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Neighbours was right: Cul-de-sacs are great places to live

They have long been the butt of metropolitan snobbery and lame jokes about middle-class suburbia. 

Yet, thanks to one sun-blushed, dead-end street, the cul-de-sac burrowed its way into the nation’s hearts.

Little wonder when news broke recently that Neighbours was ending its 37-year run this summer, fans of the Aussie soap were bereft. 

After all, the residents of Ramsay Street enjoyed an especially idyllic version of the cul-de-sac. A snug depiction of the convivial joy of cheek-by-jowl living.

Peaceful: The fact cul-de-sacs have no-through roads means they can command property prices  that are 10% higher

Peaceful: The fact cul-de-sacs have no-through roads means they can command property prices  that are 10% higher

A place where someone is always around to share a cuppa, lend you almost anything or look after your cat if you’re called away.

Speaking as someone who has lived in a cul-de-sac for 26 years (albeit in rainy Manchester) much of this is true. 

The sense of inter-dependence and communal spirit is palpable. We keep careful watch over each other’s homes and children and are always ready to dawdle in the street for a bit of a chat. Heck, we even have a WhatsApp group.

Cul-de-sac was originally a French anatomical term referring to a vessel or tube with only one opening. 

Literally translated as ‘bottom of the bag’, cul-de-sacs are usually shaped like ice cream scoops: shortish one-way streets with a round turning point.

They can also be a canny investment, says Jonathan Rolande, from The National Association of Property Buyers.

‘A cul-de-sac can be a small area that has its own pricing within a larger area — a kind of property oasis. The right cul-de-sac could command prices up to 10 per cent more than property immediately outside on a through road.

‘So, my tip is to look at each as an individual location, don’t just base values on property nearby — it could be the local oasis.’

Jonathan Hopper, CEO of Garrington Property Finders, says: ‘Assuming you choose a cul-de-sac that’s already fully built, there’s also little chance of new houses sprouting up around you.’

End of an era: Jason Donovan and Kylie were in Neighbours

End of an era: Jason Donovan and Kylie were in Neighbours

It was the ancient Egyptians who first devised the concept of the cul-de-sac. Archaeologists found up to 15 dead-end streets built for workers constructing the Pyramid of Senusret II at El-Lahun, which was erected in 1878 BC.

Dead-end streets also appeared during the classical period of Athens and Rome, possibly developed as a defensive measure to trap or keep out foreign invaders. (Though in our little test tube of a road, the closest we’ve ever come to open warfare are mild rebukes about visitors who double park).

Cul-de-sacs were formally enshrined in planning law with the Hampstead Garden Suburb Act 1906. This led to the creation of so-called garden towns like Welwyn Garden City as planners looked for ways to make the most of the land.

Cul-de-sacs went on to have their heyday during the inter-war building boom and again in the 1960s and 1970s.

However, they have since suffered criticism in the highest of quarters. Not least in 2007 when the Home Builders Federation joined forces with the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment to back design principles that aim to encourage a move away from suburban sprawl and a return to more traditional street patterns.

Not least, so the thinking went, because cul-de-sacs encouraged car dependence due to a lack of local amenities. 

One academic even worked out that the average cul-de-sac resident was 6lb heavier than those living in grid-like developments because of this (cultural note — I’m a size 10).

However, ‘green’ ambitions aside, the benefits of living in a cul-de-sac are manifold. Save for keepers of errant satnav devices, there is no passing traffic.

Noise can, though, come from other sources. As Rick Gannon, managing director of New Era Property Training says: ‘You are more likely to be aware of children playing in the cul-de-sac and the comings and goings of neighbours and their visitors, so you may have less privacy with your neighbours.’

It can also, quite literally, be a squeeze to move when it’s bin day, or the supermarket delivery trucks are out in force.

There are other practicalities, advises Jonathan Hopper if you are thinking of buying in a cul-de-sac.

