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One Year Of The Salford Star Why The Salford Star Exists.
 

While the fight for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party was in full flow earlier this year, one of the candidates, John Cruddas, got it spot on when he said that the Government is stoking an `hourglass economy' where 20% of the workforce are in high skilled, high-tech careers, while the majority work in low paid, insecure, service sector jobs…"We've become pre-occupied with the top of this glass and forgotten those at the bottom" he said.  He could have been talking about everything that's going on in Salford.


The jobs, the houses, the culture that's being built here is aimed at those top 20% of people...or the Young Affluent Professionals (Yappies) as one recent report stated. Yappies, are defined as earning above £27,000 a year and buy up property in "lower priced areas and make them fashionable". Salford was highlighted as a `yappy hot spot'. 

To cater for this market you've got developers cherry picking the best land in the City, be that by the riverside or convenient for the Quays and Manc-land.  And the flats and town houses they are building are unaffordable to Salfordians who earn, on average half the `yappy' wage.  Meanwhile, investors looking to make a quick buck from buy to let and buy to leave are chucking money at the developers, encouraging them to build more and more, with an obliging Council, in many cases, subsidising them in the name of regeneration. 

The result ?  40% of flats in the City lie empty while Salford Council admits that it can't bring its own homes up to a Decent Standard.  The City's being changed, not for people's needs but for profit.  Over the last 12 months we've been trying to show the affect this has on real people's lives…

Poverty In Salford.

A new report from the Joseph Rowntree Trust argues that the gap between rich and poor households in Britain is at a 40 year high.  As part of the report, the Social and Spatial Inequality Research Group at Sheffield University produced a map of Britain.  It showed shocking figures for Salford's `poor' or `breadline poor' where almost nothing has changed over the last 30 years and in East Salford poverty has actually increased by over 7%…

*  The 2000 figures are the latest but according to one of the report's authors, Danny Dorling "Nothing has changed…whatever measure you pick – life expectancy, chances of children getting into University or household wealth…"

One Year Of The Salford Star.

….It was obvious to anyone who cared to look – here, in Lower Kersal, East Salford, were two sets of identical terrace houses.  One lot were right next to the River Irwell.  They were all tinned up, awaiting demolition.  The other lot were set well back from the River with a road, a social club and some shops in between.  They were staying up.  It didn't take a genius to work out that private developers would only be interested in the riverside land, despite the flood risk (issue 1)….

Then, across Littleton Road and into the Lower Kersal estate it was the same story – demolition for the riverside properties, a stay of execution for the rest.  At the top of the hill, in Kersal Heights, an old school playing field with protected rare grass was about to be dug up and concreted over, whilst a nursery and sheltered training centre was down for demolition too.  Why ? 

Again, it was obvious. Sweeping views of Salford and the River.  This was a developer's fantasy come to life.  Except that this fantasy was being stoked and stroked by £53 million worth of public money to regenerate the area via New Deal for Communities (NDC).  And the very people who were supposed to be benefiting from it felt that they were being `socially cleansed'…

"Living as I do on an avenue overlooking the River Irwell I can appreciate more than most the delights of watching geese, swans and ducks descend onto the water" wrote Mike Skeffington (issue1) "This, however, will soon be a thing of the past for me and many others when our houses are replaced by the new luxury properties. The views will become the preserve of the more affluent members of society, who will no doubt be more than eager to take advantage of yet another ideal opportunity presented to them by an accommodating council." 

All over the area people voiced their opinions on the `regeneration'…"I don't want to move…the only place they offered me was Little Hulton, Ordsall or somewhere else miles away" said Angela Moss (issue 1) from Whit Lane,  which is being demolished to make way for a road and a possible marina. 

"What they're trying to do is turn this place into another Salford Quays and they don't need scroats like us around because we'll spoil it" said Caroline Brophy, also from Whit Lane (issue1).

