Bidding reopens for 2022 Commonwealth Games

  • By Claire Cook
  • 10 Nov, 2017

The deadline for bids to be the host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games has been extended after Birmingham's proposal was deemed not 'fully compliant' – despite them being the only application

The new deadline, announced by Louise Martin, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), is now 30th November and has been reopened so that more time can be given to all interested parties to enable the submission of fully compliant proposals.Despite Birmingham’s bid not being compliant, there was, however, no announcement as to why its bid had in fact failed to comply.

Who placed bids?
For the 2022 campaign, two cities initially launched bids for the Games – Durban in South Africa, and Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. However, Edmonton withdrew their bid in 2015, and Durban withdrew theirs earlier this year. A new bidding process was then opened, through which Birmingham placed a bid, making them the sole contender to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, having been the only city of the Commonwealth of Nations to have submitted a legitimate bid before the deadline of 30th September. Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Victoria in British Columbia Canada and a potential Australian entry were possible bidders but none came forward.

Birmingham won initial backing from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, and their next challenge was to convince the government to approve the bid and underwrite the sporting event’s costs, who then subsequently agreed to cover 75% of the total funds. Local authorities would then have needed to raise the further 25% of the overall cost of staging the event.

The expected cost of staging the Games in Birmingham was thought to be between £600 and £750 million with venues listed in Birmingham’s bid including an upgraded Alexander Stadium, Villa Park, the NEC, Birmingham Arena, Symphony Hall and the University of Birmingham. There were also facilities planned in Coventry, Sandwell and Leamington Spa.
Until the UK government decided to back Birmingham’s proposal, Liverpool had actually been preparing its own bid and Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson claimed that his city’s bid was compliant and that ‘there are definitely questions to be asked’ about why the government chose a ‘non-compliant bid’.

What are the Commonwealth Games?
The Commonwealth Games (comprising nations who were either formally British colonies or dependencies of those colonies) is a multi-sport event and, like many other international sporting events, occurs every four years. The latest was hosted in Glasgow in 2014, while 2018’s event will take place in the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Scotland and Australia have both hosted the event before, and even though seventy nations are participating in Gold Coast 2018, only six nations have attended every single Commonwealth Games dating back to 1930 (discarding the Inter-Empire Championships in 1911) – England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Property Collection

By Claire Cook 19 Jan, 2018
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By Claire Cook 18 Jan, 2018
There are two roles currently available - Sales & Marketing Executive and Senior Graphic Designer.

Based in Stamford, Lincolnshire, we recruit locally to ensure travel is not a concern for our team. Market leading in what we do, you can be sure that every day is different! And with an open-plan working environment, choosing the right team members is key for us.

So if you have a positive can-do attitude and enjoy working as part of a team, then we’d love to hear from you!
By Claire Cook 16 Jan, 2018
Property values increased by 2.6% over the year, leaving the average UK home costing £211,156 – a gain of £5,258 on 12 months ago, say the Society.
However, the headline figure masked significant regional variation, with property values dropping by 0.5% in London but rising by 5.2% in the West Midlands.
Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “For the first year since 2008, the annual rate of change in Northern England was above that in southern England.” Meanwhile, looking ahead, the group predicts that house prices will grow by just 1% in 2018.
By Claire Cook 11 Jan, 2018

We’re excited about the year ahead and the new developments in the Property Collection’s products that are due to take place. 2018 promises to be a great year and we can’t wait to share this exciting journey with you as we continue to grow and expand our products.

By Claire Cook 09 Jan, 2018
Did you know that a brand new service now available to you is campaign animation? This service enables you to bring your monthly campaigns to life with a bespoke animation for your video wall or media screens.

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By Claire Cook 08 Jan, 2018

Every year many people make new year’s resolutions to help improve their lives, whether that is quitting smoking and drinking, starting to eat healthier and improving your fitness or making that move. The new year is often associated with new beginnings and everyone has different ideas of what they want to focus on and achieve.

Changing your appearance can often help build confidence, whether it’s just a fresh new haircut or something more drastic like shedding some pounds; wouldn’t we all like that to happen overnight? Eating healthier is something many people promise to do at this time of year, however it often fizzles out as we get the Christmas holiday blues. However, it’s important to eat a balanced, healthy diet, as it’s a great way to maintain good health and can really help you feel at your best.

According to the NHS you should aim to:

  • Eat your five a day
  • Base meals on starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice and pasta
  • Have some dairy or dairy alternatives
  • Include protein in your diet
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat these in small amounts

The NHS also advises that adults aged 19-64 should do two types of physical activity per week, that being aerobic and strength exercises. This could include 150 minutes of brisk walking per week and strength exercises on two or more days; working out all the major muscles.

Smoking is also a habit that many want to ditch every year; and doing so could save you a fair bit of money. Plus, it isn’t great for your health and can also impact those around you. You may have already tried to quit smoking before and failed, but it’s important to remember that it’s ok and you can try again! Ensure that you actually want to quit and remind yourself why, each day. Taking a more positive approach to this will encourage you to keep going whether you want to quit immediately or more naturally by cutting down on your usage.

