UK flag waving

A profile of the history, geography, features and facilities of the largest town in Perthshire, Scotland, United Kingdom, after the city of Perth. Presented in a manner other local and regional websites don't mention. Having a good community hospital, shopping, education and relevant related services and facilities nearby and being only eighteen miles from Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI) and Ninewells Hospital in Dundee are major relocation advantages for all potential newcomers to the area. Written especially to offer practical assistance to tourists, business visitors, employers, employees, newcomers, researchers, retirees, scholars.

Blairgowrie and Rattray, Perthshire, Scotland

A detailed Community Website guide for new residents and visitors to this central Scottish town of 8,000

By Keith A. Forbes and his wife Lois Ann Forbes atkeithforbes01@btinternet.com. Both disabled, they live in Rattray, Blairgowrie, Perthshire and write, administer and webmaster this website for the Blairgowrie Disability Association.

Blair town profile

Blair Hospital and medical

Blair business

Blair Links, mentions Blair Disability Concerns No to Independence!

Welcome to Blairgowrie and Rattray sign

Photo above by and copyright this website's author

Blairgowrie Plan by Perth and Kinross Council (local administrative and tax authority. See http://www.pkc.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=25419&p=0

Blairgowrie and Rattray

Blairgowrie for newcomers, tourists and visitors

Blairgowrie location 2

Blairgowrie, in central east Scotland, UK,  is now the biggest town in Perthshire following the elevation of Perth, 18 miles away, to city status.  In summer (on June 21) it does not get dark until after 10:30 pm and has daylight by 7 am. In winter (on December 21) it gets dark from shortly after 3 pm until about 8:30 am. Blairgowrie is in the British Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) zone. At 7 am (0700 hours) here it is 8 am (0800 hours) in most of Europe, 3 am (0300 hours) in the Caribbean and Bermuda; and 2 am (0200 hours) in Ottawa (Canada); New York and Boston (USA). Visitors who bring laptops or tablets or smartphones, etc and who stay with friends residing locally should ask whether or not the latter have WIFI or wired Internet. If not, bringing their own MIFI is a suggested option. Visitors who, in their countries, may be used to spending a great deal of time on their cell (mobile) phones, should bring their own, after checking with their service provider about any roaming charges here in the UK. This is particularly important because most local residents do not have free telephone calls to Europe or the USA or Canada or beyond, even when they have Internet services. Because such calls are expensive, considerate visitors should either use their own cell (mobile) phones or, if they have brought their own laptops or similar, use Skype or similar to contact their friends or family abroad. Don't do what one visitor to Blairgowrie recently did, stayed up until after midnight almost every night specifically to make 12 non-urgent phone calls in 14 days to USA family and friends in their 5 hours earlier time zones. 

Summary of distances from Blairgowrie by car. Note that petrol (gasoline) is about £1.30 a litre.  At that extremely high price (compared to the Canada and the USA) it won't be surprising that many local residents who use their own cars don't want to venture too far from Blairgowrie. Visitors who want to go from Blairgowrie to England should instead either rent a car or go by bus or train. Perth is the nearest place to rent a car or take a bus or train going north or south. Visitors who have their own valid driving licenses may drive a local resident's car with permission providing it is not a Motability or similar leased vehicle which prohibits, with no exceptions, anyone else other than a stipulated local resident from driving.

Notee

All, except Inverness and further north, less than a 90-minute drive away. Around 90% of Scotland's population live within a 90-minute drive of Blairgowrie and East Perthshire.

