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Scorpio

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About Scorpio

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    Touring the UK, live music, cycling

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  1. Wow - they have had a huge price reduction! From the advert : PRICED TO SELL - REDUCED BY £50,000 Sold STC £99,900
  2. Hi, The link below got sent to me recently http://www.ianlavery.org.uk/wansbeck_in_westminster_24th_28th_october I thought you might find it interesting to see what your local MP has been up to, cheers, Pete
  3. When I was checking the planning applications I noticed a retrospective application for external shutters at Astons bar, it will be interesting to see if they are approved (or if they get removed if the application fails)
  4. I noticed the "for sale" board had changed to "sold" about 2 months ago but not seen any signs of activity or any planning applications. If I hear of anything I'll update here. Hopefully it will progress, rather than remain empty and continue to go downhill. On the subject of empty buildings on main shopping streets, I noticed Morpeth has a lot of large buildings sitting empty (Queens Hotel + Smails DIY + Jewsons in Oldgate etc), it's not just Bedlington that has the problem. cheers, Pete
  5. A friend told me about this last year but as I don't often need to dispose of bricks/plaster/rubble, it has not affected me until recently. I have just finished removing lots of 1970s tiles from the kitchen at my new house. Before loading the car with bags of old tiles and plaster I called into the local tips to ask advice. It turns out they won't accept cash. They did tell me I can buy a prepaid card in town and use that at the tip. Shame they also told me they need to see how much stuff I have in the car before they can tell me how much it will cost! So I either have to put lots of credit (which I know won't all be used) on their card, or load the car - go the the tip to find the price - then go into town and put credit on the card - then back to the tip to dump the rubbish and use the card. That won't be happening. Apparently you can also pay by credit card, but as I don't have one and manage to pay all my other bills without one I won't be using that option. I've also had problems with the tip being closed during the day as when they were moving the skips around inside. To add salt to the wound, the tip has a sign at the gate saying that flytipping is illegal and will be prosecuted. If the tip was open and did not charge for rubbish, I suspect a lot of flytipping would not happen. I know Wearside/Durham introduced a similar payment scheme within the last 10 years - then had to recruit additional staff to as the volume of stuff dumped around the area increased greatly. NCC are also making it very difficult to pay council tax with cash, I'm sure card payments suit them but cash is my only realistic option. If anyone wonders why flytipping is becoming more common, ask yourself if it's related to the recent charges/fees. (for info - I don't flytip - if anyone needs bags of old tiles for foundations just let me know) cheers, Pete
  6. I try to keep up-to-date with what's going on locally but I must have missed the plans for the marketplace. It will be interesting to see how well the new developments fit in with the existing conservation area requirements http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/WAMDocuments/54D8A65F-C44C-43A9-A7A0-96FE7ABD4A2D_3_0.pdf?nccredirect=1
  7. As an interested observer* it's all working fine now but it was a bit of shock when the changes happened ... followed by a day or so when my laptop couldn't remember my saved login details. It's memory came back today and it now logs in normally. ( I registered last year when I was planning to move to Bedlington, and keep browsing the site even though the move didn't happen) For info, I'm using Windows8 on a laptop, will check on a tablet at some point. cheers, Pete
  8. Hi, I saw a documentary just a couple of weeks ago hilighting that foreign criminals were buying London property to "launder" their cash, driving up the prices beyond the reach of normal UK folk. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/25/london-housing-market-launder-offshore-tax-havens Unrelated, I was working near Cambridge in the 1980s and got a lift one day from a professional driver who had just bought a new home at Peterborough (about 70 miles North of London) and was driving to work in London every day. He explained that he just couldn't afford London property prices. It's not a new problem.
