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KGAL acquires Charles Square Center in Prague (CZ)

KGAL Investment Management has acquired the Charles Square Center in Prague, which includes offices, retail, restaurants and healthcare space, on behalf of a pan-European fund. The city centre property with a total of almost 20,000m² of leasable space has a roster of international, renowned tenants. The seller was Commerz Real.

 

 “The Charles Square Center is our second real estate investment in Prague. It offers us the opportunity to participate in Prague’s economic potential,” said Andre Zucker, Managing Director and Head of Real Estate of KGAL Investment Management. “The city with its 1.3 million inhabitants has developed into a sought-after location for globally active corporations. The Center’s broad tenant diversification was another deciding factor for this acquisition.”

 

The Charles Square Center counts Cisco Systems, Dior, Raiffeisenbank and Commerzbank, as well as medical service providers among its tenants. In addition to its prime location on Charles Square, the core property has an exceptional position in the city centre because of its spacious and light-filled floors. Its excellent transport links are a further advantage. The Charles Square Center is located next to a metro station, and six bus and twelve tram lines stop directly outside of the building. In addition, the property provides 150 underground parking spaces for cars.

 

The multi-tenant property is almost fully let. The majority of the space, 14,000m², is dedicated to offices. A day clinic, as well as a medical research facility, retail offerings (supermarket, drugstore, office supplies, etc.), restaurants and a fitness studio, complete the broadly diversified tenant mix. Built in 2002, the Center has been certified as sustainable in accordance with the BREEAM standard.

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The best places to educate your children in England and Wales: From the town with five ‘outstanding’ state secondaries to the village where £228,000 gets you a three-bed semi and a choice of great schools. Use our interactive guide

Where to live when children come along is one of the biggest decisions facing young couples. A safe local area is all important and equally vital is access to good schools.

Farid Bagheri and his wife, Svetlana, were perfectly happy living in a two-bedroom apartment in trendy Canary Wharf until their baby daughter, now aged three, was born and the couple realised that this was not a place to raise a family.

After careful research they decided on a move to leafy Mill Hill, north London. ‘Mainly for the excellent schools,’ says Farid, who paid £900,000 for a spacious top floor apartment at Barratt’s Ridgeway Views development. 

He added: ‘Two of the local schools there – Mill Hill School and St Vincent’s – offer fantastic opportunities and there are excellent state and independent schools nearby.’

But buying close to a popular school is expensive. An estate agent recently reported that he had met a family prepared to pay £10,000 a month to rent close to Worth School in West Sussex.

Here are the 20 areas in England and Wales that are among the most desirable places to educate your children.

DURHAM

Durham is a place where teenagers can become captivated by the idea of university life

Durham is a place where teenagers can become captivated by the idea of university life

Durham is a city that caring parents will relocate to purely for their children, the schools being the main factor.

Durham Johnston is simply one of the best comprehensives in the North of England, regularly getting A-level grades that put it ahead of more than half of the country’s selective grammar schools.

Framwellgate and St Leonard’s Catholic are also good and several of the primary schools are judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Durham is a place where teenagers can become captivated by the idea of university life as there is a considerable student presence in the pubs and cafes at the centre.

South Bailey and Crossgate, five minutes from the centre, are considered desirable places to live.

North End is a tree-lined street of large detached and semi-detached houses.

There are obvious opportunities here to dip a toe in the buy-to-let market.

The average price of a house last year was £195,000 and some students prefer to live in a shared house than in one of the new residential blocks along the River Wear.

The average price of a semi-detached property in Durham is £186,000.

On the market

Flass Vale, Durham – six-bedroom detached with knightfrank.co.uk. Price: £2,250,000.

Hillcrest, Sacriston – three-bed detached with ventureproperties.com. Price: £220,000.

Schools

Best state primary: Cleves Cross Primary and Nursery School is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Best state secondary: Durham Johnston consistently gets A-level grades above the country’s selective grammar schools.

Best private secondary: Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation caters for children from three to 18.

HARROGATE, NORTH YORKSHIRE

Harrogate Grammar is one of the top secondaries in the North of England

Harrogate Grammar is one of the top secondaries in the North of England

Gone are the days when Harrogate was a chintzy Victorian spa town.

Today it attracts weekly commuters to London and Leeds and freelancers working from home.

They find in Harrogate a mix of spa town chic and access to wide open spaces without the grittier aspects of post industrial Gothic gloom.

These incomers are attracted by the Ofsted rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ primary schools, notably Western Primary and Springwell, which specialises in reluctant learners.

Willow Tree Community Primary had a few problems in 2020. Harrogate Grammar is one of the top state secondaries in the North of England.

There is much for young people to do, with two cinemas, a theatre and 200 acres of parkland in the Stray, near the centre.

The Duchy land owned by the Duchy of Lancaster generally means the houses there are going to be pricey.

Top addresses include Duchy Road, Kent Road, Cornwall Road and Oakdale.

Large detached four or five bed homes there could sell for well over a million pounds. Anything overlooking the Stray carries a premium.

Average price of a semi-detached property in Harrogate is £394,500

On the market

Connaught Court – Five-bed semi-detached modern town house is up for sale on withmyringsestate agents.com. Price: £895,000.