There are plenty of different things you can do to help kick start your new year with a focus on positive energy. Taking up yoga can be a great way to find your zen and there are plenty of free tutorials online. Take in your surroundings by walking a little slower and appreciate what is going on around you rather than rushing through each day; it’s also great to explore more and get out of your comfort zone.

It doesn’t all have to be about changing habits but it can be about doing something new and trying different things. Take some time out, have some ‘me time’ or treat yourself to a date night once a month. Keep your life positive and try to be thankful for at least one thing every single day and you will soon find that your appreciation and happiness levels will begin to rise.

If you don’t want to commit to a new year’s resolution, you could try writing a list of things you want to accomplish throughout the year. These can range from a variety of unique and different things, from picking up a new instrument to donating blood.

If your 2017 wasn’t as great as you were hoping it to be, then look back, reflect and think why? You may find that 2018 could be a great time for a career change, starting a family, going on an adventure or even finding that dream home. It’s all about what will make you happy this year and how you can make the most of it!

By Claire Cook 05 Jan, 2018

Not only is Caring Wood a modern vision of an English country home but it is also designed to accommodate three generations of one extended family during the holidays. This grand home took an astonishing seven years to build and sits on 84 acres of farmland near Maidstone. Each generational family has their own privacy which is the same size as a three-bedroom flat.

The design was inspired by a building that is uniquely associated with its location, the traditional oast house; circular buildings designed for drying hops as part of the brewing process when making beer in the 16th century.

Grand Designs presenter, Kevin McCloud, said that the house has no pretensions to grandeur with a relaxed informal feel for the separate dwellings. McCloud also concluded: “It is organic, free range and organically grown.” The house features a performance space with a grand piano and seating for up to 50 guests, an art gallery, a multi-storey courtyard and underground tunnels connecting the four living spaces. This home really challenges the concept of multi-generational living.

Within the build itself more than 150,000 handmade tiles were used on the roof tops and over 27,000 trees were planted on the estate. Niall Maxwell, the architect who designed the impressive home, along with James MacDonald Wright, said: “It makes you think differently about what a home is and what shared and private space becomes.”

Making it onto the shortlist for the award was the Hidden House, which Deborah Saunt, RIBA judge said: “It felt effortless because of the natural light that is balanced by those extraordinary roof lights.” Others included The Newhouse, Shawm House, The Quest, 6 Wood Lane and Ness point.

What is the RIBA House of the Year?

The award is given to the best new house designed by an architect in the UK and is announced as part of Grand Designs: House of the Year; a special four-part Channel 4 TV series presented by Kevin McCloud, Damion Burrows and Michelle Ogundehin.

The 2017 jury included:

  • Deborah Saunt, DSDHA, Jury Chair
  • Richard Murphy, Richard Murphy Architects and 2016 RIBA House of the Year winner
  • Sandra Coppin, Coppin Dockray Architects
  • Sebastian Cox, Sebastian Cox Studio
  • Jenny Eclair, writer, comedian and client of 2005 Manser Medal winner Stealth House

How to make your very own house of the year


Using your own space wisely is a great step into making your home more efficient. Your wardrobe space may need upgrading, however it might not be that simple; you might have just run out of space. Invest in some vacuum packed bags and store your out of season clothing under the bed; making room for all your cozy winter jumpers. You can even maximise storage by taking advantage of installing shelving above doorways and beds.


You may also find that some rooms don’t often get used. Use your home office for much more than paying the bills and taking phone calls; turn it into a place for homework for the kids or allow it to be transformed into a craft room at the weekend. Just ensure all your paperwork is filed away accordingly!


Keeping the exterior and presentation of your home neat and tidy often reflects well with how others perceive the interior of your home. An unkept and overgrown garden can give the idea of an unwelcoming home on the inside. Ensure your outdoor space is kept presentable, keep the lawn cut, flowerbeds weed free and ensure you have a welcoming clear entry that you admire; setting an inviting tone.


Fill your home with as much natural light as possible. Open up your curtains and blinds fully and allow the natural light to pour in; this will make your room feel bigger. When it comes to your living room ensure the TV doesn’t block any windows as this will cast a shadow and create a darker space. You can also boost brightness with artificial lights which can enhance any natural light in your home. Pay attention to awkward corners, corridors or alcoves. Dimmer switches can also be a great tool and give you the control over how a space is lit.

By Claire Cook 03 Jan, 2018

There is a common belief that you should wait until the spring until you put your property on the market. However, millions of people access property websites and apps during the new year, as January is the month where people start to dream of making changes to their life.

Is January a good time to sell?

In the past, it was common to see house hunters waiting until the warmer months to buy or sell a property. However, thanks to the internet, house hunters are trawling through properties 24/7, so if you list your home now then it will be shared with a captive audience.

In fact, the darker and colder evenings could work to your advantage when selling your home, as you can use lighting to make the house seem homely and stylish. Incorporating different light sources, such as table or standing lamps and overhead lights, can improve the mood of the room.

When the weather is cold outside, putting the heating on an hour before the viewing, and making your potential buyers a nice cup of tea will make them feel more cosy and warm. Not only would this give your home a cosy feel, but you would be making them happier and potentially encourage a sale.

