An architectural competition with a difference – The Carbuncle Cup



How uplifting recently to read about the losers and the losers in the Building Design Magazine Carbuncle Cup – there can be no winners in a competition whose very purpose is to bring to the attention of the public the worst buildings of the year. You might be tempted to think that a competition founded on just how bad a building might be would fail to engage but thinly veiled contempt can be equally as enthralling as gushing admiration.


Romping home in first place was Lincoln Plaza in Docklands, described as “yet another shameful indictment of bad planning as well as bad architecture”. Of an extension to Poole Methodist Church, a nominee said; “The building screams of the same bland, belligerent mediocrity that is the insidious moniker of ostensibly polite and ubiquitous background architecture everywhere and of new offices, One Smithfield, in Stoke on Trent… An aesthetic mutation between the nostalgic 1980s brain games of Connect 4 and Blockbusters might not seem like a natural breeding ground for architectural malevolence but this building proves what happens when colour goes rogue.’’


The judging panel, responding to a wave of public nominations, apparently see the awards as a counter to much heralded Stirling Prize, and clearly delight in what they see as architectural faux pas. No building is safe from the threat of the Carbuncle Cup it seems.


St Peter’s Apartments Gain Praise From Buyers

St Peters Hall Leeds

The remaining apartments at an exclusive development of historic buildings in the grounds of Leeds Minster have been released for sale following the resounding success of the first phase.

The majority of the eight remaining individual one bedroom apartments at St Peter’s House & Hall have a parking space, and the location on The Calls in Leeds City Centre has really appealed to buyers.

The first apartments to go on sale at St Peter’s Hall offered a rare opportunity for people to buy a new home in one of Leeds’ most popular residential areas, and as a result sold quickly, attracting plenty of interest from both investors and owner occupiers.

The sensitive restoration of the attractive heritage buildings means that no two apartments are the same, and they all benefit from a host of period features. The second phase of the development – St Peter’s House – which sits alongside the Hall, has a mix of North facing apartments which enjoy stunning views of Leeds Minster, whilst those to the South side of the building overlook The Calls. The one bedroom homes start from £140,000.

The Calls is just a ten minute walk from the railway station, and there are a host of quality restaurants, bars, shops and theatres on the doorstep.

The luxury specification, contemporary kitchens and bathrooms and character features really set the tone for this high-quality, sensitively restored, beautiful red-bricked building.  We are confident the last few homes will really appeal to buyers wanting to live in one of the best City Centre locations in Leeds.

Work on St Peter’s Hall is now complete and work on St Peter’s House is due for completion towards the end of the year.

City Residents Spend Less Than 30% Of Their Income On Rent

AffordabilityResearch from our tenants reveals that the vast majority of people renting apartments in Leeds city centre spend less than 30 per cent of their gross salary on rent.

We analysed data from hundreds of new tenants since the start of the year to determine how much rent people pay as a proportion of their income.

The data reveals that 38 per cent of new tenants are spending between 21 and 30 per cent of their pre-tax salary on rent and 31 per cent spend between 11 and 20 per cent.  Just 16 per cent have committed to rents that amount to between 31 and 40 per cent of their wage.

In stark contrast, figures from The House of Commons Library, which provides impartial information and research services, revealed that in London, private-sector rental costs have rocketed from 49 per cent of average pre-tax income to 62 per cent since 2010.

As part of our credit checking process, we always make sure that tenants can comfortably afford the rental prices they are committing to, which reduces the risk of them running into financial difficulties.

It’s encouraging to see that rental prices are affordable for the vast majority of tenants who rent apartments in Leeds city centre, which is in stark contrast to many other parts of the country.  This is despite the fact that tenant demand continues to outstrip supply with our occupancy levels averaging over 99.5% per cent over the last two years.

Even with rents being realistic, landlords investing in buy to let apartments can still expect to achieve gross rental yields of more around 6 or 7% in Leeds city centre.  These attractive yields combined with the latest cut in interest rates and the ongoing improvements across so many parts of the city, are resulting a surge in investor activity which we can only see increasing over time.