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Why the right kind of shop next door can help sell your home

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Not many of us want to live on the doorstep of a chicken factory or recycling centre. But what if your home is near a thriving business of a more seductive kind?

It might initially throw up some uncertainty, but experts are quick to point out that it can be a real positive.

‘As the work-life-commute balance is altered, there is genuine appeal in being part of a community and knowing your local retailers,’ says Adam Stackhouse, head of developments and commercial investments at Winkworth estate agents in London.

Thriving: Tea rooms in the market town of Hawes, North Yorkshire. Having an attractive local business close on your doorstep can add value to your home

Thriving: Tea rooms in the market town of Hawes, North Yorkshire. Having an attractive local business close on your doorstep can add value to your home

And having a business as a neighbour can add saleability. ‘Being close to good amenities or businesses will increase demand for a house and help add to the speed at which the sale is progressed,’ says Simon Backhouse, director at Strutt & Parker’s Canterbury office.

Butchers and bakers help draw in buyers

Top of the shops to have as a neighbour is the traditional village-style store, even if you don’t live in a quaint English village.

‘Businesses that appeal to potential buyers are hubs of the community such as gift shops, butchers and bakers and particularly florists,’ says Mr Stackhouse. 

‘The practicality of spending more time indoors has created a real interest in retail on our doorsteps as communities spend more time appreciating their immediate locale.’

Mr Backhouse sees the same trend out of town, too. ‘Over the past few months, with people spending more time at home during the pandemic, the spotlight has been cast onto the resilience of local businesses and the sense of community that a locally run enterprise brings to a village,’ he says.

It’s a return to a more simple way of life, ‘with attitudes shifting towards a French model of consumption – buying fresh bread, groceries and meat on a daily basis – as opposed to a reliance on big supermarket chains, being next door to these businesses is increasingly attractive.’

And although small, a decent convenience shop can add to the appeal of your property. 

‘In Barham, Kent, the village store and post office is a community-run enterprise with all but one member of staff being volunteers,’ says Mr Backhouse.

‘It’s a fantastic little shop, almost like a small Fortnum & Mason. It’s created by the community, for the community, and it’s businesses like these that set one village apart from the rest.’

Cafes and restaurants are a recipe for community spirit 

It’s not just village-style shops that are attractive neighbours.

Hospitality also holds huge appeal, offering a chance to integrate into a new community. 

‘Living next door to a cafe can mean that you are in the thick of the local social scene,’ says Mr Backhouse.

‘You’re likely to get to know your neighbours, be involved in events and, if you’re a foodie, there may be edible benefits to being right next door.’

Independent businesses appeal, too; well-established restaurants can significantly boost property prices in an area. 

Research by estate agency Knight Frank found a 31 to 60 per cent uplift in house prices over five years in the areas where Ivy brasseries had opened.

Meanwhile, having a Michelin-starred restaurant on the doorstep can add 50 per cent to the value of a home, according to a survey by primelocation.com.

Attraction: Well-established restaurants or cafes can significantly boost property prices in an area

Attraction: Well-established restaurants or cafes can significantly boost property prices in an area

… but certain business can reduce a home’s value 

Of course, all neighbours are not equal, and some businesses can reduce the value of a property. 

Living next to a McDonald’s, for example, can subtract 24 per cent off the value of your home, according to a study by commercial property agents Savoy Stewart, while a Primark can knock off 23 per cent.

Shops and restaurants bring with them the customers, meaning congestion and parking can cause a headache.

And while your dream home might be a stone’s throw from a cute bakery now, it’s wise to be aware this might not always be the case.

Bradley Bernett, a residential conveyancing solicitor for Curwens LLP, warns: ‘You have to consider a number of possible factors when buying next to a commercial unit.

‘Think about how easy it will be to sell when the time comes, the amount of footfall near you and most of all the potential use of the building.

‘While something is a shop now, that might not always be the case, so it’s worth looking into what it could potentially become.’

The future is here

Although Covid restrictions have had a huge part to play, the pandemic has sped up what the market was already experiencing. 

The appeal of living near businesses is set to stay long after lockdowns have eased.

John Kelly, managing partner at Glasgow-based agents Corum, says: ‘People want to school their children and live their life in their own community.

‘Good schools, parks and recreational facilities will never go out of fashion, but the growing demand for great places to eat, drink and socialise is rising.’

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Tetchy Tánaiste stirs the Stormont pot

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Some of the most petulant reaction to the latest protocol row has come from Fine Gael, which may explain unwise comments on direct rule and a Border poll from Leo Varadkar.

Speaking at a Co-operation North event in Dublin on Tuesday night, the Tánaiste said direct rule was not a viable long-term alternative to devolution. If Stormont is not restored quickly other options must be considered, with the best forum to do so being the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIGC) of the Belfast Agreement.

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Tiny one-room flat with BATH in the lounge and kitchen by the bed is up for rent at £1,000-a-month

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Tiny one-room flat with BATH in the lounge and kitchen just few feet away from the bed goes up for rent for £1,000-a-month in London

  • A cramped studio flat that is up for rent in south London is so small it has a bath located in the lounge
  • The property, that is in the ‘highly sought after’ Wimbledon area, has a bed only feet away from the kitchen
  • Renters will have to fork out over £1,000-a-month to live in the odd space, though bills are included

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A tiny studio flat has been mocked because it costs over £1,000-a-month to rent and the bath is located in the lounge.

While the bed is found only feet away from the kitchen area, with a giant telly on the wall.

The south London property is on the market to rent for an eye-watering amount considering its size.

The bath is right by the back door leading out to a small private area on a patio garden.

