That iconic Ian Brown quote, as comical as it may be, is one that’s hung over the city for years now, and could have a lot to with why rising numbers of Mancunians are said to be scoping out the property market in the Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe, but according to several industry experts, the hit ITV drama The Bay probably has a lot more to do with it.
Recent data collated and published by leading property search website Rightmove has revealed that searches for homes in Morecambe surged by 71% in the space of just a week, with the town recording a bigger seven-day increase in searches than anywhere else in Britain.
The average asking price of a home in Morecambe is currently £151,607, which is 6.4% more than a year ago.
The Lancashire town is known for its five-mile stretch of sandy beach and promenade, and streets lined with cafes, restaurants and hotels. Its seafront is home to an Eric Morecambe statue overlooking the bay – which has becoming a popular tourist attraction – as well as a renowned art deco-inspired hotel, The Midland, which has also been used as a location in the past for another popular ITV show – Agatha Christie’s Poirot.
It was also revealed last November that plans for the Eden Project North – part of a wider project aiming to “re-imagine Morecambe as a seaside resort for the 21st Century” – had taken a big step forward following a £70 million funding bid.
And now, with the return of the ITV show The Bay shining a light on the Northern town once again thanks to its second series, which hit screens a few weeks back, it’s easy to see why people are flocking to Morecambe.
The first series of the show drew in an average of 7.2 million viewers across six episodes alone.
Estate agents in Morecambe also believe the recent surge in property popularity is due to the fact you can bag yourself a range of properties sizes for pretty reasonable prices, which is prompting people who live in expensive cities to think about moving.
Speaking on the recent interest, Laura Fort – at Ibay Homes in Morecambe – said: “The Bay has certainly put Morecambe on the map in recent weeks.
“We’re already seeing lots of people moving here from Manchester and London, [which is] probably because you can get a real bargain and buy a four-bed house for about £150,000.”
It’s not just interest in properties for sale that has seen a recent hike either.
Searches for homes to rent were also up 22% over the same period, presumably from the show’s fans looking for a getaway by the ocean, with renting in Morecambe typically costing around £612 per month.
The recent surge for properties in Morecambe, however, is said to be part of a wider national interest in coastal living that has been identified as of late, with parts of Devon and Cornwall also seeing a jump as people re-evaluate their lifestyles due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to Rightmove data, the top 10 UK locations with the biggest weekly percentage increases in buyer searches are:
Morecambe, Lancashire – 71%
Looe, Cornwall – 59%
Ilfracombe, Devon – 43%
Saxmundham, Suffolk – 34%
Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland – 32%
Motherwell, Lanarkshire – 24%
Callington, Cornwall – 23%
Prudhoe, Northumberland – 22%
Camborne, Cornwall – 21%
Newquay, Cornwall – 20%
Tim Bannister – Director of Property Data at Rightmove – said: “People are watching TV shows such as The Bay and then scrolling through Rightmove on their devices to see what’s available.
“The same is true of Devon and Cornwall.
“There’s a number of Cornwall-focused lifestyle shows on TV at the moment and it’s hard not to get swept away dreaming about a life in the South West.
“We already know that rural and seaside areas are rising in popularity, so it’s a trend that bodes well for sellers in these locations.”
The Bay continues on ITV this Wednesday 3rd February.
Northern council could become first in England to charge second home owners double council tax
Those who own second homes in North Yorkshire could become the first in England to face a double council tax bill.
In what already sounds like a pretty groundbreaking move, North Yorkshire County Council is considering the introduction of a 100% council tax premium on second properties in the hugely-popular region, ITV reports.
It comes after local people, especially young families, expressed concerns that they are being priced-out of the housing market.
In a report to the Council’s executive, which is set to be discussed at a meeting today (Tuesday 20 September), it was explained that second home ownership within the North Yorkshire area is “significant” and is “recognised to have a negative impact” in terms of the supply of homes available in order to meet local housing need.
The report explained that the proposed new council tax levy would apply to properties that are left empty for more than a year.
It’s believed it could generate £14 million in revenue, the report said.
The report being discussed in today’s meeting follows a recommendation by the Rural Commission last year to place a charge on second homes to finance affordable housing, and comes after people in the North Yorkshire costal tourist town of Whitby voted in favour of new measures to reduce the number of homes being used for holiday accommodation.
It’s not the first time double council tax has been proposed in the region though, as a decision about a second homes premium was once postponed after some Council members said it could encourage council tax avoidance.
Others also said the measure would be difficult to implement – but it seems the Council is hoping it’ll be better received this time round.
Similar measures introduced in Wales have been cited for reasoning as to how it could work.
“The second homes figures in Wales suggest that, regardless of any avoidance issues that might remain within the system, there should still be sufficient incentive for the council to consider a council tax premium on second homes in order to help address the issues caused by second home ownership within the area,” the report reads.
Could it actually become a reality then? And could this be the start of second home council tax premiums in other counties? If approved, the measure would be introduced in North Yorkshire from April 2024.
First images released of huge redevelopment plans for Great Northern Warehouse
The first images of plans to redevelop the iconic Great Northern Warehouse complex in Manchester city centre have been released.
After Manchester City Council’s Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF) laid out ambitions back in 2017 for the historic Grade II-listed leisure complex to be established as a “cultural, business and residential” destination for the future, the owners of Great Northern have unveiled their plans to bring the building “back to vibrant life”.
Owners Trilogy Real Estate and Peterson want to “make best use of the six-acre site”.
They have set out plans for this to be done by improving Great Northern’s pedestrian connections to the rest of the city, removing the “unsightly” 1990s additions of car park ramps and the ‘leisure box’ which houses the cinema, and looking to add medium-scale residential buildings at the south of the site.
The development proposals include a redesign of the public square in front of the Warehouse to create a green oasis for the city with spaces designed for “work, rest and play”.
Upper floors would also be turned into high-quality office space that “respects and upgrades” the existing architecture and structure.
New pedestrian routes through the site would also be opened to improve connectivity to the wider city centre and create more spaces for community activity and greenery
Retention, refurbishment, and access improvements to Deansgate Mews would also be made, with space for local independent businesses to flourish, on top of refurbishment and updates to the Deansgate Terrace, with more offices on the upper floors above retail and leisure.
That’s not all either, as redevelopment plans also include 750 apartments across two taller buildings and a lower-scale podium building.
Each building will have shared amenity space, outside terraces, and access to green space.
Speaking on the unveiling of the redevelopment plans, Robert Wolstenholme – Founder & CEO of Trilogy Real Estate – said: “I’m hugely proud of our local team who have worked so hard to get us to the point where we are able talk to the public about the potential for this much-loved site in Central Manchester.
“Our proposals put community, sustainability and local business at the heart of plans for The Great Northern.
“We look forward to progressing the scheme to achieve the best outcome for the city.”
Mancs and the local community are now invited to attend one of four public consultation events on the plans whicb are being held at The Village Hall on Deansgate Mews today, Saturday 10, Thursday 15, and Sunday 18 September.
Trilogy is looking to submit plans to Manchester City Council later in the year, and you can find out more about them here.