Despite selling in January proving rewarding, some people may still hold out until later in the year which means there will be an influx in houses on the market in the spring. Therefore, putting your home on the market now could mean less competition.

And if you’re looking to buy, then viewing a house in the winter can help you to try out things you wouldn’t be able to in the summer. For example, it may be cold outside but if the house you’re in is nice and warm, it shows reliable insulation and no signs of drafts.

Preparing for the move

During anytime of the year, planning the house move from start to finish is crucial; no more so than the hectic month of January. That said, kick-starting your property move in the new year doesn’t have to be difficult!

Set yourself a plan of what you need to do to achieve your big move, and a date you would like to realistically be moved in by. It is worth remembering that people are busy during January, so flexibility, as always, is crucial for speeding up your sale. Within your plan, it’s also worth outlining your budget, who you need to notify of your change of address, and how you are going to move your belongings from your home to another.

Over Christmas time, it is inevitable that your home will have extra furniture, gadgets, toys and decorations, so the first thing to do is to de-clutter. This is easier than you may think. Utilise storage space including cupboards, garages and lofts you may have to put away any unused furniture and extra ornaments.

Box up the decorations and the tree, and hoover up all the little bits of green pine that mysteriously find their way around the house – and those chocolate wrappers that end up under the sofa! If you have time, a clean of the carpets would prove dividends.

House-hunters will always be looking at the potential inside a house, therefore it’s important that the home is as free from clutter as it can be. Having too much clutter around the house may impact the viewer’s vision, harming your chances of selling.

Those small house repairs that you said you, “will do sometime after Christmas” can help to sell your home quicker too. If you were to change the broken lightbulb in the bathroom, touch up any cracks in the wall, repair the leaking pipe, or unclog the drain, then you could find that interest in your home takes a big rise.

When it comes to your garden, give it a spring clean. Pick out any overgrown or dead shrubs and weeds, cut the grass and brush away any dead leaves on the ground. One good idea is to show viewers pictures of the garden in the summer, with the family gathering on the patio, soaking up the sun and enjoying a barbecue.

Once you feel like you are ready to get your house on the market, it’s important that you choose an agent who you can rely upon and understands your needs and flexibility!

By Claire Cook 22 Dec, 2017
The former Holby City actor beat finalists Alexandra Burke, Gemma Atkinson and Debbie McGee along with their dance partners. Each couple performed three times and included a judges pick, a showdance and a contestant’s pick.

13.1 Million viewers tuned in to watch the final at its peak time with an average audience of 11.6 million. McFadden is the oldest champion and said: “It feels completely surreal and I'm so in awe of everyone who started all of those weeks ago”.

The winning couple performed the Viennese Waltz for their Judges’ pick, earning them a score of 39; they also gained another 39 points dancing to You Make My Dreams by Hall and Oates, telling the story of Cinderella and her Prince Charming. Their final performance scored them a further 40 points with their “toy soldiers” Charleston.

So now that Strictly has finished what will we all be watching over the next few weeks?

Well, the main answer to that is Christmas films of course! Miracle on 34th Street, Elf and The Muppets Christmas Carol would make the perfect weekend of films. Don’t forget about Mary Berry's Christmas party, the Doctor Who Christmas Special, 30 Years of French and Saunders and also Strictly will be returning to our screens with the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special. So, there is lots to look forward to and keep us entertained right into the new year.

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By Claire Cook 20 Dec, 2017

Bookmakers considered the 34-year-old as the third favourite to win, whilst boxer Anthony Joshua was favourite; he had a fine year which included defeating Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley.

Farah couldn’t be in Liverpool for the award show but said via a video link after the show: “To be honest, I’m kind of shocked. I didn’t prepare any speech”.

He also told the media: “Over the years, I’ve come third, fourth, or thereabouts, and I was like ‘this thing, is hard to win’. But I guess you just got to do what you’ve got to do and over the past 10 years I’ve been very lucky with the career I’ve had and the support I’ve had”.

The annual award ceremony took place on the 17th   December 2017 at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, and was broadcasted live on BBC one and BBC Radio 5 Live. The public were able to vote on the night of the live show by phone and online.

Nominees for Sports Personality of the Year 2017:

Lewis Hamilton: who won his fourth Formula One title last year

Chris Froome: four time Tour-de-France winner

Johanna Konta: who became the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon singles semi-finals

Adam Peaty: Olympic champion who swam to victory in the World Athletics Championships

Harry Kane: second time Premier League Golden Boot winner

Jonathan Rea: secured a third consecutive World Superbike title

Elise Christie: Speed Skater who became the first European women to win gold at the World Championships and became triple world champion

Jonnie Peacock: who won gold at the World Athletics Championships before a popular appearance on Strictly Come Dancing

Anthony Joshua: defeated Wladimir Klitschko with an 11th-round stoppage in a gripping fight watched by a post-war record crowd

Anya Shrubsole: player of the match as England secured a victory over India to win the Women’s Cricket World Cup

Bianca Walkdean: who defended her World Taekwondo Heavyweight Title in South Korea

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