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London only just pips Cornwall as most searched area for homes

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London only just returned to being the most popular British location among homebuyers searching online after being overtaken several times by Cornwall in the past year.

The capital has historically been the most searched for location on Rightmove, but the pandemic’s race for space and remote working saw the South West hotspot get house hunters day dreaming.

That meant that despite London’s population of 9 million dwarfing Cornwall’s almost  600,000 residents, the difference in total searches over 2021 was just 3 per cent, compared to a gap of 24 per cent in 2020 and 49 per cent in 2019.

This  three-bed terrace house in London's Fulham is for sale for £1.25million via estate agents Marsh & Parsons

This  three-bed terrace house in London’s Fulham is for sale for £1.25million via estate agents Marsh & Parsons

Indeed, in January and February last year, Cornwall replaced London for the highest number of searches, according to the property website.

MOST SEARCHED-FOR AREAS IN 2021
1 London
2 Cornwall
3 Devon
4 Bristol
5 Glasgow
6 Sheffield
7 Essex
8 York
9 Edinburgh
10 Dorset
Source: Rightmore 

After being overtaken again by London in March and April, Cornwall again led buyer searches from May to September, after which London led for the rest of the year.

Rightmove suggested that this reflected a change in buyer preferences last year, although many may have been window shopping.

A shift in preferences overall has included more people looking for homes near the coast due to a change in living priorities and the ability to work from home.

The return of London to the top of searches later in the year highlighted the city’s returning popularity, Rightmove added. 

This five-bedroom house in Cornwall's Marazion is for sale for £575,000 via Whitlocks estate agents

This five-bedroom house in Cornwall’s Marazion is for sale for £575,000 via Whitlocks estate agents

Phillip Stevens, of Richmond estate agents Antony Roberts, said: ‘London has enduring appeal, despite the allure of the countryside and coast during the pandemic and various lockdowns. 

While would-be buyers may have started the year thinking about relocating to the South West, by the end of the year London was back up at the top of searches as lockdown measures ended and employees started returning to the workplace.

‘As life continues to return to something approaching normality, such remote living isn’t so practical or appealing.’

He added: ‘Leafier parts of London, such as Richmond, have proved particularly popular in the past year as they offer the best of both worlds – proximity to the workplace but also with bigger homes and gardens, and within easy distance of attractive communal green spaces such as Richmond Park.

‘The return of international buyers, buoyed by London’s resilience compared with other global cities, is also contributing to more interest in central London.’

This three-bedroom house in Chadlington in the Cotswolds is for sale for £550,000 via Purplebricks

This three-bedroom house in Chadlington in the Cotswolds is for sale for £550,000 via Purplebricks

RIGHTMOVE’S BUYER SEARCH HOTSPOTS IN 2021
Rank Area Region Increase in searches compared to 2020
1 Rhos-on-Sea, Conwy Wales 858%
2 Hove, East Sussex South East 680%
3 Chadlington, Oxfordshire South East 211%
4 Breage, Cornwall South West 109%
5 Isle Of Man Isle of Man 95%
6 Frizington, Cumbria North West 65%
7 Huntly, Aberdeenshire Scotland 54%
8 Millport, Ayrshire Scotland 52%
9 Thorpeness, Suffolk East of England 51%
10 Allonby, Cumbria North West 45%
Source: Rightmove     
This four-bedroom semi-detached house in Rhos-on-Sea in Wales is for sale for £270,000 via Fletcher & Poole estate agents

This four-bedroom semi-detached house in Rhos-on-Sea in Wales is for sale for £270,000 via Fletcher & Poole estate agents

Rightmove also looked at areas with the biggest increase in buyer searches compared with 2020.

Rhos-on-Sea in Wales topped this list of buyer hotspots, with searches for the coastal town increasing more than nine times – up 858 per cent – compared to 2020.