Bilton Lane – Two bed terraced is with hunters.com Price: £200,000.

Schools

Best state primary: Springwell Primary specialises in reluctant learners.

Best state secondary: Harrogate Grammar is one of the top secondaries in the North of England.

Best private secondary: Harrogate Ladies’ College was established in 1908.

MORLEY, WEST YORKSHRE

The town of Morley itself is no beauty spot but it has the basics, including independent shops

The town of Morley itself is no beauty spot but it has the basics, including independent shops

Morley is a town five miles to the south-west of Leeds that oozes no-nonsense northern ‘character’.

That is why television programmes such as Heartbeat and Emmerdale film there and it goes some way towards explaining why youngsters strive to do well in the high-achieving schools.

Morley Academy is ‘outstanding’ according to Ofsted, as is the nearby Batley Girls High and Cockburn School.

The town itself is no beauty spot but it has the basics – three supermarkets and a range of independents in the high street.

Morley Town Hall is an impressive Grade I listed building with a domed clock tower and concert hall which is a popular venue for brass bands and other concerts.

Scatchend Park in the centre, near the Morley Leisure Centre, has a large playing field, skate-park, bowling green and memorial gardens.

The average house price in Morley is £229,000, as compared to £257,000 in Leeds itself – a saving which attracts young professionals and growing families. Little wonder then that the bars and bistros of Morley Bottoms have taken off as the trendy place to enjoy a night out.

The average price of a semi-detached in Morley is £231,000.

On the market

Victoria Road, Morley – Four-bed semi-detached is with manningstainton.co.uk. Price: £569,995.

Glenmount Terrace – Two-bed terraced home is with danpearcesellshomes.co.uk. Price: £160,000.

Schools

Best state primary: Hall Cliffe primary school is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Best state secondary: Morley Academy is also deemed ‘outstanding’ by the watchdog.

Best private secondary: Primary school Queenswood’s motto is ‘let your light shine’.

RUGBY, WARWICKSHIRE

Rugby School is one of the top independent schools in the country

Rugby School is one of the top independent schools in the country

There is more to Rugby in Warwickshire than a top independent school and the fact that it’s the home of the game of the same name.

It has a list of state schools that would have helicopter parents dialling the nearest home tutor to make sure their offspring can get a place in their favourite.

There is Lawrence Sherriff School, judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, as is Rugby High School, closely followed by Rugby Free School (good).

Harris C of E Academy is also rated good. ‘Rugby is fine with great schools and loads of activities and clubs for children,’ says one mother who has lived there for 15 years.

‘It may not have the picture postcard beauty of Leamington or Warwick but it does have a certain charm.’ The town itself seems to be for ever having a ‘rebrand’.

Favourite spots include the microbrewery and On the Rocks, a restaurant that serves its food on volcanic rock (best not to ask).

The more desirable addresses are generally found on the edge of town where Houlton is a large family-oriented development with more green spaces than your average newbuild area.

Bilton is good for families, with older housing that usually means bigger gardens. Newton and Clifton are delightful villages, as is Dunchurch with its 15th-century thatched roof buildings.

Average price of a semi-detached house is £278,000.

On the market

Hillmortin Road – Eight-bed, 6,000sqft detached home is with fineandcountry.com. Price: £2million.

Claremont Road – Two bed terraced is with campbell-online.co.uk. Price: £260,000.

Schools

Best state primary: Long Lawford Primary School is rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.

Best state secondary: The Lawrence Sherriff School is judged ‘outstanding’ by the watchdog.

Best private secondary: Rugby School is one of the top independent schools in the country.

WILMSLOW, CHESHIRE

Wilmslow has an impressive high street, full of top-end designer stores

Wilmslow has an impressive high street, full of top-end designer stores

Wilmslow is part of the starry Cheshire Golden Triangle of Prestbury, Wilmslow and Alderley Edge. Russell Watson comes from there as do innumerable footballers and stadium rockers The 1975.

The primary schools, notably The Wilmslow Academy, are generally good according to Ofsted.

They foster an aspirational ethos and children move on to Wilmslow High School or the highly selective St Ambrose College Grammar Boys in nearby Altrincham.

Wilmslow itself has an impressive high street, full of top-end designer stores and the famous Hoopers department store on Alderley Road.

There is a lot for young people to do. The leisure centre is popular, as is the Carrs Park, where in summer families can be found enjoying picnics and splashing in the shallows of the River Bollin.

The theatre puts on children’s shows in the school holidays. Although the average price of a home in the town last year was £530,000, terraced cottages often come up for sale for less than £300,000.

The average price of a semi-detached property in Wilmslow is £536,000.

On the market

Moor Lane, Wilmslow – Five-bed detached is with gascoignehalman.co.uk. Price: £1,075,000.

Mainwaring Drive, Wilmslow – Two-bed detached home with reedsrains.co.uk. Price: £309,950.

Schools

Best state primary: The Wilmslow Academy is good according to Ofsted and has an aspirational ethos.

Best state secondary: St Ambrose College Grammar Boys is highly selective.

Best private secondary: Pownan Hall School is the leading prep school in Wilmslow.

