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Gower’s spectacular coastline helps make it the ‘Monaco of Wales’

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Gower’s spectacular coastline, Michelin restaurants and pricey properties all explain why it’s the ‘Monaco of Wales’, says FRED REDWOOD

Which Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty comes top when judged by house price premiums? 

It could be a question set for an estate agents’ quiz night — and you might imagine the answer to be the Cotswolds perhaps, where the likes of the Beckhams and Jeremy Clarkson have homes. 

Or South Devon, where wealthy weekend sailors drop anchor. But you’d be wrong on both counts. Top of the list is a 70 square mile peninsula near Swansea — Gower. 

Pristine: Gower begins in Mumbles, a former fishing village, with Port Eynon beach pictured

Pristine: Gower begins in Mumbles, a former fishing village, with Port Eynon beach pictured

According to the Land Registry, the price of a detached house in the Gower is 78 per cent higher than just three miles outside the boundary. 

‘The Gower property market has changed dramatically in recent years,’ says Daniel Rees of Savills in Cardiff. ‘It has traditionally been popular with retirees but now ex-pat parents with young children are moving back here.’ 

They have fond memories of the beaches from their own childhood and want the same for their kids.’ 

Gower begins in Mumbles, a former fishing village now nicknamed The Monaco of Wales thanks to a collection of high-end restaurants, bistros and fashion shops. 

Famous faces are often seen here — Bonnie Tyler has a house behind high hedges on the front; Joanna Page of Gavin & Stacey fame makes regular visits home, while Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have a home overlooking the Lighthouse. And if you drop into the yacht club, you may see Robert Pugh, who played Craster in Game Of Thrones. The little fishermen’s cottages lining the hill make ideal second homes or investment properties and many have been given facelifts. 

The average price of a terraced cottage is £250,000 according to Rightmove — and it’s more if you want somewhere to park your car. 

Gower is a patchwork of different social landscapes. The Mediterranean vibe of Mumbles is soon replaced by the well-heeled suburbia of Caswell and Langland. 

Daniel Rees describes Langland as the ‘jewel in Gower’s crown’ — with some justification. 

Pretty beach huts stand next to the car parks; you can either walk the coastal path or watch the surfers from its brasserie above the beach. Prices are high, for Wales. An apartment overlooking the bay will set you back £500,000.

Variety is the essence of Gower’s charm. ‘North Gower with its salt marshes and wild ponies feels a lot wilder than the tourist beaches,’ says retired chartered accountant Jeannette McLellan, 64, who moved to the village of Llanmadoc four years ago having lived in Swansea and before that, London. 

‘Then you have downlands in the centre of the Gower and the rocky coves and the beaches of the south where it’s not unusual to see seals, dolphins and porpoises.’ 

Famous faces: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have a home overlooking the Lighthouse

Famous faces: Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have a home overlooking the Lighthouse

Rees has also noticed many more people moving to Gower to work from home, perhaps reporting to the office a few times a week. 

Being within range of the M4 (London is under four hours away) is important for these buyers and this is more accessible from villages closer to Swansea such as Southgate, Penmaen and Bishopston, which has a comprehensive school judged ‘excellent’ by Estyn, the Welsh Ofsted. 

The restaurants are another attraction. The Beach House at Oxwich has a Michelin star, while The Welcome to Town at Llanrhidian and the King Arthur at Reynoldston have glowing reputations. It’s worth noting broadband can be a bit patchy the further west you go.

It’s easy to see what makes the Gower beaches so popular. Port Eynon, with its whitewashed cottages has a Devonian feel. Three Cliffs is pretty while Rhossili has a three-mile sandy beach. 

Investing in a cottage as a holiday let can pay dividends. The tourist board has done much to publicise Gower and according to Zoopla house prices have risen 10.58 per cent in the past year. 

The Old Rectory, standing above Rhossili beach, is often booked two years in advance. It would set you back £1,884. 

Move to Gower and you will find a few beaches still relatively secluded. Park near Southgate Social Club (with its picture of Michael Douglas pulling a pint) head down a little lane and you will find the delightful Pobbles. 

Tor Bay is another gem. 

What is it like to live in Gower? ‘The traffic can be a pain in summer,’ says Jeannette. ‘But we have the place to ourselves again in winter. That’s my favourite time to live here. I’d never leave.’ 