Hove in East Sussex came second in the list of hotspots, up 680 per cent, and Chadlington in the Cotswolds was third, up 211 per cent.

The Clarkson effect 

Former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has sent Cotswolds searches soaring

Former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has sent Cotswolds searches soaring

Rightmove said that Chadlington, in the Cotswolds, was third in its list of buyer search hotspots. 

Searches for the area soared this year following its profile in the hit Jeremy Clarkson TV Show Clarkson’s Farm, peaking in June when they were 511 per cent higher than last year.

All of this year’s buyer search hotspots are either villages, or located near the sea, a sign of the increase in popularity this year for homes in coastal or countryside areas.

Rightmove also regularly tracks spikes in searches coinciding with topical or cultural events.

It found that in December, Marazion in Cornwall saw weekly buyer searches increase 198 per cent, and up 148 per cent compared to last year, following its bid to become the UK’s smallest city, as part of a competition for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

During the week leading up to the release of the thriller film ‘Last Night In Soho’ in October, buyer searches for Soho doubled – up 100 per cent – compared with the same week in October last year.

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: ‘Our search data gives us a unique understanding of how current events and culture can inspire people to imagine the life that could be in a new area, from countryside living in the Cotswolds inspired by the ‘Clarkson’s Farm’ TV show, to living in what could potentially be the UK’s smallest city in Marazion, Cornwall.’

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Irish chief-of-staff meets Russian ambassador to discuss defence issues

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The Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov and the Chief of Defence Staff Lieut Gen Seán Clancy have met to discuss armed contacts between the two countries.

The meeting took place on Friday at the Russian embassy in Orwell Road, Dublin.

It was announced in a tweet from the embassy on Friday evening: “On January 21 the Ambassador of #Russia to #Ireland Y.Filatov met with the Member of the Chief of Defence Staff of Ireland S.Clancy.

“Parties discussed the issues of Russia-Ireland relations and international agenda, as well as prospects of contacts between (the) armed forces of (the) two countries.”

In response the Department of Defence said the meeting was a “routine courtesy call”.

A spokeswoman added: “As the recently appointed Chief of Staff, it is normal for foreign ambassadors to pay routine courtesy calls. This is one of a series of meetings. Such meetings are a matter for the chief of staff, not the minister. There is no ongoing military cooperation with Russia and there is no intention to do so.”

A spokesman for the Minister for Defence Simon Coveney has not responded yet to the tweet.

Live fire exercise

Independent TD Cathal Berry said he believed the meeting has to do with a proposed naval exercise that the Russian navy intends to undertake in February.

The live firing exercise will happen 240km off the Irish coast outside Irish territorial waters, but within the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The Irish Aviation Authority has sent a notification to air traffic control in Ireland stating that the live firing exercises will take place between February 3rd and 8th and between 5am and 3pm on those days. The area in question is off the southwest coast.

The IAA states that “pursuant to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)annexs 11,15 and for safety of air traffic in the area you are kindly requested to issue international notam (a notice to airmen) to temporarily close above area for flights from surface to 11,000 metres”.

Dr Berry, a former army ranger, said the live firing exercise, while being legal, is a “warning to Ireland that we are military weak”.

He believed it was designed as an international provocation as it is close to flight paths and underwater submarine cables.

The Irish talks took place while negotiations ended between Russia and the United States in Geneva without agreement.

There are fears that Russia will invade Ukraine after Moscow massed tens of thousands of troops at the border, while the west has ramped up supplies of weapons to Kyiv.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov met for about 90 minutes in Geneva at what the American diplomat said was a “critical moment”. Expectations had been low going in, and there was no breakthrough.

Mr Blinken told Mr Lavrov the US would give Russia written responses to Moscow’s proposals next week, and suggested the two would likely meet again shortly after that – offering some hope that any invasion would be delayed for at least a few more days.