‘Check if it’s a non-adopted road — that is, it’s not the responsibility of the local council, but rather that it’s up to property owners to pay for its maintenance. 

‘If this is the case, you need to know if there’s an agreement between property owners to split this cost, and if so what your liability would be.’

Yet such challenges, in my view, are worth it. Soap operas may, sadly, come and go. But real neighbours do become good friends.

On the market… suburban bliss 

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Would YOU live here? Seaside cottage with stunning coastal views is branded ‘uninhabitable’ and ‘unsafe’ in listing – but is on the market for just £75,000

  • Woodbine Cottage in Ardersier, near Inverness has been put on the market 
  • The four-bedroom home has remarkable views of the Moray Firth 

A seaside cottage with stunning coastal views has been branded ‘uninhabitable’ and ‘unsafe’ in its listing – but has still gone on the market for just £75,000.

Potential buyers of Woodbine Cottage in Ardersier, near Inverness, may get some remarkable views of the Moray Firth, but also face a massive renovation job to make the building fit to live in.

Photos show the interior of the four-bedroom home, which has been vandalised and left littered with old clothes and belongings.

The property will require extensive works throughout, but Auction House Scotland believes it ‘offers a fantastic opportunity to create a stunning family home’.

The house, which includes a garage, has been ‘extensively extended’ to create a total floor area of over 350 sqm – which could be converted into a family home or a rental opportunity.

Woodbine Cottage in Ardersier, near Inverness, comes with a remarkable view of the Moray Firth - but potential buyers face a massive renovation job

Woodbine Cottage in Ardersier, near Inverness, comes with a remarkable view of the Moray Firth – but potential buyers face a massive renovation job

Photos show the interior of the home, which has been vandalised and left littered with old clothes and belongings

Photos show the interior of the home, which has been vandalised and left littered with old clothes and belongings

The seaside cottage has been branded 'uninhabitable' and 'unsafe' in its listing

The seaside cottage has been branded ‘uninhabitable’ and ‘unsafe’ in its listing

The property will require extensive works throughout, but Auction House Scotland believe the house 'offers a fantastic opportunity to create a stunning family home'

The property will require extensive works throughout, but Auction House Scotland believe the house ‘offers a fantastic opportunity to create a stunning family home’

‘The property further offers garden areas to front and rear, with the upper floor balconies enjoying great views over the Moray Firth,’ reads the listing.

‘The property is currently unhabitable, hence no Home Report is available, but a full programme of works would add massive value and offers the opportunity to adapt the current accommodation format subject, of course, to any required permissions/warrants.

‘The potential and value on offer is sure to attract strong levels of demand and, as such, early viewing is essential to avoid missing out.’ 

The original stone built dwelling has been extensively extended with the addition of north and south wings to create a total floor are in excess of 350 sq.

Auction House Scotland believe the property offers a fantastic opportunity to create a ‘stunning family home’ or to be rented out to holidaymakers. 

They also claim that a full programme of works would add ‘massive value’ to the building. 

The stunning view of the Moray Firth seen from the property

The stunning view of the Moray Firth seen from the property 

Auction House Scotland believe the property offers a fantastic opportunity to create a 'stunning family home' or to be rented out to holidaymakers

Auction House Scotland believe the property offers a fantastic opportunity to create a ‘stunning family home’ or to be rented out to holidaymakers

They also claim that a full programme of works would add 'massive value' to the building

They also claim that a full programme of works would add ‘massive value’ to the building

Once renovations are completed, the property will have a council tax band of C.

Mandi Cooper, Managing Director of Auction House Scotland, said: ‘Woodbine Cottage is certainly a project suited to a keen developer or investor, and it deserves to be lovingly renovated back to its former glory.

‘With huge opportunity to add value, and holiday lets in the Highlands being an ever-popular way to generate income, this would also be ideal for serviced accommodation providers.’

Woodbine Cottage will go to auction on May 30 with Auction House Scotland, with a viewing date of May 22

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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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