HITCHIN, HERTFORDSHIRE

Dating back to the seventh-century the market town of Hitchin is a mix of traditional and hip

Dating back to the seventh-century the market town of Hitchin is a mix of traditional and hip

If you have a bright child who is an academic high achiever you could hardly do better than buy a home in Hitchin where both the boys’ and the girls’ grammar schools are judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Dating back to the seventh-century this market town is a mix of traditional and hip. Market place is a lovely jumble of architectural styles around a cobbled central square where it holds the Street Food Monthly and French Markets, while a conventional market under striped blue and white stalls takes place by St Mary’s Church.

There’s a mix of independent stores and high street chains. Retro emporiums do brisk trade and new coffee shops seem to appear every month.

Crime rates are lower than average for the county and Rightmove have in the recent past named Hitchin one of their ten happiest places to live in the UK.

Here a property costs about a fifth less than St Albans. Average price of a semi-detached in Hitchin is £544,000.

On the market

Talbot Street, Hitchin – Five-bed detached is with countryproperties.co.uk. Price: £1million.

King George Close – Two-bed maisonette (lease of 46 years) is with connells.co.uk Price: £300,000.

Schools

Best state primary: Fairfield Park focuses heavily on arts and culture in learning.

Best state secondary: Plenty of ‘outstanding’ (according to Ofsted) boys and girls grammar schools.

Best private secondary: Swanbourne House School prioritises small class sizes.

ST ALBANS, HERTFORDSHIRE

If you want to buy in St Albans' most sought-after post code, you will need serious money

If you want to buy in St Albans’ most sought-after post code, you will need serious money

To say that Ofsted’s inspectors are impressed by St Albans would be an understatement.

They have rated five of its schools ‘outstanding’ – St Albans Girls; Sandringham School; Nicholas Breakspear Catholic School, Loreto College and Beaumont School.

A further four – Townsend CofE; Verulam Boys’; Marlborough Science Academy and Samuel Ryder – are ‘good’.

Perhaps it’s this quaint mini-city itself or, let’s face it, the wealthy parents that make this such a great learning environment.

The place is thriving with independent shops and regular markets, all trading among a jumble of buildings that date back to the Middle Ages.

Admittedly, boutiques, antique shops and expensive restaurants are unlikely to impress younger people but there are also chains such as Nandos and Wagamama which may be more to their liking.

The leisure centre is close to the centre and the 100-acre Verulamium Park is the setting for the Park Run on a Saturday.

All these factors, including easy commuting distance to London, make St Albans expensive. The average house cost £637,000 last year.

And if you want to buy in the most sought after AL14 post code, which hits the catchment for the best schools, you will need serious money.

To help cope with the worry you may be grateful that St Albans reputedly has more pubs per square mile than anywhere else in the UK.

The average price of a semi-detached in St Albans is £700,000.

On the market

Hatfield Road – Five-bed detached is with cassidyandtate.co.uk. Price: £1million.

Bede Court, Royston Road – Two-bed maisonette is with paul-barker.co.uk. Price: £315,000.

Schools

Best state primary: St Albans CE Primary School is a good option for those looking for a religious education.

Best state secondary: St Albans Girls is one of five rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Best private secondary: St Albans School is one of the oldest private schools in the world.

BRENTWOOD, ESSEX

There are more family-friendly homes closer to Brentwood's High Street

There are more family-friendly homes closer to Brentwood’s High Street

Although Brentwood recently featured in The Only Way is Essex there is a lot more to the town than nail bars and boutiques – the schools, for one thing.

Becket Keys CofE Free School is ‘outstanding’ while Brentwood County High, Brentwood Ursuline Convent High, Shenfield High and St Martin’s are all ‘good’.

The town centre has all the usual suspects, including, yes, the inevitable fashion boutiques and chain restaurants.

Yet for something a bit special there is Calcott Hall Farm a wonderful farm shop outside the centre.

The housing is geared towards growing families. There are modern apartments close to the station, ideal for young couples.

Closer to the High Street there are more family-friendly homes of Victorian terraces and villas. These may aspire to make their way to west Brentwood, the town’s affluent area with its large detached houses.

Buyers are often escapees from London and they are attracted by the green spaces. Brentwood has over 1,200 hectares of woodland, including three huge country parks. Thordon Park which surrounds Thorndon Hall with its gardens designed by Capability Brown is a particular favourite.

The average price of a semi-detached house in Brentwood is £526,000

On the market

Riseway, Brentwood – Four-bed detached is with meacockjones.co.uk. Price: £1,050,000.

Myrtle Road – Two-bed coach house is with purplebricks.co.uk. Price: £325,000.

Schools

Best state primary: Holly Trees Primary School has consistently been rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.

Best state secondary: Becket Keys CofE Free School was the first Church of England school to be established as part of the free schools program.

Best private secondary: Brentwood School’s motto is ‘virtue, learning, manners’.

EPSOM, SURREY

Mainly it is the great outdoors that draws people to Epsom

Mainly it is the great outdoors that draws people to Epsom

Epsom is El Dorado for buyers seeking to get away from the hustle of London, which is why they account for 46 per cent of the newcomers to the town.

Schools are a major attraction with Rosebery School for Girls and Glyn School for Boys both judged ;outstanding’. Blenheim High is ‘good’.