The listing states that it has been ‘designed to maximise the space available’ and adds that the bathroom has ‘been cleverly designed to be fully hidden from view’, but this appears just to be a shower curtain.

A compact studio flat in Wimbledon is charging more than £1,000 a month for the luxury of having a bath in the lounge (pictured)

A compact studio flat in Wimbledon is charging more than £1,000 a month for the luxury of having a bath in the lounge (pictured)

The property's bed is located just feet away from the 'Kitchenette area', which boasts a microwave and kettle

The property’s bed is located just feet away from the ‘Kitchenette area’, which boasts a microwave and kettle

The flat has a 'self contained pied-a-tierre' (pictured) with a small table and two chairs

The flat has a ‘self contained pied-a-tierre’ (pictured) with a small table and two chairs

The flat in upmarket Wimbledon Village will cost lodgers £1,150 per month – or £265 per week – to live in it.

Bills are included within the rental and there is a secure parking space available.

One home hunter fumed: ‘London cost of living is so disgusting that you pay £1,150 per month to rent a bath in a bed/kitchen as advertised on Rightmove today.

‘Living in a decent home is an essential and fundamental basic human right.

‘It shouldn’t be a privileged novelty.’

The letting agent said it would be ideal for someone to rent for the Wimbledon tennis tournament which starts next month.

The All England Tennis Club, where the grass championship is hosted, is just half a mile away.

A Twitter user bashed the listing, calling the price of the studio flat 'disgusting'

A Twitter user bashed the listing, calling the price of the studio flat ‘disgusting’

The listing says the flat is 'finished to an exceptional standard' and is available for short term rent

The listing says the flat is ‘finished to an exceptional standard’ and is available for short term rent

The toilet is found opposite to the bath and appears to have more than a curtain separating it from the lounge, unlike the bath

The toilet is found opposite to the bath and appears to have more than a curtain separating it from the lounge, unlike the bath

It is being let by CHK Mountford and advertised via Rightmove, the property listing reads: ‘Set on the ground floor of a wonderful detached private residence in the heart of Wimbledon Village is this self-contained pied a tierre.

‘The property has been immaculately refurbished to a very high standard and has been cleverly designed to maximise the space available.

‘To the front of the property is a small private patio.

‘The room is fully furnished and there is a small kitchenette area complete with sink, microwave and fridge.

‘There is a separate WC and a bath which has been cleverly designed to be fully hidden from view if required plus a generous storage cupboard/wardrobe.

‘One parking space is available and is set behind the properties private gates offering complete secure parking.

‘This property would be ideal for a working professional looking for a weekday base and who is looking for something which is centrally located and finished to a high standard.

‘All bills are included within the monthly rental.

‘Available on a short or long term basis, please note that for a short term rental the cost would be on a weekly basis.

‘And would be at a higher rental amount than for a long term tenancy – please contact the office directly for verification of the weekly rental.

‘The property is available for rental during Wimbledon Tennis event and is the perfect base for those wanting to be close to the site and have secure parking in addition.’

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Truss made ‘turnips in truck’ Brexit remark about Ireland, former diplomat says

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UK foreign secretary Liz Truss told a US audience three years ago that the impact of a no-deal Brexit on Ireland would only “affect a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks,” a former UK diplomat said.

Alexandra Hall Hall, a former Brexit counsellor at the UK embassy in the US, disclosed on Twitter on Tuesday night that Ms Truss made the remarks to a US audience three years ago.

The former career diplomat revealed in an article she wrote in a US academic journal last year that a UK government minister made the remarks but she did not identify the minister at the time.

Last night Ms Hall Hall retweeted a tweet by Ms Truss in which the foreign secretary said the UK government’s “first priority is to uphold the Belfast Agreement” – the 1998 deal that underpins the Northern Ireland peace process. Ms Truss shared a link to her House of Commons speech in which she set out plans to introduce legislation to override the Northern Ireland Brexit deal.

Retweeting the message, Ms Hall Hall said: “So pleased to see Liz Truss become a genuine expert on Irish matters. She was, after all, the minister who told a US audience three years ago that Brexit would not have any serious impact in Ireland . . . it would merely ‘affect a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks.’”

‘Under strain’

Ms Truss told the UK parliament that the protocol had put the Belfast Agreement “under strain” because of opposition by Unionist parties, citing this as a reason to plan to introduce new legislation in the coming weeks to scrap parts of the Northern Ireland Brexit deal.

Ms Hall Hall wrote in the Texas National Security Review journal last year that during her time as a diplomat in Washington, DC that Boris Johnson’s government damagingly played down the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland’s peace process in statements intended for US audiences.

She resigned from her job in late 2019 because she said she was unwilling to “peddle half-truths on behalf of a government I do not trust,” she said in her resignation letter.

In her article last autumn, she described the “turnip” remarks – without naming Ms Truss at the time – as a “low point” of her time in Washington when the UK minister “openly and offensively” in front of a US audience dismissed the impact of a no-deal Brexit on Irish businesses.

Ms Truss, then the UK secretary of state for international trade, was visiting Washington at the time to meet the then US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and the US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, both members of US president Donald Trump’s administration, and other politicians.

In the academic article, she said he had become “increasingly dismayed by the way in which our political leaders have tried to deliver Brexit, with reluctance to address honestly, even with our own citizens, the challenges and trade-offs which Brexit involves.”

She took issue in the article – entitled: “Should I stay or should I go? The dilemma of a conflicted civil service – with the UK government’s “use of misleading or disingenuous arguments about the implications of the various options” with Brexit.

Ms Hall joined the UK foreign office in 1986 and served in various roles around the world, including in Bangkok, New Delhi and Bogota before serving as British ambassador in Georgia.

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