Blairgowrie Town Centre 2

Blairgowrie Town Centre, May 2010 photos by the author. For an ancient history of the town see http://archive.org/stream/historyofblairgo00macduoft/historyofblairgo00macduoft_djvu.txt

Twinned with Fergus, Ontario, Canada http://www.fergus-ontario.com and Pleasanton, California, USA http://www.ci.pleasanton.ca.us/.  Other places with the name of Blairgowrie - but unlike Fergus and Pleasanton not twinned with the town, no one has yet thought to initiate it - include Blairgowrie, Randburg, South Africa, 7 km from Johannesburg, west of Sandton. See Blairgowrie Gauteng at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blairgowrie,_Gauteng.  Also see http://www.sa-venues.com/attractionsga/blairgowrie.php; Blairgowrie Drive, Blairgowrie, Gauteng, South Africa 2194; Blairgowrie, Victoria, Australia, http://www.whereis.com/VIC/Blairgowrie#session=MTA= and Blairgowrie, Middlesbrough, UK. Also see "A Place Called Blair" at Blair Society http://www.blairsociety.org/blplace.html. There is also a Blairgowrie Drive in Henderson, Nevada NV89044, USA.

Hometown or birthplace of notables including George Anton, actor (films include K-19, The Widowmaker, many more); Andy Clyde, actor. Born: March 25, 1892 in Blairgowrie. Died: May 18, 1967 in Hollywood, California. Active: 1920s to 1950s. Major Genres: Western, Action. Career Highlights: Three Men from Texas, Roughly Speaking, Hoppy Serves a Writ. First Major Screen Credit: Water Wagons (1925). There's a memorial to him in Blairgowrie; David Clyde, actor (Scarlet Claw, etc). http://www.answers.com/topic/david-clyde-1;  Andrew Clark, actor (The DaVinci Code, etc); Jake Findlay, professional footballer in England); Hamish Henderson, actor (Play Me Something, etc); Tommy Newcomen. Blairgowrie accordionist and entertainer whose 2009 DVD is entitled "Music From The Mists Of Time"; Andy Stewart, singer and guitarist; Belle Stewart, singer, 1920s era. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belle_Stewart.

Blairgowrie town centre

Blairgowrie and Rattray is today an interesting town with many shops. Because of its peculiar traffic flow and where traffic lights are situated there are often traffic jams in the Wellmeadow area and nearby, especially in summer. The town is centrally situated in Scotland for visitors for all over the Eastern, Western and Northern Scottish Highlands, with good facilities for skiers going to Braemar and beyond. Travelling south on the A9 main road, Blairgowrie and Rattray are accessed from Pitlochry via a scenic route or from Dunkeld, also scenic and somewhat more direct, or via Perth and Scone. They are about 1 1/2 hours north from Edinburgh, 30 minutes north from Perth and Dundee, one hour south west of Aberdeen and 2 1/2 hours south of Inverness. They are close to the main north-south artery road routes of the A9 to Inverness and the A90 to Aberdeen, and the spectacular A93, Deeside National Tourist Route, runs through our area to the dramatic mountain scenery of Glenshee and onto Royal Deeside. There are busy mainline train stations at nearby Perth, Pitlochry and Dundee, with an additional railway stop at Dunkeld on the Dunkeld to Blairgowrie Road.  There are regular bus services in areas including Blairgowrie and Rattray from Perth and Dundee. Bus routes 57 and 59 take about an hour to get to Dundee from Rattray. Major airports are 60 miles away at Edinburgh, somewhat further but still within easy distance from Glasgow and Aberdeen, with a much smaller air service from Dundee and with Scotland's European ferry port at Rosyth about an hour away by car.