The town has plenty for shoppers. The Grade I listed Epsom Clock Tower is the location for the weekly market while The Ashley Centre is undergoing an ambitious refurbishment.

For entertainment the Epsom Playhouse puts on theatre, live music and comedy shows and the town also has a plush Odeon cinema.

But mainly it is the great outdoors that draws people to Epsom. The town is near the Surrey Hills, with Box Hill nearby.

Locals head to Horton Country Park, Epsom Downs and Epsom Common for weekend walks and bike rides.

The town itself offers a wide choice of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian houses and they do not come cheap.

Small Victorian cottages such as those in the Adelphi Road conservation area attract first time buyers. What is it like to live in this commuter hot-spot? ‘I can’t say its diverse compared with London,’ said one young mother. ‘But it’s close to the countryside and there are lots of families here, so there are plenty of options of things to do with the kids. Overall, we like it.’

The average price of a semi-detached house in Epsom is £500,000.

On the market

Grove Road – Four-bed detached is with thepersonalagent.co.uk. Price: 1,050,000.

Court Farm Gardens – Ground floor, two-bed maisonette is with jacksonnoon.com. Price: £300,000.

Schools

Best state primary: Epsom Primary School teaches vocabulary with a high priority.

Best state secondary: Roseberry School for Girls and Glyn School for Boys are both judged ‘outstanding’.

Best private secondary: Epsom College has won Independent School of the Year.

MARLBOROUGH, WILTSHIRE 

Malborough College is the alma mater of the Princess of Wales and Jack Whitehall

Malborough College is the alma mater of the Princess of Wales and Jack Whitehall

Mention to most people that you are considering a move to Marborough for the schooling and they’ll assume you have found the £15,600 or so a term necessary to place your child in Marlborough College.

Yet there is another Marlborough, far removed from the alma mater of the glitterati – Catherine, Princess of Wales, Chris de Burgh, Jack Whitehall et al. For Marlborough’s state sector schools are also excellent.

St John’s, the local secondary, is ‘outstanding’ according to Ofsted and its feeder primaries are equally impressive.

Ramsbury School, for example, is not only judged outstanding by every one of Ofsted’s criteria, it is also one of the top schools nationwide for the teaching of literacy and reading.

Marlborough is a safe and friendly home town in which to grow up. Just about everything is packed around its broad, sloping high street, including Miss Polly Tea Rooms, Waitrose, a Rick Stein outpost, The White Horse Book Shop and Sound Knowledge, an independent record shop, perhaps more for fathers than sons.

Marlborough has taken off culturally in the past few decades. It now has a good literary festival, the Parade Cinema opened in 2021 and it’s a stopping off point for singers and bands of a certain vintage on tour such as Elkie Brooks.

The best addresses are Silverless Street and the Green. Generally people aspire to move to the lovely Wiltshire villages nearby.

The average price of a semi-detached in Marlborough is £451,000.

On the market

Elcot Lane – Five-bed detached is with brearleyandrich.co.uk. Price: £975,000.

Parlyn Acre – Three-bed terraced is with hamptons.co.uk. Price: £280,000.

Schools

Best state primary: Ramsbury Primary School is one of the top nationwide for the teaching of literacy and reading.

Best state secondary: St Johns is ‘outstanding’ according to Ofsted.

Best private secondary: Marlborough College is the alma mater of the Princess of Wales, Chris de Burgh and Jack Whitehall. 

NEWBURY, BERKSHIRE

Despite being massively refurbished in recent years Newbury still carries the mantle of the ¿town grammar¿

Despite being massively refurbished in recent years Newbury still carries the mantle of the ‘town grammar’

Newbury has left behind its days as a market town where farmers sold their produce every Thursday.

Today its proximity to the M4’s Silicon Valley means it is the natural habitat of IT executives. Their children do well in the local primary schools (John Rankin and Falkland are both well regarded) and, at the secondary stage, St Bartholomews gains outstanding results.

Despite being massively refurbished in recent years it still carries the mantle of the ‘town grammar’, even running its own Cadet Force.

In terms of recreation, Newbury Corn Exchange has a successful youth section and the rugby club runs teams for all age groups, including Under 6s. Innumerable new developments are under construction from flats near the railway station to executive homes at Donnington Heights.

The average price property in Newbury is £396,000. Try nearby Thatcham where the local Kennet School is very good and you can find a 3-bed house for £250,000.

The average price of a semi detached in Newbury is £350,000.

On the market

Grange Gardens, Newbury – Five-bed detached is with savills.com. Price: £1,250,000.

Newbury Racecourse – Two-bed apartment is with chancellors.co.uk. Price: £270,000.

Schools 

Best state primary: John Rankin and Falkin are both well regarded.

Best state secondary: St Bartholomews gains outstanding exam results.

Best private secondary: Brockhurst and Marlston House School.

NORWICH, NORFOLK

There is much in Norwich to develop youngsters¿ appreciation of all things cultural

There is much in Norwich to develop youngsters’ appreciation of all things cultural

Norwich may appear to be geographically remote but there is a lot going on there, especially for young people.

A dozen of the city’s primaries are ‘outstanding’ and so is Notre Dame School, a secondary.

Thorpe St Andrew dropped below that mark in 2022 – post Covid – but their sixth form continued to be outstanding.