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British Land unveils London Exchange Square scheme (GB)

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British Land reveals the opening of its new 1.5-acre Exchange Square located at Broadgate in the City of London. Designed by architects DSDHA, the park quadruples the amount of green space at Broadgate and creates a new outdoor space for workers and the wider community to enjoy in the capital. Exchange Square is now open to the public and includes 420m² of lawned areas, an exciting mix of planting and trees within its gardens, an amphitheatre with plenty of seating, and new retail and event space.

 

It aims to blend nature with the energy of London and promote the physical and emotional wellbeing of people who live and work in the local area. As spring approaches, the park will become a haven for workers looking to enjoy high-quality outdoor spaces when working from the office, and for the local community to enjoy a range of plants and biodiversity. The park’s range of planting is maintained by Exchange Square’s Head Gardener and is expected to be a popular choice for workers looking to make the most of premium outdoor space.

 

Health and wellbeing form a vital part of the €1.8bn (£1.5bn) investment in Broadgate to create an environment that brings people together to work, shop, drink and dine. Research commissioned by British Land shows that putting good design at the heart of urban development could lead to substantial improvement in peoples’ mental health, which would result in substantial economic rewards.

 

David Lockyer, Head of Campuses, British Land said: “As we start the New Year, Exchange Square aims to create an accessible, sustainable and better-quality place for workers and residents in the community in 2022 and beyond. Broadgate has undergone a significant transformation as a mixed-use destination that appeals to everyone. We hope that by creating a new outdoor area filled with green space, it allows visitors to find a tranquil place within a busy capital.”

 

Matthew Webster, Head of Environmental, British Land, said: “Exchange Square is a brilliant addition to London’s green spaces, and has a unique position within the City of London. Creating opportunities for people to encounter nature as part of their daily lives boosts wellbeing and productivity. This new, green space has been designed to enhance both physical and mental health in a variety of ways – through providing an area for tranquillity, opportunities for social interaction or through encouraging and making it easy for people to visit and move through the space.”

 

Deborah Saunt, Founding Director of DSDHA, said: “With Exchange Square, we are delighted to see the culmination of our Public Realm Framework for Broadgate, which has already enhanced and better connected the open spaces of Broadgate Circle, Broadgate Plaza and Finsbury Avenue Square. Our ambition for this new park was to create a landscape that nurtures both plants and people through retrofitting nature into the heart of the City, breaking down perceived barriers to the surrounding areas, and offering a space that provides opportunities for both recuperation and recreation.”

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Paint colour of 2022 is a deep purple called Very Peri

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Purple may not have graced our homes much since the psychedelic era of the 1970s, but all is set to change this year.

That is, at least, if we decide to follow Pantone’s recommendation. The world’s leading colour trend forecaster has controversially selected Very Peri, a shade inspired by the deep violet blue of the periwinkle flower, as the colour of 2022.

It may seem like an odd choice when we’re still embracing muted tones and understated interiors. 

But Pantone’s annual colour choices wield huge influence with fabric and paint manufacturers and also among interior designers keen to deliver the latest looks.

Love it or loathe it: Pantone¿s colour of the year Very Peri is inspired by the deep violet blue of the periwinkle flower

Love it or loathe it: Pantone’s colour of the year Very Peri is inspired by the deep violet blue of the periwinkle flower

Pantone says Very Peri embodies ‘carefree confidence and a daring curiosity’. Such assertions are another reason why some interior designers will not be recommending Very Peri. 

One remarked: ‘None of my clients would want purple in their homes, especially in the corner that they’ve set aside for their desk.’

Others are more positive, praising its effectiveness in almost any space.

Andrew Dunning, of London Contemporary, says that it represents a further move away from the Elephant’s Breath, the mid-grey Farrow & Ball paint that held sway in interiors in the early years of this century.

As a champion of the deft use of patterned wallpapers and brighter colours, Dunning considers Very Peri to be warm rather than chilly, particularly if furnishing fabric companies produce a lush velvet in the shade.