Perth and Kinross Council area

Perth and Kinross Council area

Blairgowrie Accommodation, Businesses, Churches, Education, Employers

Blairgowrie-based ambulance, community hospital and medical services

Blairgowrie and area roads and streets 

A Adams Way; Allan Street (named after Colonel Allan Macpherson, Superior of the town in 1800); Altamount Road; Alyth Road; Ann Street; Ardblair Cottages; Ardblair Road; Ardblair Terrace; Arthur Court; Arthur Street; Arthur Wynd; Ashgrove Court; Ashgrove Gardens; Ashgrove Road; Ashgrove Terrace; Athole Street.
B Back Row; Back Wynd; Balmoral Lane; Balmoral Place; Balmoral Road; Balmoral View; Bank Street (formerly Constable Lane, changed when the Bank of Scotland built a branch here); Beeches Road; Berrydale Avenue; Berrydale Road; Birch Crescent; Blairgowrie House Road; Blairmore Drive; Boat Brae; Bonnington Road; Braes Road; Brand Pass; Brown Street (named after John Brown of Marlee, born in a house on the site of the present-day Royal Hotel); Brucefield Road; Buchanan House; Burnhead Road.
C Cargill Place; Castle Street; Cedar Avenue; Charles Court; Chimney Path; Clova Avenue; Cluny Court; Clunymore Drive; Commercial Street; Coralbank; Coralbank Crescent; Coralbank Terrace; Cottershade; Coupar Angus Road; Craighall Place; Croft Court; Croft Lane.
D David Street; Davie Park Place; Drummond Road; Dunkeld Road.
E  Elm Drive; Emma Street; Emma Terrace; Ericht Court; Essendy Road; Ewan Street.
F  Ferguson Park; Ferguson Park Road; Fern Grove; Forebank Road; Forrest Way.
G Gallowbank; Gallowbank Road; Gas Brae; Gean Grove; George Street (named after George Drummond of Newton); Glenalmond Road; Glendevon Court; Glenisla Court; Glenshee Drive; Glenshieling Drive; Golf Course Road; Gowan Brae; Grant Court; Grant Crescent; Grant Road; Green Road; Greenbank Street.
H Harriet Row; Hatton Place; Hatton Road; Haugh Road; Hawthorn Place; Hazel Place; Hazelwood Road; Heather Drive; High Street; High Street (Rattray); Hill Church; Hill O'Blair; Hill Street; Holly Crescent; Honeyberry Crescent; Honeyberry Drive.
I Isla Road.
J James Street (named after James Geddes, local mason); Jessie Street; John Street (named after John Brown).
K. Keay Street (named after Miss Keay, a feuar there); Kingarth Drive; Kinloch Court; Kirk Wynd; Kirkton Park; Kirkton Road.
L Larch Avenue; Leslie Street (named after James Leslie, proprietor of the Leslie Feus); Little Blair Drive; Littlewood Gardens; Lochinblair Gardens; Lochy Street; Lochy Terrace; Lornty Road; Lower Mill Street.
M MacDonald Crescent; Manorbank; Manor Court; Manor Gardens; Manse Court; Maple Place; McClaven Park; Middle Road; Mill Street (named after the road leading to the mill); Mitchell Square (named after Thomas Mitchell of Greenfield); Mount Ericht Road; Moyness Park Crescent; Moyness Park Drive; Myrtle Park; Mullion Way.
N New Road; Newton Castle; Newton Lane; Newton Street; Newton Terrace (latter three leading to Newton Castle); Ninian's Court.
O Old Military Road; Old Mill Road.
P Park Drive; Park Lane; Park Neuk; Parkhead Road; Park Hill Road; Patterson Drive; Perth  Road; Perth Street; Petersgarth Lane; Poplar Avenue; Provost Road.
Q Queen's Avenue; Queen's Road.
R Railway Road; Railway School; Reform Street; Riverside Court; Riverside Drive; Riverside Road; Riverside Walk; River Walk; Rosebank Lane; Rosebank Road; Rosemount Gardens; Rosemount Park; Rowan Avenue; Ruby Place.
S Seton Close; Shaw Street; Shawfield Lane; Sheila Road; Sidlaw Road; Signal Box Road; Skirmie Bus Park; Smithfield Avenue; Smithfield Crescent; Smithfield Way; South Castle Street; South Street; Station Brae; Step Row; Strathardle Crescent.
T Tannage Street (named after a tannery once there); Terminus Street (named after the railway terminus once there); The Coupar Park; The Croft; The Davie Park; The Loon Braes.
U Union Street; Upper Allan Street; Upper Mill Street. 
V Victoria Place; Victoria Street.
W  Walnut Grove; Wee Course Lane; Wellmeadow; Welton Road; West Altamount Lane; West George Street; West Park Road; Whiteloch Avenue (Carsie); William Street: Willow Place; Woodlands Grange; Woodlands Meadow; Woodlands Park; Woodlands Road; Woodlands Stables.
Y  Yard Road; Yeoman Street.