  9. Maggie/915 : "I hope someone invests in the property who will develop the site quickly ." I had a brief chat with the current owner late last year (when the building was for sale for offers around £180,000 ), the 2012 date sounds about right for when he bought it. Hopefully someone will find a way to take it on as a project and sympathetically restore it, it would be a real shame if such a spectacular building was left to deteriorate or lost its character as part of its redevelopment. Some background http://www.bedlington.co.uk/community/topic/5958-bedlington-conservation-area-is-it-stopping-investment-in-the-town-center/ regards, Pete
  10. You could ask them to have a go at the hole in the chimney of Lairds House when they turn up (should be easy - the hole is big enough for the brickie to work in the loft and lean out of !) Hopefully it's ok to mention areas outside of Bedlington - let me know if not. A lot of Newcastle had the same problem in the 80s/90s, several of the Grainger buildings had listed / protected frontages so the developers kept the fronts and gutted the insides. pic of Binns (Farnons was same) http://i698.photobucket.com/albums/vv345/manorpark_photos/Binns1998demolitionforTJHughes.jpg more info here http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1005737&page=6 It depends what options are open to developers. I believe they need to pay VAT when buying materials etc to work on an existing building, but new builds / houses are VAT exempt. That's not an incentive to protect existing buildings. Planning departments etc will also influence what is practical. I may be an exception to the rule, but the only time I would consider living in a flat would be over a daytime shop (so you know there's no noisy neighbours when they go home at 5pm). I've also turned down a flat next to a taxi office / chippy as it would never be quiet. Guess it depends on the shop in question. There should always be a way, but it often needs a few different groups to agree the best way to get there (not easy when you have developers, planners, conservation, and funding teams all involved, all wanting to go in different directions...) Cheers, Pete
  11. Hi Foxy, tomotom, & everyone, I maybe should have mentioned that I'm just a individual with an interest in unusual buildings, not a business. Large companies & businesses may have the funds and influence available to persuade to council to allow changes which don't fit the conservation area document, I'm not willing to gamble that they would make an exception in my case - especially after discussing things with them. My cash is available now but there are limits so I need to know in advance what the approximate costs will be to make sure that I can afford to take on the project. One question keeps coming to mind : are the council trying to "freeze" the area as it used to be ( so preserve it exactly as it was in 2011) or are they trying to keep the "feel" of the area which has evolved & been developed over several centuries (and would have continued to evolve and develop if the conservation area had not been introduced) ? The Bedlington Conservation Area document can be found here : http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/idoc.ashx?docid=54d8a65f-c44c-43a9-a7a0-96fe7abd4a2d&version=-1 After speaking to some of the relevant council departments (mainly "Conservation" and "Planning Strategy") some of the items in the document that caused me concern are listed below : Page 9, 2.3 "Conservation areas do not prevent development from taking place. Rather, they are designed to manage change, controlling the way new development and other investment reflects the character of its surroundings. Being in a conservation area does tend to increase the standards required for aspects such as repairs, alterations or new building, but this is often outweighed by the „cachet‟ of living or running a business in a conservation area, and the tendency of a well-maintained neighbourhood character to sustain, or even enhance, property values." * Lairds House has a wonderful view of the Council "concrete box" offices across the road, topped with a big bright green "Jobcenter" sign and more antennaes than any other building in the area (do they really watch that much TV?). How does this fit with their policy? Or enhance the value of the area? P11, 2.3 "Bedlington, like other settlements in the area, shows no ongoing signs of serious economic decline, but does suffer from general long term under investment in fabric in historic buildings and spaces which requires regenerative investment. This would raise the quality of its appearance and the vitality as a local centre." * I agree investment is needed but is this being prevented by the same policy they introduced to protect the area? P35, 6.9 "Other key unlisted buildings include the following:  Laird‟s House (now the Top Club): this is both architecturally and historically interesting, created from an eighteenth century farm to Victorian pit offices to a modern private members‟ club and offices."* If it's a key building, why is being allowed to deteriorate and possible investment in it not being encouraged? There are several pages listing details of windows : P38 6.15 "The area‟s architecture relies on a handful of recurring features and detailing, treated in slightly different ways throughout, as influenced by the development history of the area and the use of each building. The features are:  masonry  doorways  windows"* I've removed some items from the list above, but left those which might cause problems when restoring the building 6.16 "Many of these details have been altered over time... Control over harmful changes to these elements will be important to preserving or enhancing the character and appearance of the conservation area in the future."* I approve of this in principle, but making it uneconomic to repair / replace rotting original windows cannot be the best solution.* I find it difficult to see how this works as many of the buildings in the conservation area hove been modernised over the last few centuries (and many now have modern - efficient - UPVC double glazing, etc) P43, 6.3 "Of the windows themselves, relatively few historic now survive, making those which do all the more important to the architectural character of the area."