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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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How a Dublin house sold for €13.25m but stayed under the radar

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It is often said that things get lost in translation. That’s the beauty of language, that it isn’t linear; but when it comes to illustrating the housing market, a data picture paints a thousand words.

Surveying the property price register, or PPR, is a national pasttime for many. While the Property Services Regulatory Authority has always pointed out that it isn’t a price index, most pedestrian users use it to see what certain homes sold for. Such curiosity gets the better of most of us. Neighbours will always want to know what Mary down the road got for her place. What Mary’s place sold for is in the public domain, if you can find it. And the amount it made might even prompt her neighbours to consider doing likewise.

The register isn’t perfect. Senior economist Siobhán Corcoran, associate director at Sherry FitzGerald, leads a team that spends days per quarter cleaning its data, eliminating the multiple private rental sector and social housing sales to get a clearer picture of the market. She downloads the listings, by either county or city, and has her team go through it to get a clearer picture.

The lists give the address of the property, what it sold for and the property type: a new dwelling house/apartment; second-hand dwelling house/apartment; or the lesser-spotted teach/árasán cónaithe atháimhe. Because the data is entered manually there is the risk of human error, meaning some are logged incorrectly.

It is every citizen’s personal choice to register the sale of their home in either Irish or English. Irish is our first language and has dual status.

And yet while it is our right to log the property in the Irish language, very few sales are actually are registered as Gaeilge.

“While many of the housing estates in Ireland have Irish names, the proportion of PPR entries logged with an Irish address in its entirety, including county in the address field is minute, zero point zero zero per cent over the last number of years,” Corcoran explains. “Properties on the register listed as the proportion of PPR entries logged as a ‘teach/árasán cónaithe atháimhe’ have been in single digits over the past number of years.”

When you download the CCV text file for the Dublin listings so far this year, just one abode – in Diswellstown, Baile Átha Cliath 15 – is described thus.

A sale that garnered a lot of attention was Lissadell, number 9 Shrewsbury Road in Dublin 4, which was described in this newspaper as having been purchased by Marlet chief Pat Crean last June, and yet to appear on the register but believed to have sold for in excess of €11 million.

In a letter to the editor of this newspaper on September 20th, Simon Twist helpfully pointed out that the transaction was listed as Uimhi [sic] a Naoi, Botha [sic] Sriusbaire, Dublin 4, and that it sold for €13.25 million on May 19th. The difference is some 17 per cent. (This is the highest price achieved in Dublin, according to the register; in June, Stripe co-founder John Collison paid about €20 million for the Abbey Leix estate, in Co Laois.)

As it is written, the address of Lissadell is near-impossible to find unless you know this exact spelling. It doesn’t come up when you simply search for properties listed in Ballsbridge, for example.

The classifications are often a confusing hybrid of English and Irish. Corcoran says that most of these properties with “full” Irish addresses have not been classified as a “teach/árasán cónaithe atháimhe” in the description field. While the Shrewsbury address “Uimhi a Naoi, Bótha Sriúsbaire” is logged in Irish, it is not classified as a “teach/árasán cónaithe atháimhe”.

Galway-city based conveyancying solicitor Mark Killilea has a suggestion for solving this difficulty. Just go to landdirect.ie, find the relevant folio where the property will be listed as registered. “It’s just another hurdle, but not an insurmountable one,” he says.

But should we have to jump through these hurdles at all? Cork-based software engineer Eddie Long believes it shouldn’t be up to the inputter to decide on what way the address is entered. “At present the freeform index allows whatever they like. Instead the inputter should have to choose from a dropdown menu of addresses, like that used to determine Eircode listings.”

Should these listings be in English or Irish? “Irish is an officially appointed language, so it should in both.”

Citizens are entitled just to list the address in Irish. But the process should be transparent. Ba mhaith linn trédhearcacht.

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Robbie Williams lists sprawling 72-acre country estate for £6.75 million

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Robbie WIlliams has listed his sprawling 72-acre country estate for £6.75 million.

The Take That crooner, 47, used the home as a rural retreat for his wife Ayda Field and their children, having purchased it in 2009 for £8.1 million.

