Property briefs

Police base for housing; plunge in bars; green port plea

Unloved: the dated building is in poor condition

A former police headquarters in Edinburgh is to be sold and demolished to make way for hundreds of homes in a deal with the council.

A document describes the station near Fettes School as “under utilised, inefficient, ageing, in poor condition” and requiring “significant maintenance”.

The station, set in 14 acres site at Crewe Road South, is identified as a site for housing-led mixed development.

The redevelopment of the site is key to Police Scotland’s wider estates strategy as it seeks to cash-in on legacy properties it inherited when the country’s forces amalgamated in 2013.

CMA orders removal of lease terms

The Competition and Markets Authority is requiring Countryside and Taylor Wimpey to remove certain contract terms that mean leaseholders have to pay ground rents that double every 10 or 15 years.

In September 2020, the CMA launched enforcement action against four housing developers. These included Countryside Properties and Taylor Wimpey, for using possibly unfair contract terms, and Barratt Developments and Persimmon Homes over the possible mis-selling of leasehold homes.

The CMA has now written to Countryside and Taylor Wimpey outlining its specific concerns that their use of terms that double the ground rent every 10 or 15 years breaks consumer protection law.

It says that as this increase is built into contracts, it means people can struggle to sell or mortgage their homes, and so find themselves trapped. These terms can also affect their property rights.

Fewer licensed premises

lock on gates at bar

Britain has 7,592 fewer licensed premises than before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report to be published next week by analysts CGA and advisory firm AlixPartners.

Total licensed premises fell by the equivalent to 46 closures a day, or one every 31 minutes. In total, Britain had 107,516 sites at the end of February, a fall of 6.6% from 115,108 in March 2020.

The Market Recovery Monitor reveals how independent businesses have borne the brunt of closures. A total of 5,112 have been lost since March last year, including 1,971 in January and February alone.

The report says this reflects the vulnerability of small and family-run businesses by comparison to well-invested restaurant and pub groups, which have recorded 1,229 closures—fewer than a quarter of the independent sector’s number.

Green port appeal

Scottish Trade Minister Ivan McKee has urged the UK Government to provide clarity over the future of green ports in Scotland.

The green port model adapts the UK Government’s freeport proposals, offering a package of tax and customs reliefs. Operators and beneficiaries will be required to commit to adopting Fair Work First criteria and contribute to Scotland’s just transition to net zero.

“If we do not have confirmation that the UK Government is ready to launch the Applicant Prospectus by close of business on Monday 22 March, we may have to conclude that the UK Government has effectively withdrawn from this process,” said Mr McKee.

Motherwell asset manager deal

Motherwell Shopping Centre has been acquired by London-based private asset management firm Signal Capital, the company’s first investment in UK retail property.

The deal for the 350,000 sq ft centre, whose tenants include Primark, Boots and B&M, is supported by property investment specialist Edinburgh House.

Signal said it is looking to invest £100 million in the sector. The value of the Motherwell deal was not disclosed.

The property, formerly called The Brandon Shopping Centre, had been owned by Chester Properties and Columbus UK Real Estate Fund, since 2010 when it was acquired from CALA Properties. The centre will continue to be managed by ESTAMA UK.

Restaurant for Glasgow

Mowgli Street Food has taken the corner unit at 78 St Vincent Street, Glasgow over three levels. 

The unit was previously occupied by the Handmade Burger Company, with CBRE handling the lease surrender before the deal with Mowgli was signed.

CBRE represented the landlord CBRE Global Investors (Shell Pension Fund) whilst Quirico Estates acted for the tenant Mowgli Street Food.

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