash barriers and reduce the speed limit to 40mph so her grandson is safe to play in the garden. Pictured, the house is circled

Mrs McCormack wants the council to install crash barriers and reduce the speed limit to 40mph so her grandson is safe to play in the garden. Pictured, the house is circled

‘The [boy racers] started at 11am on the Saturday and went right the way through to 4am on Sunday, hitting speeds of 90 – 100mph.

‘On the Monday, it started with the heavy good vehicles – my house was constantly shaking. You don’t get any respite at all, it’s relentless. It’s like living next to a motorway.

The couple now have to wear earplugs to bed and wash their windows up to four times a week because of the dust

The couple now have to wear earplugs to bed and wash their windows up to four times a week because of the dust

‘There’s lights and every now and again you get a sway of the HGV vehicles, my fence is 9ft away from the edge of the A446.’ 

The A446, also known as Lichfield Road, runs to the north east of Birmingham in the West Midlands and acts as the city’s main bypass, allowing traffic to move smoothly around the metropolitan. 

But pollution from the road is so severe Mrs McCormack says she could write her name in the dust that travels through her converter fan to settle in her en suite.

Last year the couple decided to move from their large Victorian home in Kings Heath because they dreamed of living in a detached property.  

‘We absolutely fell in love with the house,’ she said. ‘I was in a beautiful Victorian house but I thought we always wanted a detached house, and we jumped at it and I wish we could just go back.

‘[The new house] was perfect for us. It was a little bit smaller, it was closer to where my husband works at Rolls Royce in Solihull.’

The couple now have to wear earplugs to bed and wash their windows up to four times a week because of the dust.

She said: ‘The HGVs are absolutely horrendous, and the pollution that comes out of them, it’s disgraceful.

‘I’m washing my windows three or four times a week, it’s disgusting. If the pollution is going onto our windows and our cars, what are we breathing in?’  

She denied accusing the estate agent of 'duping' her, but added: 'If it had been about 2pm, we would have said "what the hell" and we wouldn't have touched it with a barge pole.' Pictured, the house during construction

She denied accusing the estate agent of ‘duping’ her, but added: ‘If it had been about 2pm, we would have said “what the hell” and we wouldn’t have touched it with a barge pole.’ Pictured, the house during construction

She is now lobbying Warwickshire County Council, which is responsible for the road, for stronger safety measures – including a 40mph limit across the 2624-foot stretch of road lined with houses.

She said: ‘I’m going to fight to the nail to get this sorted out. I’m not moving, I can’t move because nobody would buy the house. 

‘They’ve said they haven’t had any crashes in years, but I’m not prepared to take that risk. They have to reduce the speed, they have to.’

She said she ‘absolutely fell in love’ during several viewings which all took place on Saturday mornings.

‘It’s a beautiful property. But I think because it was so close to the road, no wonder they dropped it by £25,000. Anyway, we went out and had a look at it on a number of occasions, absolutely beautiful, we moved in and it all started from there.

‘I’m not saying we were duped, I think they [estate agents] should have been a little more forthcoming with the times they were allowing us to come see.

‘If it had been about 2pm, we would have said “what the hell” and we wouldn’t have touched it with a barge pole. 

‘I’m not blaming the planners [either], but how they got planning permission to build a house so close to the road, I will never know.’

Warwickshire County Council said it was aware of the problem and will consider 'very carefully' whether to recommend possible solutions. Pictured, Mrs McCormack and the road

Warwickshire County Council said it was aware of the problem and will consider ‘very carefully’ whether to recommend possible solutions. Pictured, Mrs McCormack and the road

She revealed her neighbours, who bought houses further away from the road, also feel the rumbling and cannot open their windows because of the noise and dirt.

She added: ‘My neighbour says: “Jackie, I wish I could turn back the hands of time, because I would never have bought this house”.

‘My worry is there should be a speed limit of 40mph because of the residential estate, it’s not just one house here there’s several houses going on the stretch of this road and it’s only a small stretch of the A446.’ 