Blairgowrie advantages

Blairgowrie disadvantages

Newcomers to Blairgowrie from other parts of the UK, in particular those who are elderly and/or are on fixed incomes and hoping to seek the economic benefits of downsizing should know they will pay far more Council Tax than in England. The Scottish Government and Perth and Kinross Council local authority between them have determined that Perth and Kinross Council (and other Scottish local authorities) Tax Bands for homes with 8 rooms or less and with a present or estimated market price of £150,000 or less must pay a higher Council Tax than 775-room Buckingham Palace in London, 400 miles away, worth about £980 million. Bungalows in Blairgowrie and region are especially badly affected.

Buckingham Palace, London

Buckingham Palace, London, worth 980 billion, Council Tax Band H annual cost is £1369.04. Compare this to here in Perth and Kinross where for a property worth £150,000, the Council Tax Band E cost is £1,415.33. Since 1998, The Scottish Parliament alone, not Westminster, governs Council Taxes in Scotland and is to blame for this terrible inequity.

Perth and Kinross Council Tax bands and charges for 2013/2014.

 

Band Upper
Limit (£)
Fraction of
Band 'D'
Council Tax
Charge (£)
Water
Charge (£)
Wastewater
Charge (£)
Total Combined Charge (£)
A 27,000 6/9ths 772.00 124.80 144.84 1,041.64
B 35,000 7/9ths 900.67 145.60 168.98 1,215.25
C 45,000 8/9ths 1,029.33 166.40 193.12 1,388.85
D 58,000 9/9ths 1,158.00 187.20 217.26 1,562.46
E 80,000 11/9ths 1,415.33 228.80 265.54 1,909.67
F 106,000 13/9ths 1,672.67 270.40 313.82 2,256.89
G 212,000 15/9ths 1,930.00 312.00 362.10 2,604.10
H Over 212,000 18/9ths 2,316.00 374.40 434.52 3,124.92

How these costs compare with other parts of the world. The Council Tax Charges (excluding Water and Waste Water) details shown above. have not increased in the past few years but in other parts of the world they have decreased democratically to reflect the lower market-value prices in their economically depressed areas, unlike in Scotland. The Council is not responsible for setting water and wastewater charges but is required by law to include in its bill the charges made by (Scottish Government-owned) Scottish Water for Water and Wastewater Services. The level of the charges is set by Scottish Water and is subject to scrutiny by the Water Industry Commissioner for Scotland and The Scottish Government. It has twice increased its charges in recent years, most recently by 2.8% in 2013/2014. In Perth and Kinross and elsewhere in Scotland, there has been no revision of Council Tax Banding since April 1991, unlike in USA, Canadian and other jurisdictions where re-evaluations must by law be made no later than every five years. Consequently, the "Upper Limit" shown in the banding which suggests the market value of the house is nowadays completely wrong. Here, Council Tax banding charges are based on two people owning and/or living in a property, with a 25% reduction applying only if there is only one person. Additional charges apply for more than two people unless they qualify for exemption. In other jurisdictions such as the USA and Canada, all occupants are included in the basic tax rate. Also, there unlike here, water charges are not based on the locally tax-banded value of the house but on a much fairer uniformly-applied system. There, the cost of water and waste water are far less expensive than here (in the USA in 2013 the average annual cost  for both per home is $400). And, including in England, they all have either have water meters or can apply for one at no cost. Here in Scotland, if you wish to try to reduce the outrageously high Scottish Water-affixed rate applicable to your home you cannot get a water meter at no cost, nor can you get it supplied by an independent supplier at a cost, you have to rent it from the Scottish Water monopoly and pay an extortionate price for it.

Blairgowrie Path Network

River Ericht view

River Ericht view from bridge, photo by the author

Blairgowrie Path Network

From the town area of the River Ericht able-bodied residents and visitors  can follow five unique walking paths, the Knockie Path shown below in red, the Ardblair Trail shown in light blue and the River Ericht path shown in green.  For those more adventurous, beyond town there are the Bluebell Wood and Drimmie Woods walking paths.