‘People have been scared of colour, but I think Very Peri could work well in a ‘wow’ piece like an accent armchair upholstered in the shade,’ he says. ‘It’s also an option for a cloakroom, a smaller place in the home in which you can be more audacious.’

Beth Travers, of Bobo1325, a Manchester design business, also argues that we should lower our resistance to the colour purple. 

Its historic links with royalty endow the colour with ‘luxury, power and nobility’. Since Very Peri is a blue tone of purple, Travers believes it can be ‘relaxing and soothing’.

Paula Taylor, of Graham & Brown, the paint company whose range includes the purple-blue Tanzanite, also thinks going bold could bring decor dividends.

Sitting pretty: Tresor Stool in Very Peri, to order at bykoket.com

Sitting pretty: Tresor Stool in Very Peri, to order at bykoket.com

‘Our Tanzanite used in a hallway would make visitors feel reassured and joyful. In a living room, it would be crisp but comforting, especially when teamed with one of our soft-whites, such as Baked Cheesecake, for a more timeless effect.’

The warm reception to Very Peri — in some quarters at least — could indicate that the shade will become an important part of the rise of blues and greens, a movement that began this year.

Simone Suss, of Studio Suss, a London design business, says this is connected to the wish to bring nature into our homes.

Such is the growing demand to introduce more elements of the great outdoors in the interior that more housebuilders will be prioritising ‘biophilic’ elements in their developments next year.

‘I am always inspired by the natural world,’ says Suss. ‘ I think biophilic design will be key in 2022.’ 

The other shades vying for supremacy in 2022 include Dulux’s selection Bright Skies, an airy blue that aims to inspire hope. Dulux recommends several palettes to accompany Bright Skies such as Greenhouse.

This array of blues and greens encompasses Fresh Foliage and Calming Meadow.

Breakfast Room Green, a cheery tone ideal for kitchens, and Stone Blue, a light indigo, are among the five shades that Farrow & Ball is tipping as the colours of 2022. 

The company is also backing the elegant School House White, along with Incarnadine, a dramatic crimson, and Babouche, a sunny yellow.

F&B senses people are ready to step outside their comfort zone which could augur well for Very Peri. 

But, in the short term, this shade seems less likely to suddenly explode than to be seen in small touches, such as Dark Flowers, a £23.95 poster print featuring sultry purple blooms from Desenio and purple cushions, such as the £25 cotton velvet cushion from Cotswold Company.

Loaf’s Joelle £2,345 19th-century style bed is available with a purple headboard for those who aspire to a more formal, almost regal setting after the pared-down aesthetic of the past two decades. But experimenting with Very Peri does not necessarily mean a break with the past.

It can look smart with any shade of beige or grey. Going with purple requires confidence. It will be interesting to see what’s in store for Very Peri over the next 12 months.

Savings of the week! Draught excluders 

William Morris print excluders from Lancashire company ReddandGoud come in different sizes

William Morris print excluders from Lancashire company ReddandGoud come in different sizes

The draught excluder, a long sausage-shaped pillow placed at the foot of a door, is a low-tech, planet-friendly means of staying cosy indoors.

This utilitarian item seems to inspire creativity among designers meaning that you can have warmth, plus aesthetic appeal. 

Low-cost options include the Kaia from The Range in charcoal, reduced from £11.99 to £10.99 and the Plush Bear in mustard at £5.59, down from £6.99. 

Not On The High Street’s cheery blue and red plaid version, pictured left, is reduced from £22 to £11.

The Snap Croc from Dora, a mid-price option, is down from £32 to £9.60. 

It resembles a crocodile whose aggression focuses on warding off chills. Wayfair’s Emmett excluder, with its prints of bees and ladybirds, reduced from £28.99 to £26.99 would lift any decor.

If you want to splash out, William Morris print excluders from Lancashire company ReddandGoud come in different sizes. The widest (99cm) is £40.80, from £48.

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