Warwickshire County Council said it is aware of the problems and will consider ‘very carefully’ whether to recommend possible solutions.

A spokesperson said: ‘A meeting is currently being arranged with various stakeholders to discuss this.

‘Obviously, there is no guarantee that it will be possible to provide any measures, but we will consider the issues raised very carefully and aim to recommend possible solutions.’ 

MailOnline has contacted the estate agents for comment. 

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Bloom secures planning for London ultra-urban warehouse developments (GB)

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Bloom has secured planning consent for two developments in central London. The developments are located in Hackney and Brixton and are the first to be carried out by Bloom for its €290.4m (£250m) ultra-urban warehouse joint venture with Angelo Gordon to acquire and develop sites in central London. In Hackney, on a site by the A12 next to 331 Wick Road, Bloom will develop two units, totaling 14,045ft², designed by Michael Sparks Associates. Construction will start next month, with completion expected in April 2023. In Brixton, at 146-156 Brixton Hill and Units 5 & 6 Waterworks Road, Bloom will develop five units, totaling 35,360ft², designed by Chetwoods. Construction will start in September, with completion expected in August 2023.

 

Both developments will be targeting a BREEAM sustainability rating of ‘Excellent’ and an EPC rating of ‘A+’ in accord with Bloom’s core sustainability objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through construction and operational efficiency. The schemes will include extensive urban greening through the implementation of green walls, green roofs, increased landscaping, bird boxes, and insect hotels to significantly improve the biodiversity; renewable energy in the form of solar photovoltaic panels on the roofs; and lorry, car, and cycle EV charging points to encourage sustainable and active modes of transport as well as enhanced power capacity to accommodate future EV transport technologies.

 

Tom Davies, co-founder of Bloom, said: “Our first two planning consents represent an important milestone for the Bloom team, which is working hard to deliver high-quality and design-led industrial and logistics schemes in supply-constrained inner London sub-markets”.

 

Sam McGirr, co-founder of Bloom, said: “These planning consents for well-located sites give us the opportunity to meet the high demand for convenience and speed from businesses, such as F&B delivery, post and parcel, e-mobility, self-storage and urban logistics and consumers in the local communities”.

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Could equity release be used to help more younger homebuyers?

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Younger first-time buyers could be given more financial help from the Bank of Grandma and Grandad, through the use of improved equity release products, a new report suggests.

The document written by Tom McPhail, of consultancy The Lang Cat, claimed that younger buyers are missing out because older members of their family are unable to satisfactorily tap into their property wealth.

Mr McPhail said: ‘Releasing some of the equity in a property means older homeowners can choose when and how they share their wealth with younger generations.

‘An equity release by grandparents of say £20,000 now, could be transformational for a 20 something struggling to raise a deposit and get on the housing ladder but would make only a very modest dent to the value of the grandparent’s house.’

Releasing some of the equity in a property means older homeowners can choose when and how they share their wealth with younger generations, says new report

Releasing some of the equity in a property means older homeowners can choose when and how they share their wealth with younger generations, says new report

The report acknowledged that equity release has endured a poor reputation in the past after customers suffered ‘severe’ financial knocks.

The sector has been criticised for encouraging people to take on debt, particularly later on in life.

There has also been other concerns about equity release, such as customers falling into negative equity where the value of a property is less than the loan taken out against it when house prices fall.

The report suggested that while the equity release sector has since begun to put ‘its house in order’, it is ‘still not perfect’ and some regulatory safeguards need to be strengthened.

It called for several issues to be looked at, including early redemption charges on equity release products.

It said that most providers apply a simple sliding scale of charges, for example 10 per cent in year on to 1 per cent in year 10.

However, it claimed that some providers apply an early redemption charge based on prevailing gilt rates at that time, putting customers at an ‘unfair disadvantage’.