The property is located close to the quaint village of Compton Bassett in Wiltshire about 85 miles from London

Take that! Robbie WIlliams has listed his sprawling 72-acre country estate for £6.75 million

Take that! Robbie WIlliams has listed his sprawling 72-acre country estate for £6.75 million

Ready to move on: The Take That crooner, 47, used the home as a rural retreat for his wife Ayda Field and their children, having purchased it in 2009 for £8.1 million

Big family: Robbie and Ayda, 42, share Theodora, eight, Charlton, six, two-year-old Colette and youngest son Beau, one

Ready to move on: The Take That crooner, 47, used the home as a rural retreat for his wife Ayda Field and their children, having purchased it in 2009 for £8.1 million. Robbie and Ayda, 42, share Theodora, eight, Charlton, six, two-year-old Colette and youngest son Beau, one

Robbie said, via the listing agent Knight Frank: ‘Compton Bassett House has been the perfect escape for our family. The gardens and trees have enchanted us with their magic, and on rainy days – of which there are many in England – we have played and splashed around the indoor pool, much to our delight.’ 

Robbie and Ayda, 42, share Theodora, eight, Charlton, six, two-year-old Colette and youngest son Beau, one.

The property boasts its own parkland and woods, as well as a football pitch, on which soccer-mad Robbie will have no doubt enjoyed honing his ball skills.

Also outside in the grounds is a helicopter hangar, a walled garden with a pavilion, a tennis court, and paddocks for horses. 

Robbie said, via the listing agent: 'On rainy days - of which there are many in England - we have played and splashed around the indoor pool, much to our delight'

Robbie said, via the listing agent: ‘On rainy days – of which there are many in England – we have played and splashed around the indoor pool, much to our delight’

Sprawling: The floorplan shows the layout of the impressive three-storey mansion

Sprawling: The floorplan shows the layout of the impressive three-storey mansion

Serene: The property boasts a walled garden with a pavilion, a tennis court, and paddocks for horses

Serene: The property boasts a walled garden with a pavilion, a tennis court, and paddocks for horses

Chopper-ready: Also outside in the grounds is a helicopter hangar

Chopper-ready: Also outside in the grounds is a helicopter hangar

The mansion itself is spread across 19,913 square feet, boasting seven bedrooms, and eight bathrooms.

There are five reception rooms and an indoor pool, a gym, a steam room, and a billiards room.

The gourmet chef’s kitchen is an impressive feature of the home with a stunning blue wooden island and a sprawling dining space for large gatherings.

Robbie and American actress Ayda’s quirky tastes are evident throughout – with giant dog sculptures lined around the hardwood floored cooking space. 

Music mogul: Robbie shot to fame as one fifth of 90s boyband Take That [pictured in the early 1990s with Jason Orange, Howard Donald, Gary Barlow and Mark Owen]

At it alone: Robbie has become the only one of the band to carve out a particularly successful solo career, since going on to collaborate with stars such as Nicole Kidman [pictured  in 2001]

Music mogul: Having shot to fame as one fifth of 90s boyband Take That [pictured L in the early 1990s with Jason Orange, Howard Donald, Gary Barlow and Mark Owen] Robbie has become the only one of the band to carve out a particularly successful solo career, since going on to collaborate with stars such as Nicole Kidman [pictured R in 2001] 

Rural retreat: 'Compton Bassett House has been the perfect escape for our family. The gardens and trees have enchanted us with their magic,' Robbie said of the estate

Rural retreat: ‘Compton Bassett House has been the perfect escape for our family. The gardens and trees have enchanted us with their magic,’ Robbie said of the estate

Sweeping: The property is located close to the quaint village of Compton Bassett in Wiltshire

Sweeping: The property is located close to the quaint village of Compton Bassett in Wiltshire

Quirky: The gourmet chef's kitchen is an impressive feature of the home with a stunning blue wooden island and a sprawling dining space for large gatherings

Quirky: The gourmet chef’s kitchen is an impressive feature of the home with a stunning blue wooden island and a sprawling dining space for large gatherings

Extra space: There is also a detached cottage which joins two staff flats to provide extra accommodation for staff or guests

Extra space: There is also a detached cottage which joins two staff flats to provide extra accommodation for staff or guests

The property features modern classical architecture and several stone fireplaces.

There is also a detached cottage which joins two staff flats to provide extra accommodation for staff or guests.

The home features a long stony driveway, rolling up to the impressive 1929 home – previously owned by the famous architect Sir Norman Foster.

Other features include stone mullioned windows, a study and a hidden staircase to the floor above. 

