Blindwells – just in the ‘nick of time’! Jason Hogg
March 29, 2021
Timing is everything! The announcement earlier this year that the development of Blindwells, which is creating 1,600 homes and a new town centre, had started in earnest with Bellway commencing construction of 135 new homes, Persimmon signing up to the next phase and Cruden delivering some highly sought after affordable homes, couldn’t have been timed any better.
I have a professional association with Blindwells as a project dating back to the early 2000s with Scottish Coal, therefore it is incredibly satisfying to finally see development activity take place at time when we are all recovering physically, mentally and financially from a global pandemic
I will come onto market conditions later, but it is impossible to talk about moving forward without making reference to COVID-19 and how we emerge from the significant challenges that it brought including tragic loss of life. Our lives now revolve around our homes more than at any point in the past 250 years. In 1800, less than 10% of the world’s population lived in urban areas, compared with more than 55% today and more than 80% in the UK. The Industrial Revolution sparked a trend which saw a mass exit from the countryside as people moved to towns and cities in search of work. This trend saw people spend the majority of their waking hours away from their homes.
Fast forward to 2021 and COVID-19 has accelerated a trend which is making our homes the centre of our lives once again. Technology is the great enabler allowing us to satisfy more and more of our needs and wants in our homes. We can now summon an array of food, leisure and entertainment offerings into our homes at the simple click of a button. Meanwhile rapid advancements in remote working technology mean homeworking has become a new normal way of life for an increasing number of workers through the COVID pandemic. As numerous surveys have revealed, many of these workers want homeworking to continue in some shape or form for at least part of the week.
These changes set the scene for what we believe is now driving the trend towards a greater emphasis on work / life balance and locations such as East Lothian are clearly ideal for this approach.
The region presents the opportunity to create a more balanced lifestyle of working from home, commuting when you need to and enjoying a home life within the beautiful setting and surroundings of East Lothian. At JLL we detected an increase in market interest during the second half of last year when anecdotal evidence from house builders operating within East Lothian were reporting extremely strong demand. These anecdotes were well founded – the latest quarterly statistics from the Registers of Scotland show a positive economic picture.
So, you will understand now why I am so pleased to see the release of Blindwells at this point in time – and we are delighted to be supporting this exciting development. Blindwells provides the opportunity to create a thriving place to live which can embrace the post-Covid lifestyle and new working patterns which have changed the dynamics of the housing market in this location.
Jason Hogg is Director of Residential & Development Land at JLL in Edinburgh