The tragic story of the ‘dream home’ next to Hollingworth Lake that’s never been lived in
The devastating story of 15 Lake Side
Number 15, Lake Side, Littleborough, is arguably the ‘dream home’ – but it has never been lived in.
The peculiar bungalow, which is situated on the western shore of Hollingworth Lake, Rochdale, was built in 1998 by pensioners Dr. Stephen Watkins and his wife Elizabeth, who wanted somewhere to relax after stressful working lives.
The couple never disclosed how much they spent on the building, but it included a bespoke library, so it can be assumed to be quite a substantial sum of money.
However, the house was never completed, and the dismal reason why has since been cited at Westminster as an example of what can go wrong for people who build their own homes.
To put it simply, the Watkins were unsatisfied with the quality of their home – a structural engineer would find weaknesses in the roof – and so left the house in its unfinished state as ‘evidence’.
The Watkins went on to spend two decades in vicious legal disputes – first with the firm that built the property, and then a lengthy battle with the National House Building Council (NHBC), with whom they had taken out a ‘Buildmark’ warranty and insurance policy.
The claim began in 2001, after three years of disagreements with the builders, and took over fifteen years to settle.
Finally, the claim, involving surveyors and the financial ombudsman, was settled and the sum paid out by the NHBC was enough to finish the property.
However, this wasn’t the end of the Watkins’ woes.
In December 2018, the couple found out that Rochdale council wanted to CPO (compulsory purchase order) the bungalow, which they say ‘detracts from its surroundings and spoils the outlook.’
And now, two years later, the CPO has been successful.
A planning application has been submitted to knock down the bungalow to build two new four to five bedroom detached houses on the site.
A planning statement read: “In 2019, the owners submitted a Pre-App to Rochdale Council – this pre-app was for the demolition of the existing bungalow and the construction of five town houses and one sheltered earth dwelling.
“The pre-app response stated that the proposals were not in keeping with the existing character of the area and represented an over-development of the site.”
UK named 19th happiest country in the world as Finland comes first once again
Where are the happiest places to live?
Here are the happiest countries to live in around the world — according to The World Happiness Report.
The report identifies the happiest nations as well as those at the bottom of the scale, and everything in between. It also looks at the factors that contribute to greater happiness.
Despite the current climate, it’s not all doom and gloom and there’s cause for optimism. According to the report, benevolence has risen about 25% since its pre-pandemic levels.
In an interview with CNN, one of the authors of the World Happiness Report, John Helliwell, said: “Benevolence to others, especially the helping of strangers, which went up dramatically in 2021, stayed high in 2022.”
It has also found that global happiness has not taken a hit in the three years since the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Life evaluations from 2020-2022 have been ‘remarkably resilient’ with global averages pretty much in line with the three years preceding the pandemic.
As Helliwell added: “Even during these difficult years, positive emotions have remained twice as prevalent as negative ones, and feelings of positive social support twice as strong as those of loneliness.”
The report draws on global survey data from people in more than 150 countries, and is a publication of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Countries are ranked on happiness based on their average life evaluations over the three preceding years — in this case 2020 to 2022.
The Happiest Nations
Released on Monday March 20th (World Happiness Day), it revealed that for a sixth year in a row, Finland is the world’s happiest country — taken from its rankings based largely on life evaluations from the Gallup World Poll.
The Nordic country and its neighbours Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Norway all score very well on the measures the report uses to explain its findings which include: healthy life expectancy, GDP per capita, social support, low corruption, generosity in a community where people look after each other and freedom to make key life decisions.
So, what can other societies learn from these rankings? What are they doing that others aren’t? Helliwell, who is a professor emeritus at the Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia, said: “Is it, are they doing things that we wish we’d seen before and we can start doing?
“Or is it something unique about their climate and history that make them different? And fortunately, at least from my perspective, the answer is the former.” The report says: “The objective of every institution should be to contribute what it can to human wellbeing.”
Since last year, Israel has moved up to number 4 from number 9. The Netherlands (No. 5), Switzerland (No. 8), Luxembourg (No. 9) and New Zealand (No. 10) round out the top 10.
Australia (No. 12), Canada (No. 13), Ireland (No. 14), the United States (No. 15) and the United Kingdom (No. 19) all made it into the top 20.
Lithuania is a new entry breaking into the top 20 having had a steady climb over the last six years all the way from 52nd place. It replaced France which dropped down from 20th place to number 21.
The Least Happiest Nations
At the very bottom of the list lies Afghanistan at number 137. Lebanon is only one place above at number 136. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has thrown both countries into the spotlight since the war broke out last year — when the report was also released. In this year’s rankings, Russia is number 70 and Ukraine is number 92.