There is much here to develop youngsters’ appreciation of all things cultural. It is a Unesco City of Literature; there are regular music gigs and stand-up comedy shows in the six theatres and there is an arts festival every May.

The city itself is a mix of the old and new. The outdoor market is at the heart of things, selling fish, fruit and vegetables as it has done for 1,000 years.

The traditional department store, Jarrolds is a mainstay of the town while the independents, including the Book Hive, one of the best bookshops in the country, do brisk trade.

Property is less expensive than in other pretty cities of the south, the average house selling for £288,000.

Yet Norwich is at the forefront of new house building, with the Goldsmith development recently winning the prestigious Stirling prize. It is a collection of 105 beautifully designed, environmentally friendly council houses that put the ‘pack ‘em tight, stack ‘em high’ approach of other councils to shame.

The average price of a semi-detached property in Norwich is £290,000.

On the market

Newmarket Road – Five-bed detached is with savills.co.uk. Price: £1,500,000.

Rosebery Road – Three-bed end terrace is with propertyladder.com. Price: £325,000.

Schools

Best state primary: A dozen of the city’s primaries are rated ‘outstanding’.

Best state secondary: Notre Dame school also carries an Ofsted rating of ‘outstanding’.

Best private secondary: Norwich School is set in the city’s cathedral close.

FLEET, HAMPSHIRE

This Hampshire town is fantastic for families due to its friendly community

This Hampshire town is fantastic for families due to its friendly community

Why Fleet? It could be seen an unremarkable town – really an overgrown village inflated with housing sprawl. It has a serviceable high street but isn’t it just a bit dull?

The answer is that Fleet is fantastic for families. It has a friendly community, a choice of spots for weekend jaunts – Fleet Pond, Basingstoke Canal and the countryside around Crookham Village – and top schooling from infants to sixth form.

At primary level all the schools are ‘good; according to Ofsted and the competition between the two big beast comprehensives – Court Moor and Calthorpe Park – keeps them on their toes.

Then, when you give Fleet town centre a second look you appreciate its quiet charm. The high street (Fleet Road) has matured with the planting of trees to soften the street scene.

Although, sadly, the hardware store WC Baker, family run since 1908, has recently closed its doors for the last time, there are some good eateries and a few interesting looking pubs.

In terms of housing, Edenbrook has narrow streets of weather-boarded houses and terraced cottages near the new leisure centre.

Fleet Pond, the largest freshwater lake in Hampshire, is the big attraction.

It has 141 acres of nature reserve and the car parks are full on sunny summer weekends. Nearby Fleet Road, Elvetham Road and Reading Road North have some impressive old piles behind high hedges. Yes, Fleet is fine.

The average price of a semi-detached in Fleet is £476,000

On the market

Reading Road South – Detached five-bed is with savills.co,uk. Price: £1,475,000.

Albert Street – Two-bed bungalow is with bridges.co.uk. Price: £375,000.

Schools

Best state primary: All schools are ‘good’ according to Ofsted.

Best state secondary: The competition between Court Moor and Calthorpe Park keeps both schools on their toes.

Best private secondary: Hurtwood House is a leading co-educational sixth form college.

SALISBURY, WILTSHIRE 

Salisbury itself is a gorgeous city in miniature - everything is within walking distance

Salisbury itself is a gorgeous city in miniature – everything is within walking distance

You are spoilt for choice for top schools in Salisbury. South Wilts Grammar for Girls is deemed ‘good’ by Ofsted, as are Sarum Academy, Burgate School and 6th Form and too many others to mention here.

Top dog this year, however, is the ‘outstanding’ Bishop Wordsworth’s College, where back in the day the writer William Golding used to teach.

(An eccentric chap, he would take his pupils on boating trips to Poole harbour and they would invariably need to be rescued).

Salisbury itself is a gorgeous city in miniature. It may have a hideous road system but that is no problem for the able-bodied as everything is within walking distance. The architecture is the thing.

Everywhere is overlooked by the 404ft spire of the cathedral and the ancient buildings are cherished.

So you will find Nandos in a medieval home and the Odeon in a 15th-century building. Independent shops selling vintage clothes and antiques are found in Fisherton Street and there is a twice weekly Charter Market.

Culturally, it has The Playhouse, an Arts Centre and an arts festival.

Prices are not too exorbitant considering the city is within commuting range of London (90 minutes to Waterloo).

The most highly prized homes are found in the Cathedral Close, where Sir Edward Heath once lived in what was considered the most beautiful house in Britain. The writer Leslie Thomas (Virgin Soldiers) also lived there for a while and when the residents of the Close found out he was moving in they were heard to say, ‘We have a pornographer come amongst us!’ It amused Thomas no end.

The average price of a semi-detached property in Salisbury is £327,000.

On the market

Moberley Road – Four-bed detached is with hamptons.co.uk. Price: £950,000.

Jubilee Close – Three-bed semi-detached is with fox-and-sons.co.uk. Price: £320,000.

Schools

Best state primary: St Nicholas Church of England Primary School is rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.

Best state secondary: South Wilts Grammar for Girls is one of many top schools in Salisbury.

Best private secondary: Bishop Wordsworth’s College where the writer William Golding used to teach.