History

River Ericht

Weir at River Ericht. It divides Blairgowrie and Rattray. May 2010 photo by the author

Early Scottish HistoryThe twinned town but separate communities of Blairgowrie and Rattray are in the Strathmore Valley, on opposite banks of the River Ericht which flows into the River Isla and then the River Tay. Blairgowrie is on the west bank and Rattray is on the east bank. The fairly modern bridge over the river joins them (the original bridge was built in 1777 to replace the rowing boat ferry service between Blairgowrie and Rattray). They are about one mile from each other. They get their names from Blar Ghobharaidh in Scots Gaelic, or Blairgowrie in Scots, once an 18th century village of 400 or so and Raitear in Scots Gaelic. There are various renditions of the name in early written records; Rathtreff in 1160, Rotref inb 1291, Ratref in 1296, Rothtref in 1205, there are also various other renditions of the name including Rattra. (W. F. H Nicolaisen, 1976, Scottish Place-Names, E. T. Batsford Ltd., London) and Raitear in Scots Gaelic which was taken to mean Fort of the Hunter. The ruins of Glasclune Castle, former home of a cadet branch of the Balthayock Blairs, is located in the hamlet of Kinloch, 3 miles Northwest of Blairgowrie. 

The name Rattray is composed of two parts, the first derived from the word Rath, from both Gaelic and Cymric (modern Welsh or ancient British) meaning fortification; the second part Tref or Treb, Tray, from the Cymric (British) meaning settlement. It is not widely known that British (similar to modern Welsh) was spoken in the area until the tenth century. The name means a fortified settlement and became associated with the family, the Rattrays of Rattray, who once held sway over the fortification and the area. The fortification was built on a snake shaped mound, which was in pre-Christian times associated with some form of serpent worship. The Rattray coat of arms are supported by serpents. Perhaps significantly the weather vane on Old Rattray Church (Kirk), in the centre of this village, is also in the shape of a serpent. 

The Rattrays of Rattray claim to be of royal descent. Patrick Rattray (1400-1461) married a daughter of James Stewart, son of Alexander Stewart (Wolf of Badenoch) who was Robert II of Scotland’s natural son. Patrick’s children were technically 2nd cousins of James IV.

There is also a Rattray in Aberdeenshire, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rattray,_Aberdeenshire

Wellmeadow, in the centre of the town, is the most prominent local landmark. There were once several springs or wells on the flat ground known by that name. There was also a marsh. Wellmeadow took its name from St. Ninian's Well there, named after this Christian Celtic missionary who once pitched his camp there and drank from the well. It became a public park through which nomadic drovers and shepherds pastured their flocks. 

Blairgowrie and Rattray expanded significantly in the 19th century around the many (12) jute and flax mills (still there, in a picturesque setting with a lovely walk on the opposite side of the river all the way into town) on the banks of the river Ericht. The mills, for both jute and linen, harnessed the river's strong flow to drive their spinning machines and processed the raw jute grown in India and locally-grown flax. While Dundee downriver was the main jute centre not only for Scotland but the whole of the United Kingdom, Blairgowrie too had an important role at that time. With the jute industry gone by the early 1950s when most of the Dundonians and folk from Blairgowrie repatriated back from India, Blairgowrie and Rattray languished appreciably for a while but later became the market town for the area and a centre for visitors and holidaymakers. With their population of about 8,090 Blairgowrie and Rattray combined and became the second-largest town in Perth and Kinross.

 Blairgowie's River Ericht

River Ericht Blairgowrie. 2012 photos by the author. The river, which once had dozens of jute and flax mills powered by its waters, created much industry and employment.

River Ericht facing south

River Ericht from walkway

River Ericht footbridge over river

Keithmill, now flats/apartments

Salmon sculpture

Sculpture of a salmon on the River Ericht walk

Many Rattray residents work in Blairgowrie or nearby, while others work in Perth or Dundee. 

