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Buyers Dig Deep To make Old Mining Town a Homes Hotspot

It's Official! The New Comers are A Comin'

If you live in Prestonpans [The Pans] or have visted in the past decade, you know well that life is for most of the indwellers on the up.

Buyers dig deep to make old mining town a homes hotspot

Neil Jackson wrote in the Edinburg Evening News

PRESTONPANS has made an unexpected entry into the top 15 most expensive places to buy property in Scotland, according to housing market figures released today.

The former mining town in East Lothian was ranked 13th in the national table, with an average property price of 147,696. Some houses in Prestonpans have been selling for as much as 50,000 over the asking price.

Steve Roberts, a valuer at GSB Properties in Haddington, said he was "amazed" to see Prestonpans ranked alongside its traditionally more upmarket neighbours of Tranent, Musselburgh and Edinburgh.

He attributed the current housing boom in East Lothian to two factors - the fact that people are willing to commute further and further into Edinburgh and the large number of new build projects in the area.

"People are looking to get on the ladder but still commute into Edinburgh," he said.

"Secondly, a high proportion of these sales are from new-build projects going on in the area. It will be new builds because the rest of Prestonpans is mainly local authority housing."

Although 47 per cent of Prestonpans housing is under council tenancy, there are currently more than 1000 new houses or flats being built or with permission to be built in the town.

The level of construction has sparked fears that the town, which has a population of just over 7000, is turning into a commuter satellite of Edinburgh.

A three-bed former council house sold recently in Prestonpans by estate agents Simpson and Marwick had an asking price of offers over 120,000 and eventually went for over 170,000.

Willie Innes, councillor for Prestonpans West, expressed concerns that the higher prices would force some first-time buyers and young families out of the market.

He said: "This puts property out of reach for first-time buyers which is a shame. Young families which are doing well can no longer afford to buy in the area.

"There is a huge attraction to Prestonpans, it is on the doorstep of the Capital. It has a train station and good transport links. It has good sports facilities. It's a very historic town and is situated right on the East Lothian coast line.

"Families are looking to live in a good-quality environment and East Lothian has among the highest quality of life in Scotland and is a very safe place to live."

The annual property market figures were published today by the Bank of Scotland. Edinburgh once again topped the table with the average house costing 202,941 to buy in 2006. Musselburgh was fifth with an average price of 172,991 and Tranent seventh with an average of 166,550.

Prestonpans was one of four new entries into the most-expensive town table, alongside Ayr, Elgin and Johnstone in Renfrewshire. And Bathgate was one of 15 Scottish towns with the highest house price growth this year. Average property values in the West Lothian town there jumped 17 per cent to 141,938.

'It's a lovely place to live'
FOR the Walls family, the transport links into Edinburgh and the attractions of a modern home were the deciding factors in their move to Prestonpans.

Helen, 48, a nursery nurse, husband Gary, 49, a maintenance engineer, and their daughter Stephanie, 15, moved a few miles along the East Lothian coast from Port Seton last October. They bought a three-bedroom new-build home on a recent housing development in the town for 141,500.

They were attracted to Prestonpans because of the affordable, spacious housing which allowed them to get a larger kitchen, a garden and an extra bedroom. Both Gary and Helen work in Edinburgh so the availability of good transport links also played a part in their decision. Mrs Walls said: "It is closer to Edinburgh [than Port Seton], there's more buses and you've got the train station five minutes up the road."

The family have also been impressed by the town's amenities. Mrs Walls said: "There are more shops here and they have just built a new swimming pool."

With a large amount of new housing being built, many residents are concerned about increased traffic. But Mrs Walls said the busier roads had not impacted significantly on their life.

She added: "Prestonpans is a lovely place to live."

Published Date: December 24th 2006

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