CHELTENHAM, GLOUCESTERSHIRE 

Cheltenham Ladies¿ College has a strong focus on academic excellence

Cheltenham Ladies’ College has a strong focus on academic excellence

Cheltenham today is almost as renowned for its top quality state and private sector schools as it is for its elegant squares.

Competition is fierce for places at Pate’s – among the highest performing schools in the country at GCSE and A Level.

Ofsted judge many of the primaries – notably Christ Church and Gloucester Road – as outstanding and in Charlton Kings the much vaunted comprehensive, Balcarras has even sponsored an off-shoot, Leckhampton High School.

Move quickly if you want to buy near Balcarras in Charlton Kings and expect to pay £420,000 for a three-bed semi.

Leckhampton has an attractive boho vibe as does the Montpellier district with its wine bars, antique shops and famous Rotunda pub.

There is a lot for young people to do in Cheltenham.

The lido is teeming with young athletic bodies in the summer and the festivals are a chance to see top performers in the arts and cricket in the flesh.

The average price of a semi-detached house in Cheltenham is £417,000.

On the market

The Park, Cheltenham – Six-bed modern classical villa is with knightfrank.co.uk. Price: £5.5million.

Ryeworth Road, Charlton Kings – Two bed semi detached is with demelproperty.com. Price: £400,000.

Schools

Best state primary: Christ Church and Gloucester Road are both rated as outstanding.

Best state secondary: Pate’s Grammar School is one of the top in the country at GCSE and A Level.

Best private secondary: Cheltenham Ladies’ College was founded in 1918 and has a strong focus on academic excellence.

CRICKHOWELL, BRECKNOCKSHIRE

Nearby to Crickhowell, Christ College Brecon was founded by Henry VIII

Nearby to Crickhowell, Christ College Brecon was founded by Henry VIII

Crickhowell – also known as the jewel in the vale – is the kind of place where many inner city parents long to bring up their children.

The schools are very good, with the primary schools generally impressing Estyn (the Welsh form of Ofsted) and Crickhowell High School being adjudged excellent in two of five categories and good in the rest.

More than that, it is a safe and healthy place to enjoy childhood.

The high street is the hub of the village, with its independent butcher, baker, newsagents, old fashioned department store and authentic coaching inn, The Bear at its head.

Book-ish is a wonderful book shop with a coffee house at the rear, which does more to encourage literacy than a dozen department of education ‘initiatives’. Historic cottages near the centre sometimes come up for sale for under £300,000. The 1970s homes in developments on the outskirts cost a little more.

As for recreation, the young people have the whole of the Brecon Beacons on their doorstep for climbing and hiking.

In summer you will see teenagers swimming happily in the freezing waters of the River Usk, before going on for a coffee and cake in the Latte Da (get it?) cafe. The town may be a bit quiet in winter but it wakes up in summer for The Green Man world music festival and the Hay Literary Festival, held just over the mountain.

Of course it’s remote – the bright lights of Cardiff are an hour away. Many parents think that’s no bad thing.

The average price of a semi-detached in Crickhowell is £291,000.

On the market

Castle Road – Four-bed detached is with cft-uk.com. Price: £795,000.

Bridge Street – Two-bed listed Grade 2 terraced cottage is with cft-uk.com. Price: £285,000.

Schools

Best state primary: Most primary schools are impressive according to Estyn (Welsh Ofsted).

Best state secondary: Crickhowell High School is excellent in two of five rating categories and good in the rest.

Best private secondary: Nearby, Christ College Brecon was founded by Henry VIII.

CHICHESTER, WEST SUSSEX

Squashed between the sea and the South Downs, Chichester offers many outdoor activities

Squashed between the sea and the South Downs, Chichester offers many outdoor activities

If you want your child to sample the great outdoors as well as more cerebral pursuits you could hardly do better than to move to Chichester.

Squashed between the sea and the South Downs, the city offers a wealth of outdoor activities, from mountain biking, hiking and sailing at Chichester Harbour to thrills and spills at Goodwood.

Top actors take to the stage at the Chichester Festival Theatre and the Pallant House gallery celebrates British art.

Of the primary schools, Parklands Community, Fishbourne CofE and West Dean CofE are all Ofsted-rated ‘good’. The state secondary Bishop Luffa CofE, is ‘outstanding’.

The city is great for shopping. Apart from the out-of-town retail park and the usual chains – including Waitrose, John Lewis and M&S – there is a decent showing of independents.

Kim’s second hand bookshop on South Street is a great place for browsing. There is a farmer’s market every first and third Friday of the month.

As for housing, The Pallants tops the des res stakes – you can easily pay a million for a house there. Good property on Priory Road goes for about £730,000 while young families head to the north of the city. Summersdale, Brandy Hole Lane and The Avenue are all popular.

The average semi-detached in Chichester costs around £450,000.

On the market

Lyndhurst Road – Five-bed detached character house is with www.fineand country.co.uk. Price: £975,000.

Exton Road – Three-bed end terraced is with hancockpartners.co.uk. Price: £300,000.

Schools 

Best state primary: Parklands Community, Fishbourne CofE and West Dean CofE are all rated as ‘good’.