Local books

book More Old Blairgowrie and Rattray

A chronological history summary of the town, residents and events

Blairgowrie Parish Church on the Hill

Blairgowrie Station

Blairgowrie Hill Primary School

First Blairgowrie High School, later Hill Primary School, large building centre left, on 1.92 acres

Blairgowrie and the Polish Tank Corps 1940-1942

Blairgowrie War Savings Campaign 1944

Photos taken by the author in Blairgowrie Town Hall, May 2010 of commemorative events. 

former St. Stephen's RC School, Blairgowrie

former Hill Primary School

Former Hill Primary School site

Black Loch

A tiny loch trimmed with trees amongst the golf courses 1½ miles (2.5 km) the south of Blairgowrie, Black Loch is located immediately to the east of the A93 trunk road. It is the easternmost of a chain of three lochs, the others being Fingask Loch and White Loch.

Heating, hot water, cooking

There is natural town-wide gas for central heating, hot water and cooking (Scottish Gas, the trading name of British Gas in Scotland) in municipal areas. Scottish Gas offers both gas and electricity. Service is prompt and efficient. Other electricity providers include Scottish Hydro. Homes and properties in rural areas not served by natural gas may wish to use use LPG gas piped in from a tank sited on their premises or, more commonly, oil (kerosene) trucked in from Perth or Dundee. Blairgowrie is halfway between the two. There are several suppliers. 

See the following price comparison websites for oil orders and deliveries to Blairgowrie, including cost of trucking. It can make sound economic sense for Blairgowrie residents to consult not just one of them but both.

Homes and Land in Blairgowrie and area for sale

Go to Perthshire Solicitors Property Centre at http://www.pspc.co.uk. 

Also for homes in Blairgowrie,Highlands, rest of Scotland, etc see at http://www.zoopla.co.uk and http://www.nestoria.co.uk.

Blairgowrie for home buyersAscertain in advance what  Development Potential your intended home will have. If you have enough land can you build a cottage? Have neighbours on either side of you received planning permission for their new houses? If so, you should expect the same right. Local development plans need to be as fair to new arrivals as they've been to earlier settlers. If the estate agent or seller can't answer your questions about all the above then wait until they can before you buy. 

Be very cautious about buying any property if the present Council Tax banding is not shown on the Property Schedule applicable to each house. This seems to be a failing of many Perthshire estate agents with properties for same in the Blairgowrie area. You are advised to make very sure you are told what the present Council Tax banding is, and when it was last evaluated, by the selling estate agent before you go to look at the house.

Perth and Kinross Council Tax bands. Band A, up to and including £27,000; Band B over £27,000 and up to £35,000; Band C over £35,000 and up to £45,000; Band D over £45,000 and up to £58,000; Band E over £58,000 and up to £80,000; Band F over £80,000 and up to £106,000; Band G over £106,000 and up to £212,000; and Band H over £212,000. The problem with this formula is that it is completely out-of-date, based on early 1990s housing valuations. On August 6, 2010 on page 4 the Perthshire edition of the Dundee Courier and Advertiser stated that according to the Perthshire Solicitors Property Centre at http://www.pspc.co.uk the average sale price of Perthshire (including Blairgowrie) properties then was just over £180,000. It is assumed this average sale price puts them into the Band D category if you accept that council tax bands are from A to H with the average in the middle. But note the present (2010) and hugely outdated Perth and Kinross Council Tax band formula. 1990s banding still applies, but not at 1990 salaries and 1990s Council Tax assessments. Newcomers who move into the area to downsize may find that while they will downsize in property size they won't always downsize in council tax banding. Council taxes can be the same for a £179,500 property in Blairgowrie as they are for a £850,000 or more property in London or Edinburgh. (For example,  The Queen at Buckingham Palace, with an estimated 980 million, pays Council Taxes at Band H in London's City of Westminster, for 2012/2013 rate - £1,375.24 - for a Band H property there see http://www.westminster.gov.uk/services/councilgovernmentanddemocracy/councils/counciltaxandfinance/bands/). She pays less in Council Tax than a $179,000 Council Tax Band E house in Rattray, Perthshire. Thus the necessity here in Blairgowrie to do your homework. Potential buyers of Blairgowrie and area homes need to know for sure before they buy what the Perth and Kinross Council - http://www.pkc.gov.uk/ - will charge them in council taxes. Unfortunately, in some local authorities - a glaring example being the Highland Council - newcomers are not told in advance that their new home goes up a band automatically, unless challenged promptly,with no justification for doing so unless extensive improvements/extensions has been done to justify a council tax band increase. Before you buy, establish not only what your council tax banding is but what those of your neighbours on your road or street you are, see under "Find my Nearest" on the  http://www.pkc.gov.uk/ site, insert your local postcode  or intended postcode and pull up the information you need on your property and others in the same postcode. Additionally, look at the asking prices of properties being sold in the town or village and neighbourhood and check their council tax bands. You can do so easily in Blairgowrie by going to the http://www.pkc.gov.uk/ website, then scrolling down to the bottom right. 