It says: “despite the magnitude of suffering and damage in Ukraine, life evaluations in September 2022 remained higher than in the aftermath of the 2014 annexation, supported now by a stronger sense of common purpose, benevolence, and trust in Ukrainian leadership.”
Looking forward, the pandemic has spurred a lot of reflection. “People are rethinking their life objectives,” Helliwell said. “They’re saying, ‘I’m going back, but what am I going back to? What do I want to go back to? How do I want to spend the rest of my life?’”
He’s hoping this ‘move towards thinking about values and other people more explicitly’ will affect not just factors such as which jobs or schools people choose, but also how they operate within those environments.
He added: “It isn’t really about the grades or the salary, it’s about cooperating with other people in a useful way. And of course, that’s useful for the world, but the whole point of this happiness research is that it’s also good for the people doing it.
“In other words, you do end up feeling better about yourself if you’re actually looking after other people rather than number one.”
World’s Happiest Countries 2023
- New Zealand
- United States
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
UK cities with the sexiest accents revealed and it’s bad news for Manchester
Which UK accent do you find most attractive?
A survey of 2,000 adults has revealed which UK cities took the top spots for having the sexiest accents — find out if the Mancunian accent made it onto the list.
As many will know, the UK has a variety of weird and wonderful accents. In some cases, you only have to travel a few miles down the road for people to start sounding like they speak an entirely different language altogether.
Some are considered cute, some a little too high in pitch and others are so thick they’re not easy to digest. Aside from looks and other factors, accents are also important while considering a potential match in the dating world.
But the recent survey conducted by Preply revealed which accents are considered most attractive — we bet you’ll be surprised by some of these!
Stealing the top spot was the vague accent of London. From a Cockney cab driver to an RP broadcaster on the BBC and plenty in between — who knows? This proved more so for women, with 21% of women voting for the London accent compared with just 15% of men.
The runners up were Liverpool with their more obvious and recognisable style of speaking — ya wha? As 10.4% of the population voted this melodic charmer of an accent as the next best one they like to hear.
Next up was Newcastle’s Geordie accent — the Geordie Shore has a lot to answer for! Apparently, more men than women like the sound of this bouncy Northern dialect. While just 9% of women voted for it, 12% of men seemed to find it sounds pretty hot.
The Manchester accent only came in at number five – below London and Liverpool, embarrassingly – with only 8.7% finding the Mancunian accent attractive.
Regarding regions, Yorkshire and Humber are not feeling the spark when it comes to UK accents, with 52.12% not finding them attractive at all. However, nearly half of Greater London (47.18%) think that Londoners have the most attractive accent – there’s nothing like backing yourself.
For the Northern Irish, 17.54% think that the Liverpool accent speaks the language of love, whilst 34.15% of people in the North East lust after the Newcastle accent.
Here’s the full ranking of the UK’s sexiest accents:
Baileys are doing boozy chocolate mini eggs filled with truffle for Easter
Baileys is not just Christmas, it’s also for Easter!
Baileys now do boxes of luxe chocolate mini eggs — so that’s Easter sorted!
Easter seems to be getting much more interesting, with a variety of different treats for just about everyone. We’ve already told you about ‘Cheester’ eggs — the cheese Easter eggs from Butler’s Farmhouse Cheeses. But for those with a sweet tooth, these Baileys mini eggs might just be the one for you.
If you’re like us, you may also have only just discovered these special seasonal delights from Baileys, making your Easter wish finally come true. It’s actually not the first year Baileys have released these chocolate eggs for Easter, they’ve also cropped up the past couple of years in the run up to the Bank Holiday weekend.
This year, you don’t just have to have any old standard chocolate egg, you can indulge in nine decadent Baileys double chocolate Easter eggs. All of which are delicately decorated with a golden shell, encased in silky, smooth double chocolate.
Filled with an oozy truffle centre, these melt in your mouth miniature drops of boozy heaven will make your Easter holiday complete, and leave you feeling on cloud nine. The tiny eggs are the perfect Easter gift for fans of the Irish cream alcoholic drink — you may know more than one!
The 138g boxes of deluxe treats are exclusive, so you won’t find them on your supermarket trip – but you can find them on Amazon for £12.99.
As they haven’t landed on the supermarket shelves yet, you’ll have to stock up on these delightful finds online until that magical day comes about, so make sure you don’t miss out and treat the Baileys lover you know — which could even be yourself— to a packet of luxe chocolate eggs.
You can grab some HERE.