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Oscar-winning La La Land star Emma Stone places three-bedroom Malibu home up for sale for $4.2M

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Oscar-winning La La Land star Emma Stone places three-bedroom Malibu home up for sale for $4.2 million

  • Stone, 33, purchased the oceanfront property for $3.25 in 2018
  • The home spans more than 1,700 sq. feet over 3.2 acres of property in the luxe Southern California area 
  • The home includes exquisite views of the Los Angeles cityscape, Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island 
  • Stone also owns houses in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas; and an apartment in Manhattan 

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Emma Stone is looking to sell her three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Malibu, California for $4.2 million.

The 33-year-old actress has listed the mid-century bungalow home on the real estate market, about four years after she purchased the oceanfront property for $3.25 in 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The one-story home belonging to the Oscar-winning La La Land star spans more than 1,700 sq. feet over 3.2 acres of property in the luxe Southern California area.

The latest: Emma Stone, 33, is looking to sell her three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Malibu, California for $4.2 million. The Academy Award-winning actress was snapped in Athens, Greece earlier this month

The latest: Emma Stone, 33, is looking to sell her three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Malibu, California for $4.2 million. The Academy Award-winning actress was snapped in Athens, Greece earlier this month 

Sotheby’s International Realty listing agent Eric Lavey, who is the listing agent on the property, described the home to the paper as ‘a classic 1958 California Midcentury hanging over the Pacific’ and ‘the Malibu beach house they would choose for a Nancy Meyers movie.’

The Scottsdale, Arizona-born beauty’s home includes exquisite views of the Los Angeles cityscape, Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island, and is within walking distance of nearby hiking trails and the beach.

The Cruella star’s house, which has been renovated in recent years, has a state-of-the-art kitchen with gold accents.

The living room of the abode is centered around a fireplace encased in a white brick column, as floor-to-ceiling windows in the home allow for sunlight to pour in.

The living room of the abode is centered around a fireplace encased in a white brick column

The living room of the abode is centered around a fireplace encased in a white brick column

The home boasts amazing views of the Pacific Ocean via multiple angles and vantage points

The home boasts amazing views of the Pacific Ocean via multiple angles and vantage points 

The home features a dining area outdoors which is sequestered by eucalyptus and yucca trees

The home features a dining area outdoors which is sequestered by eucalyptus and yucca trees

A dining room in the home sits adjacent to an outdoor patio

A dining room in the home sits adjacent to an outdoor patio 

A bathroom in the home has a standalone bathtub along with a rain shower.

The home features a dining area outdoors which is sequestered by eucalyptus and yucca trees, and a patio with a panoramic view of the coast.

Other amenities the home features includes a recreation room and art studio.

The Cruella star's house, which has been renovated in recent years, has a state-of-the-art kitchen

The Cruella star’s house, which has been renovated in recent years, has a state-of-the-art kitchen 

The home is made of white brick and wood with gold accents and state-of-the-art appliances

The home is made of white brick and wood with gold accents and state-of-the-art appliances 

A dine-in area sits adjacent to the kitchen in the stunning beach home

A dine-in area sits adjacent to the kitchen in the stunning beach home 

In the years since she acquired the home, Stone in 2020 wed writer Dave McCary, 36, and the couple welcomed a baby daughter in March of 2021.

According to the paper, Stone also owns houses in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas; and an apartment in Manhattan.

Lavey told the paper that he expected the house to sell quickly, as there is a scarcity of homes in that price range in Malibu, and residents of other well-heeled Los Angeles locales such as Beverly Hills or Holmby Hills are partial to purchasing smaller beach homes.

A master bedroom in the home outlooks a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean

A master bedroom in the home outlooks a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean 

Floor-to-ceiling windows in the home allow for sunlight to pour into the home

Floor-to-ceiling windows in the home allow for sunlight to pour into the home 

A bathroom in the home includes a rain shower and standalone tub

A bathroom in the home includes a rain shower and standalone tub

A shower in the bathroom has a glass door with gold fixtures

A shower in the bathroom has a glass door with gold fixtures 

A brick-lined patio area boasts a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean

A brick-lined patio area boasts a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean 

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More than 9,000 artists apply for universal basic income scheme

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More than 9,000 artists have applied for a new dedicated basic income scheme which will see successful applicants receive €325 a week.