Best state secondary: Bishop Luffa CofE is rated as outstanding.

Best private secondary: Seaford College was founded in 1925.

COWBRIDGE, DEVON

House prices are predictably high in trendy Cowbridge

House prices are predictably high in trendy Cowbridge

With its trendy wine bars and expensive fashion shops Cowbridge has the feel of an up-market Devon village.

Its schools are a huge attraction. Y Bont Faen primary, which teaches through the medium of English is good while Cowbridge Comprehensive is the Welsh Secondary School of the Year 2024.

The school’s results have been so consistently impressive that there are plans for it to expand to take in primary-age children.

The nearby countryside of the Vale is very beautiful. The late Anglo-Welsh poet Dannie Abse used to wax lyrical about the sunsets seen from his holiday home at Ogmore and there is good surfing at Porthcawl and Southerndown.

House prices are predictably high – averaging £506,000 – but there are several more easily affordable new developments springing up on the outskirts of town courtesy of Barrratt and David Wilson Homes.

Average semi-detached in Cowbridge costs £388,000

On the market

Detached – Six-bed Grade II Listed mansion is with fineandcountry.co.uk. Price: £2million.

North Road – Two-bed semi detached is with wattsandmorgan.co.uk. Price £365,000.

Schools

Best state primary: Cutcombe Church of England Primary school was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.

Best state secondary: Cowbridge Comprehensive is the Welsh Secondary School is the Year 2024.

Best private secondary: Nearby, Christ College Brecon was founded by Henry VIII.

BRIXHAM (PAIGNTON), DEVON

Brixham is a bona fide fishing town with pretty brightly painted cottages

Brixham is a bona fide fishing town with pretty brightly painted cottages

For anyone with school-age children thinking of relocating to Devon finding a good school is a major issue.

That, to a large extent, explains the popularity of the area around these two towns. Both have some outstanding primary schools – Brixham has the much vaunted Churston Ferrers Grammar School (‘good’ by Oftsed).

It is a bona fide fishing town with pretty brightly painted cottages around the steep-sided harbour and views to die for out towards Torbay.

It is also becoming, like Padstow, a hot spot for foodies. Visitors are more likely to be seen in one of the restaurants such as Rockfish which offers line-caught haddock and pink rose wine than queuing for the chippie.

It’s a different story in Paignton, where although the long stretch of seafront, promenade, pier and colourful beach huts make a lovely sight in summer, in winter it looks positively run-down. Yet it has Torquay Boys’ (Ofsted good) and Torquay Girls (outstanding) Grammar schools on its doorstep.

In Paignton many of the best houses are found in the Shorten and Preston areas. In Brixham, Heath Road and Berry Head Road are tops.

About £700,000 buys a three-bed Edwardian house overlooking the harbour in Brixham while in Paignton you can get a four-bed detached for about £595,000.

A semi-detached in Brixham costs £299,000 while in Paignton it costs £278,000.

On the market

Moorings Reach, Brixham – Four bed townhouse with sea views is with the coastalhouse.co.uk. Price: £900,000.

Hillside Road, Brixham – Three bed semi-detached is with bradleys-estate-agents.co.uk. Price: £350,000.

Schools

Best state primary: Oldway Primary School is the only in the area rated outstanding.

Best state secondary: The much vaunted Churston Ferrers Grammar School.

TRURO, CORNWALL

Truro has several successful primaries and a cluster of excellent state and private schools

Truro has several successful primaries and a cluster of excellent state and private schools

Truro could lay claims to being the education capital of Cornwall.

It has several successful primary schools – notably Tregony Community Primary and St Mary’s – and a cluster of excellent state and private schools.

Truro School, Truro High School for Girls and Truro and Penwith sixth form college all feature regularly in league tables.

As for recreation, just 15 miles away, Watergate Bay is a Mecca for surfers, while young sailors have the Helford and Fal.

The city also has a burgeoning arts scene, The Old Bakery Studios being a multi-purpose venue with live music and studios for hire.

The average house price in Truro is £334,000. Some of the most sought-after homes are in Trevethow Riel, a Georgian-style development where two-bedroom houses start at £280,000.

Average price for a semi-detached in Truro is about £325,000.

On the market

Victorian town house – Five bedrooms with shorepartnership.com. Price: £1million.

Trevithick Road – Three-bed terraced is with purplebricks.co.uk. Price: £290,000.

Schools

Best state primary: The successful Tregony Community Primary and St Mary’s.

Best state secondary: Truro College and Penwith Six for college regularly feature in the league tables.

Best private secondary: Truro School and Truro High School for girls also often top the league tables.

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Aviation and Telecom Industries Reach Compromise on 5G Deployment

The Voice Of EU | In a significant development, AT&T and Verizon, the two largest mobile network operators in the United States, have agreed to delay the deployment of 5G services following requests from the aviation industry and the Biden administration. This decision marks a crucial compromise in the long-standing dispute between the two industries, which had raised concerns over the potential interference of 5G with flight signals.
The aviation industry, led by United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, had been vocal about the risks of 5G deployment, citing concerns over the safety of flight operations. Kirby had urged AT&T and Verizon to delay their plans, warning that proceeding with the deployment would be a “catastrophic failure of government.” The US Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the issue further highlighted the need for a solution.
In response, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Steve Dickson sent a letter to the mobile networks, requesting a two-week delay to reassess the potential risks. Initially, AT&T and Verizon were hesitant, citing the aviation industry’s two-year preparation window. However, they eventually agreed to the short delay, pushing the deployment to January 19.
The crux of the issue lies in the potential interference between 5G signals and flight equipment, particularly radar altimeters. The C-Band spectrum used by 5G networks is close to the frequencies employed by these critical safety devices. The FAA requires accurate and reliable radar altimeters to ensure safe flight operations.