* Several of the existing window frames in the building have rotted badly and need replacing, the is no double-glazing anywhere in the building.* The council advised that they would only accept "like-for-like" replacements, ie (expensive, custom made) hardwood timber.* Modern UPVC double glazing would not be an option (despite many neighbouring buildings - including the council offices - having it) P62, 6.74 "Loss and Replacement of Original Architectural Details Widespread loss of original windows, replaced with either modern timber casements or with PVCu casements."* I agree it would be a shame to loose the original features, but the alternatives are to let the originals deteriorate or install custom made hardwood sash frames (which will cost many times more than modern UPVC) - I believe cost and restrictions are why many original frames are being left to deteriorate. P59, 6.66 "Other private gardens are less prominent and tend to be back gardens or yards, notably the large back yards on thenorth side of the street, many of which are largely unattractive .. most rear yards less prominent but illustrate historic development pattern and layout, and fragments of old walls walls, or fragments thereof, which are crucial to understanding the history of the place and in defining historic character to the rear of properties...Their protection is important."* There is no off-street parking at Lairds House but the large back garden has several existing hard-standing areas which could be used for secure parking. The council advised they would resist any changes (such as widening the footpath gate up to make a driveway gate - even though most other buildings on the street have made a similar - or more drastic - changes. Reason is that the rear walls in that area are of "significant historical interest" (I saw this the document a while ago but can't find it today) * I saw a reference that there is also a small collapsed outbuilding in the back garden which is "of historical significance" and should not be disturbed. Depending what this is and where it's at, may make it difficult to make full use of the back garden. P66, 6.76 "The general condition of the public realm in the conservation area is good, but the condition of many of the buildings is an on-going cause for concern, where investment and repairs have not kept apace with demand. Several buildings can be classed as being "at risk"... * Possibly due to incompatibility between groups wanting to invest and restrictions on on changes? P74, 8.8 "Demolition - Within conservation areas, the demolition of unlisted buildings requires conservation area consent."* I believe this includes changes to / removal of / even repairs to ... collapsed derelict outbuildings Apologies if it's hard work reading through the list above but it gives you an idea of how much time and effort I put into investigating the options before deciding I just couldn't risk taking project on. It's a real shame as I would have loved the opportunity. thanks for reading,Pete Just for reference (including the not-so-traditional garage door that's been built next to Lairds House..)
  12. Hi everyone, I'm semi-retired and have been looking for an interesting building to move into and make my home since I sold my house late last year. I was hoping to find something a bit different with lots of character and have found a few places in Bedlington since I started looking - no surprise given the history of the town. In the past I have lived (renting) in some unusual buildings including a pub, church, fire station, and several houses which were more like building sites due to the work that was being done to them. I like variety! The old church on Bedlington Front Street has been converted into 3 homes in recent years. One of the flats in there is now for sale and I had a look at it a couple of months ago, it's very nice inside but I'm looking for something that needs a bit of work to keep me occupied. I was chatting to the people who converted the building and they explained what work they had done, I got the impression that the job would have been much easier if the building had not been in Bedlington Conserrvation Area (where any changes - even very small - have to be pre-approved by Council departments in advance). One of the other buildings I like a lot and looked at more than once was Lairds House / "new" Top House Club. There's a brief discussion about it here : http://www.bedlington.co.uk/community/topic/5005-the-lairds-house/ It has been neglected for many years and would give me plenty of work to stop me getting bored but would be an amazing building if it was tidied up. The building needs a lot of repair work which would be expensive but this is mainly due to the size of the building rather than the work itself being complicated. As I do most of my own work for "fun", it would take me time but the cost would be affordable. As the building is in Bedlington Conservation Area, I spoke to a couple of departments in the council to get their views on me converting the building back to its' original - residential - use. It soon became obvious that they would like to see the building restored rather than continuing to deteriorate - * but * - any changes would have to fit with the Conservation Area Policy. As it's a lovely old building with lots of character, I was hoping it would be possible to repair it "sensibly" using modern equipment and techniques (partly to keep costs down - partly to increase insulation etc at the same time ) while keeping the buildings charm. The council departments I spoke to soon explained that they would oppose the fitting of modern repairs as in their view it would spoil the building. They explained that they regard modern double glazing as an unacceptable change... I approve of their desire to keep the character of the conservation area, but in this case it looks like it has resulted in the town loosing me as a possible investor who was willing and able to improve the town center. Hopefully someone will be along soon to restore the building to its former glory. I'll try to list the specific things that would cause problems when trying to restore the building, in case I've missed an obvious solution. Many thanks, Pete
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