Minister for the Arts Catherine Martin said there had been a “huge level of enthusiasm” for the scheme and described the plans as a “watershed moment” for the sector.

Assessment of the applications has started and the process will take a number of weeks given the high volume received.

The basic income scheme was launched in April when the Government announced the payment would be made available to 2,000 applicants in total.

The Coalition has said the objective of the scheme is to address the earnings instability that can be associated with the intermittent and sometimes project-based nature of work in the arts.

The process for selecting successful applicants will be non-competitive, so once a person satisfies the eligibility criteria they will be included in a randomised selection process to pick the successful 2,000. It is understood unsuccessful but eligible applicants will be invited to participate in a control group to help with an appraisal of the pilot scheme.

A basic income for artists was the main recommendation of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce set up in 2020 to examine how the sector could adapt and recover from the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme opened for applications on April 12th and closed on Thursday, May 12th.

The Department of Arts said the highest number of applications came from those in the visual arts sector, followed by those involved in music, then film and then literature.

‘Watershed moment’

Speaking to The Irish Times, Ms Martin said it represented “a watershed moment in the funding of artistic practice in Ireland”.

“The new measure makes a statement about our values as a nation – that the voices of artists have been heard and that the arts matter. This is a unique opportunity to research the impact a basic income could have on the arts and to provide the evidence base for a permanent support.

“I am very pleased with the huge level of enthusiasm for the basic income for the arts pilot scheme and am delighted that over 9,000 artists and creative arts workers were willing to participate in this innovate research project.”

Mr Martin said the scheme “heralds a new approach to the way the State funds and recognises her artists and I look forward to seeing the data and findings of the research during the pilot”.

There had been significant interest in the new scheme for artists from other countries, media and practitioners, which indicated the enthusiasm in the arts globally for the move, the Minister added.

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Neinver begins construction of Alpes The Style Outlets (FR)

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NEINVER has resumed construction works at Alpes The Style Outlets, which once completed will mark the company’s 17th outlet centre across 6 European countries. The company broke ground last March and works are advancing on schedule, with the development of three platforms that will house the main building and car park all well underway. Alpes The Style Outlets, which will be NEINVER’s second outlet centre in France, boasts an exceptional location near the Swiss border, close to Geneva and next to key tourist destinations. It will feature 20,400m² of GLA, over 90 boutiques and restaurants providing both local and international cuisine.

 

“France is a strategic market for NEINVER. Our aim is to develop and operate this centre with the local community firmly involved, providing it with an exciting leisure option, while also contributing to improving the region’s economic and social development,” commented Daniel Losantos, NEINVER Chief Executive Officer. “Outlet centres have shown continued resilience, and this development is a clear vote of confidence in the sector and in the opportunity the site offers to brands to further grow their business.”

 

Located 25 minutes from Geneva, the scheme will offer 1,350 parking spaces and will have direct access to the A-40 motorway, a key transport link between France and Switzerland and to popular winter destinations. It will also be easily accessible by high-speed train thanks to the Paris to Geneva connection, with a TGV station located just 5 minutes from the future centre.

 

“We are seeing keen interest from our brand partners in this one-of-a-kind project due to its exciting retail proposition and its unique location, with great brands such as Adidas, Guess and Levi’s already joining the scheme”, said Joan Rouras, NEINVER Leasing and Retail Director. The centre is exceptionally well located in the Grand Genève area, which enjoys a strong purchasing power and high levels of tourism. The region has also seen a spike in population growth in recent years and is expected to continue increasing significantly in the coming years. To attract these customers, we are designing a destination that will feature an exclusive retail mix of sought-after international brands and the best of what the local area has to offer – a compelling offer for any fashion lover or avid sports fan.”

 

Finely tuned to the local landscape, Alpes The Style Outlets will offer an avant-garde atmosphere, combining natural materials such as wood and stone for a contemporary look. In this open mall concept designed in an “Alpine village” style with chalet-style shops and terraces, NEINVER plans to create a promenade destination and a relaxing day-out providing much more than just shopping. Lyon-based SEV Architectures will project monitor the construction under the coordination and supervision of Arcadis, leading global design and consultancy.

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