Airlines in the US have been at loggerheads with mobile networks over the deployment of 5G and its potential impact on flight safety.

Despite the concerns, both the FAA and the telecoms industry agree that 5G mobile networks and airline travel can coexist safely. In fact, they already do in nearly 40 countries where US airlines operate regularly. The key lies in reducing power levels around airports and fostering cross-industry collaboration prior to deployment.
The FAA has been working to find a solution in the United States, and the additional two-week delay will allow for further assessment and preparation. AT&T and Verizon have also agreed to not operate 5G base stations along runways for six months, similar to restrictions imposed in France.
President Joe Biden hailed the decision to delay as “a significant step in the right direction.” The European Union Aviation Safety Agency and South Korea have also reported no unsafe interference with radio waves since the deployment of 5G in their regions.
As the aviation and telecom industries continue to work together, it is clear that safe coexistence is possible. The delay in 5G deployment is a crucial step towards finding a solution that prioritizes both safety and innovation. With ongoing collaboration and technical assessments, the United States can join the growing list of countries where 5G and airlines coexist without issue.

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How Much Have House Prices Changed In Your Area?

UK Home Prices

UK homeowners saw the value of their homes rise for the third month in a row, according to analysis by online estate agent Purplebricks.

The North East and North West of England were the biggest winners in average value rises in the UK, the latest figures show.

And now a new online calculator can show how much house prices have changed in your area in the last year.

The interactive tool below has been updated to include the latest House Price Index data, released by the Office for National Statistics today.

To use the Purplebricks calculator, simply search for YOUR local area and find out how house prices have changed over the last 12 months:

UK homeowners saw the value of their homes rise for the third month in a row, according to analysis by online estate agent Purplebricks

UK homeowners saw the value of their homes rise for the third month in a row, according to analysis by online estate agent Purplebricks

This three-bedroom semi flat in Stroud, where prices rose 9.8%, is on the market for £360,000

This three-bedroom semi flat in Stroud, where prices rose 9.8%, is on the market for £360,000

Average UK house prices increased by 0.4% or £1,000 from January to February, making the average property now valued at £281,000, according to today’s House Price Index (HPI).

Over the 12-month period to February, average prices fell just 0.2%, which is an improvement from the 1.3% decline in the 12 months to January this year.

In England, house prices were also on the increase, with a 0.6% monthly rise, making average property now valued at £298,000 – despite a 1.1% fall over the last year.

The North East of England saw the biggest monthly increase, with property prices soaring 3.2%, and 2.9% over the year. Average homes there are now worth £160,000.

And, homeowners in the North West saw the greatest annual price rise, up by 1%, meaning the average property there is now worth £214,000.

London is once again the hardest-hit UK region, with 4.8% annual decline, but a fall of just 0.7% from January to February – pricing the average home in the capital at £503,000 today.

Homeowners in The City of London were the surprise property-price winners, after a six-figure decline last month.

Homes in the capital’s famous banking district rose more than £73,000 or 9.1% – more than anywhere else in the UK – meaning the average property is now worth around £808,000.

But that was far from the picture across the rest of London, which saw six-figure price plunges in four areas and declines in a total of 29 areas.

The City of Westminster was hardest hit by the price drop, with properties shedding an eye-watering £190,000 over the last year.

This three-bed semi in South Hams, where prices rose 7.9%, is on the market for £490,000

This three-bed semi in South Hams, where prices rose 7.9%, is on the market for £490,000

Average UK house prices increased by 0.4% or £1,000 from January to February, making the average property now valued at £281,000

Average UK house prices increased by 0.4% or £1,000 from January to February, making the average property now valued at £281,000

Elsewhere in the capital, the exclusive borough of Kensington and Chelsea saw prices sink by more than £160,000 in a year, with Camden homes losing nearly £130,000 and Hammersmith and Fulham homes losing just over £100,000.

Outside London, the commuter town of St Albans saw nearly a £25,000 year-on-year price rise, making the average home now worth £589,270.

And, the picturesque North East district of Ribble Valley saw house prices increase by just over £20,000 in the last year, making the average property now worth £284,355.

House prices in Wales increased by 0.4% over the last month, despite an annual 1.2% fall – making the average property worth £211,000.

And, property prices continue to climb in Scotland, with the average home now priced at £188,000 after a 5.6% increase over the last year.

And, prices in Northern Ireland increased by 1.4% to £178,000 in the year to Quarter 4 of 2023.

Purplebricks CEO Sam Mitchell said: ‘Britain has now seen its third consecutive month-on-month increase in property prices – fantastic news for homeowners.

‘This three-month increase is evidence of a reinvigorated property market that will continue to go from strength to strength.’

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