Council Tax Banding appeals. It is a requirement that newcomers appeal within 6 months of becoming local council tax payers, namely from the date you bought the property. Note here in Blairgowrie homes offered for sale on October 2010 at Rosemont Park Gardens, PH10 6TW. £210,000. Band E; Yeaman St. PH10 7DW. £200,000. Band E. Willow Place, PH10 6DW. £200,000. Band E; Kirkton Road, Rattray PH10 7D2. £195,000. Band E; Moyness Park Drive. PH10 6LX. £195,000. Band E; James Street, PH10 6E2. £188,500. Band E. But a house on Hatton Road, Rattray PH10 7AW, which sold in 2010 for £179,500, much less than the above, is also a Band E. In the true democracies such as the USA, Canada, EU, etc. a Land Valuation and Tax Act or equivalent requires a re-evaluation of all properties to be carried out every five years. There, the purpose of the revaluation is to revalue all properties (commercial and residential) to current levels of value, with all properties revalued at the same time to maintain equity in the valuation list. Property values change over time and these changes are not uniform across the market. Some property types and areas change in value more than others do. The revaluation re-levels the playing field by reflecting these relative changes in value so that the equity of the valuation list in maintained. But this is clearly not so here in Scotland in general and Perthshire in particular. Yet, significantly, in Scotland, business rates (not residential council tax rates) are adjusted every five years. Why not residential Council Tax banding too?

Certificate of Property/Land registration. A certificate of land ownership/registration will be sent to new property owners by the Land Registry but not until about one year later, and not by the Perth and Kinross Council in whose jurisdiction your property is in (the authority that will have full details of that property) but by the Scottish Government. Why does it have to take so long to arrive? Until it arrives you have no proof of ownership of your property but are expected by the Perth and Kinross Council to start paying your council tax immediately. Moreover, any appeals against council tax banding must be made within 6 months as said earlier. Newcomers should surely have the right to get their certificate of property/land ownership before, not long after, they make any council tax appeal.  

From 1 January 2010 the stamp duty "holiday" was changed, is no longer free up to £175,000 but is now from £125,000 despite protests from estate agents all over the UK. Many new homeowners now have to pay the stamp duty they did not have to pay before. Stamp duty is an anachronistic tax. It limits market flexibility, creates regional inequality and its slab structure unfairly distorts the housing market. 

Suggestions

Home Reports

On 20th May 2010 it was announced Home Reports are being phased out of the UK except for Scotland. Until this is announced for Scotland too, by the Scottish Government, they will continue to apply.  Home Reports are an expensive failure to both home buyers and particularly home sellers in many respects and this is one reason why Home Reports were discontinued in May 2010 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