This is because the fees are not transparent as there is no way a customer can know in advance whether they’d be liable for a charge and if so, how much. 

In the past, customers have also fallen foul of the small print on their equity release loans when it comes to early-redemption penalties – such as couples who must pay an exit fee unless both of them need to go into care.

The report also raised questions about interest rates on equity release products. It said providers should be consistent with their lending criteria and not move the goalposts after customers have taken out a loan, as this can make it harder for them to access a top-up loan in the future, potentially forcing them to remortgage. 

Equity release products could help people access their property wealth to help younger members of their family onto the property ladder

Equity release products could help people access their property wealth to help younger members of their family onto the property ladder

The report argued that equity release products could help people access their property wealth to help younger members of their family onto the property ladder.

Mr McPhail added: ‘Raising a deposit has become an increasingly significant barrier to getting on the housing ladder, with increasing numbers of first-time buyers having to rely on financial help from older generations.

‘Releasing some of the equity in a property allows older homeowners to choose when and how they share their wealth with the younger generation.

‘This more targeted approach gives them greater control to use their assets to the maximum benefit at the point of need.’

Raising a deposit is a barrier to getting on the housing ladder, with increasing numbers of first-time buyers having to rely on financial help from older generations, says the report's author Tom McPhail

Raising a deposit is a barrier to getting on the housing ladder, with increasing numbers of first-time buyers having to rely on financial help from older generations, says the report’s author Tom McPhail

Equity release: How it works and advice

To help readers considering equity release, This is Money has partnered with Age Partnership+, independent advisers who specialise in retirement mortgages and equity release. 

Age Partnership+ compares deals across the whole of the market and their advisers can help you work out whether equity release is right for you – or whether there are better options, such as downsizing. 

Age Partnership+ advisers can also see if those with existing equity release deals can save money by switching. 

You can compare equity release rates and work out how much you could potentially borrow with This is Money’s new calculator powered by broker Age Partnership+.* 

 * Partner link

Jonathan Harris, of mortgage broker Forensic Property Finance, said: ‘Equity release has historically been viewed as a ‘murky’, high-risk sector, fuelled by minimal regulation, poorly-qualified advisers, only a handful of lenders and extortionately high interest rates.

‘Fast forward to today and we see a dramatically transformed sector, benefiting from strict regulation, highly-qualified advisers, multiple lenders and access to very competitive interest rates. 

‘Not surprisingly, equity release is now a viable and growing market for older borrowers looking to utilise the gains seen on property prices to bolster lifestyles, as well as pass on wealth to children when they need it.

‘Those considering equity release should make sure they understand the implications and involve family in any decision-making. It is always important to seek advice from suitably-qualified advisers.’

It comes as a separate report by Legal & General suggested that one in every £90 spent by retired Britons is funded by equity release.

It said that equity release funded an estimated £3billion in retirement spending last year, although it didn’t mentioned the money going to younger generations towards buying a property.

Instead, the report’s survey of 2,000 homeowners found that those with equity release have most frequently used the product to finance home improvements, at 26 per cent.

It said equity release is also being used to support costs such as medical expenses at 17 per cent, maintaining living standards in retirement at 16 per cent, and paying off personal debt at 16 per cent, for example paying off interest-only mortgages. 

It suggested that equity release is likely to play an increasingly important role in financing care-related expenses, with 19 per cent of prospective homeowners citing it as a consideration.

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Allianz Real Estate buys prime office building in Rome (IT)

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Allianz Real Estate, advised by Dils, has acquired an office property in the centre of Rome. The transaction, worth circa €175m, is one of the most important to have been carried out on the real estate market in Rome in recent years.

 

The building, consisting of eleven storeys, comprising nine above-ground and two underground, has a gross lettable area of circa 22,000m² and has undergone a major refurbishment, offering the highest environmental sustainability and energy efficiency standards (LEED Gold Certification). The strategic location, between the CBD and Termini Station, is enjoying great success, especially among corporate occupiers. 

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