Part-timer: Robbie still dips in and out of performing with Take That [pictured in 2018]

Part-timer: Robbie still dips in and out of performing with Take That [pictured in 2018]

Master suite: The mansion itself is spread across 19,913 square feet, boasting seven bedrooms

Master suite: The mansion itself is spread across 19,913 square feet, boasting seven bedrooms

Modern meets regal: The property features modern classical architecture and several stone fireplaces

Modern meets regal: The property features modern classical architecture and several stone fireplaces

Niche: The décor and accents are a clear nod to their eccentric owners

Niche: The décor and accents are a clear nod to their eccentric owners

‘Although our clients are sad to be leaving, they’re certain that the next owners will love it as much as they have,’ the listing agent said. ‘The house has the benefit of being on the edge of the village but also has beautiful gardens, and grounds surrounding it providing complete privacy and protection.’

Having shot to fame as one fifth of 90s boyband Take That, Robbie has become the only one of the band to carve out a particularly successful solo career.

Despite his wild child younger years, he has recently established himself firmly as a family man, marrying Los Angeles native Ayda in 2010. 

Style secrets: Robbie and American actress Ayda's quirky tastes are evident throughout - with giant dog sculptures lined around the hardwood floored home [pictured in 2018]

Style secrets: Robbie and American actress Ayda’s quirky tastes are evident throughout – with giant dog sculptures lined around the hardwood floored home [pictured in 2018]

Decadent: The home features a whopping eight bathrooms, some with freestanding tubs

Decadent: The home features a whopping eight bathrooms, some with freestanding tubs

Quirky: Robbie and American actress Ayda's quirky tastes are evident throughout - with one poster featuring a play on words from his Let Me Entertain You song - 'Let Me Excavate You'

Quirky: Robbie and American actress Ayda’s quirky tastes are evident throughout – with one poster featuring a play on words from his Let Me Entertain You song – ‘Let Me Excavate You’

60s meets modern: There are five reception rooms and an indoor pool, a gym, a steam room, and a billiards room

60s meets modern: There are five reception rooms and an indoor pool, a gym, a steam room, and a billiards room

Tranquil: The property boasts its own parkland and woods, as well as a football pitch, on which soccer-mad Robbie will have no doubt enjoyed honing his ball skills

Tranquil: The property boasts its own parkland and woods, as well as a football pitch, on which soccer-mad Robbie will have no doubt enjoyed honing his ball skills

Robbie quit Take That in 1995 but returned to the band between 2006-2011, on and off.

He still occasionally performs with them; the group continue on as a three-piece, with Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen. Fifth member Jason Orange quit in 2014.

Robbie’s solo career has seen him collaborate with the likes of Nicole Kidman and Kylie Minogue on tracks, and he has released 12 studio albums to date.

He is said to be worth £195 million, as reported by The Sunday Times in May 2021. 

Out in the sticks: The location is 85 miles away from London

Out in the sticks: The location is 85 miles away from London

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Property investors offended by ‘vulture funds’ label, conference hears

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People in Ireland need to stop calling property investment firms “vulture funds” and development and building rules need to stop changing if the housing crisis is to be solved, property and banking sector representatives have said.

Marie Hunt, executive director of research at real estate firm CBRE, told an Irish Council for Social Housing conference that the “fundamental problem” in the Irish housing market “is a lack of supply”.

She said bureaucracy and regularly changing public policy were also issues, noting the political discussion this week about potentially changing the link between rent and inflation because prices were rising.

Ms Hunt said investors were not going to come into a market where the rules kept changing halfway through the game.

She said that calling investors “vulture funds” was unhelpful and that name calling “in the media” should stop.

“We need that capital and we need that investment.”

She said investors who bought a nursing home or an office block were welcomed but that those who bought housing received very negative publicity “and they don’t need that”.

Take interest elsewhere

Pat O’Sullivan, head of real estate research at AIB, said policy changes were problematic and that the term “vulture fund” was offensive to investors, who could take their interest elsewhere.

He said Ireland isn’t the only economy that requires funding and “we have got to be very careful about the amount of changes we make to policy, how we describe the investment”.

Ms Hunt said that from a developer’s perspective, many housing schemes were not viable due to high construction and “input” costs and “because we have raised the bar so high in terms of the planning regime and design requirements”.

She instanced the judicial review process, which has been used to bring challenges to fast-track strategic planning developments, as another problem. Ms Hunt said “anecdotally” developers were hiring senior counsel and barristers ahead of planners and architects, such was the level of challenges.

The conference continues on Thursday.

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