From 1 December 2008 every property in Scotland being sold was required to have a Home Report (in other parts of the UK a Home Information Pack (HIP) paid for by the person or family selling the property before they can sell it.  See http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/BuyingSelling/Home-Report. A Home Report or HIP is a new document designed to provide buyers with more information about homes they are thinking of buying before they submit an offer. It is part of a series of measures said to be introduced across Europe reflected in legislation to help cut out carbons emissions and tackle climate change. The Home Report is reputed to provide a measure of the overall energy efficiency of the home and its environmental impact and is required whenever a building is built, sold or rented out. The property's performance is rated in terms of energy use per square metre of floor area; energy efficiency based on fuel costs and environmental impact based on CO2 emissions. You, or more likely your selling solicitor, will be required to have a copy before your home is advertised for sale and to make a copy available to interested buyers of your home. The Home Report includes three separate reports; the Property Questionnaire; the Single Survey; and an Energy Report.

What is a Home Report in Scotland and how is it different from an English one?

See http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/BuyingSelling/Home-Report/prof/faqs/Q/editmode/on/forceupdate/on

Home Report EnergyHome Report QuestionnaireHome Report Survey

Property Questionnaire, Single Survey and Energy Report, all three referred to below.

The Property Questionnaire

This asks you to answer questions about your home that only you are likely to know. Have you, for example, installed new replacement windows, or added an extension? Do any of your neighbours have the right to walk across your property to empty their bins? As far as you know, has your home ever had a problem with rot? These are the sort of questions you will be asked to answer. While many of them will be straightforward, you may not be clear about the answers to others. In some cases, your answer could raise questions at the conveyancing stage that should be dealt with now. If, for example, you made an alteration to your home, you will need to show that you obtained a building warrant if one was required and that you got planning consent if necessary. If you don't have these documents, then this is the time to take remedial action. If you are in any doubt, the solicitor you appoint to sell your home will be able to advise you on the best course of action. 

 The Single Survey

The Single Survey is a detailed survey of your home conducted by a qualified surveyor. It will also provide an estimate of market value. The survey will list the main features of your home and give an assessment of condition for each one. There are three scales, namely: Scale from 1 = no repairs necessary, to 3 = urgent repairs or replacement are needed now. If the survey for your home features a category 3 repair, you might want to consider carrying out the repair yourself before putting your home on the market. However, that may not always be the best solution. You can rely on your solicitor to advise you on whether it is better to repair or to sell your home as it is. You can also expect your solicitor to appoint a surveyor on your behalf who is familiar with, and sympathetic to, your area. 

The Energy Report

No longer in effect in England but still required in Scotland.

Provides a measure of how energy efficient your home is. It is done in pretty much the same way that dishwashers and other electrical appliances now display an energy rating. The report, which will be conducted by the surveyor who provides the Single Survey, also provides information on how you or any buyer could improve the energy efficiency of your home. Unfortunately, all who live in Blairgowrie or Perthshire  are not necessarily going to get a good energy rating on the homes they want to sell. Why not? Some Energy assessment scheme are a travesty. It boils down to the fact that unless you have mains piped-in gas as many cities and towns (including Blairgowrie) do you'll get a poor rating, despite the quality of local plumbing and heating. You can have a very efficient "green" boiler and it might well have a boiler-efficiency rating of 90% or above to a boiler inspector but unless you run it on mains gas the report will say your boiler is inefficient. Similarly, if you use electricity to heat hot water and cook by not mains but LPG gas (it has to be trucked in and put into a metal gas tank), or use oil (kerosene) from an oil tank on your property to heat your house you'll get a low rating. Why? Because LPG is regarded as inefficient for two reasons, it costs more than oil or mains gas. Both  the LPG and oil have to be trucked in. The UK Government and Scottish Governments have made no allowances at all for better efficiency ratings for homes in this region that have no piped-in gas, even when home heating - for example, from locally-sourced wood - is considered to be good from an environmental point of view. If you are disabled, there's no upfront way of checking out the disability-friendly qualities (for example, door widths for wheel chairs access) of the property in advance. No provision for this was made by the Scottish Government Instead, you have to view the house first, then ask formally to see the Home Report.

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Keith A. Forbes and Lois A Forbes, at keithforbes01@btinternet.com.
© 2014. Revised: November 21, 2014