Caroline was actually on the People's Panel for the new Kersal Heights development…"I was completely misled because I believed that the site was being built to re-house people from the clearance areas" she added "I was absolutely gobsmacked when they said that only a few were for council tenants.  It's like we don't matter, we don't count…"

Later in the year, the truth came out (issue 3)…the price of the first `affordable houses' on Kersal Heights ? Two homes at £175,000 and one at £140,000.  Of the 230 homes being built, only five were to be for social rent…."Go and talk to someone like Paris Hilton or George Michael, where would I get money like that from ?" said Emma Hindle "They're knocking good houses down here for no reason…"

And further down the River Irwell, in Lower Broughton, it was the same story as Riverside Island Tenants Association (RITA) were gearing up for a battle over their homes on the Spike Island estate, having seen a masterplan showing duck ponds and trees where their houses had been (issue1).

"When we first moved here the river had foam floating down it…it was like a pint of Guiness because the factories used to empty everything into it" said members of RITA "Now they've cleaned it up and strengthened it against flood.  All of a sudden it's a prime piece of land…and we're surplus to requirements…"

The feelings were summed up by Whit Lane's Graham Cooper (issue1), who described Salford's housing policies as "the dagger in the heart"…

"Thousands of homes are being knocked down for `regeneration', for `nicer homes', for `improved neighbourhoods', for `increased choice'…For who ?  Local people ?  Not if you live in this brave new land called Central Salford…we're `unsustainable communities'…We're in the way of bright new commuter homes for these new high flying people the Council are trying to attract…"

Nowhere was this more true than Langworthy and Seedley where Urban Splash had won the hearts and minds of regenerators all over the country with its `upside down terrace houses' by Chimney Pot Park.  The community, who were originally promised `affordable' £50,000 houses, thought otherwise as the first houses came onto the market for an average price of £120,000…and that after £15million of public money had been paid over to Urban Splash (issue2).

"It's a bit of a smack in the face for all the people who had lived around here" said Jacqueline Booth "They've pulled all the houses down and built these so no-one around here can afford them.  I think they're for yuppies coming from the Quays, and the BBC will just make it worse.  Where are we supposed to go ?"

With Seedley and Langworthy almost on the doorstep of the Quays and mediacity:uk the BBC move was greeted with fear…"That's it, they're going to take our homes" said tearful residents fighting demolitions across the road from the Urban Splash site. 

"They can't say `You...You…and You…we don't want your type in the area" wrote local newsagent, John Yendall "No.  But they can knock your house down…"

In Broughton it was the same story of lives in turmoil.  Here, loads of terraced houses had already been bulldozed and the communities were fighting for decent compensation and decent new homes…

In Higher Broughton, as Salford City Council was getting slammed by the Audit Commission for its handling of the regeneration (issue 4), brothers Guy and Jimmy Griffiths told how they were forcibly evicted from their terraced homes to make way for the Broughton Green development where new houses are on sale between £235,000 and £480,000…

"I'm seen as a trouble maker by the Council because they had to get the police and the bailiffs to get me out of my house" wrote Guy "But what they're doing here is wrong, just like it is in Langworthy.  Basically they're getting rid of people who are poor or working class, so somebody more affluent can come in."

In Lower Broughton, the £500 million Countryside Properties led `regeneration scheme' had 111 affordable houses in its first phase, made available only for people who were having their houses taken off them – anyone else who wanted to move in was being asked to pay £159,000 (issue 4).  And few people were happy with the houses they were getting, despite being told that they would help design them in a flagship consultation scheme…

"I think they've listened to us and filed it in the bin tray and all this was happening just to keep us on board" said resident Val Broadbent (issue3).  Neighbour, Ann Bailey added "We're not in slum clearance, we're just in the way…"

Mike Thorpe, of the Broughton Action Group, summed up the feeling, not just in Lower Broughton but in the whole of Central Salford…

"People aren't asking for much, either here or in the New Deal area or Langworthy" he said "They're asking to be treated fairly and honestly and up front.  If they feel that isn't going to be the case then…it will end up being a very sour area…a bitter area…There will be conflict unless all the problems are addressed…" 

The statistics underlined Mike's point (issue 4). Salford City Council has an `affordable housing' policy that states 20-25% of all new properties (in developments with over 25 houses) should be affordable.  Between September 2006 and March 2007, in planning applications for nearly 9000 properties a mere 175, or 2%, were classed as `affordable'…

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I wonder if our single tenant Social housing Lab Councillors got a letter? I bet not:) ... [more]
article: SALFORD CITY COUNCIL THREAT LETTER CAUSES ELDERLY CITIZENS ANGUISH
I got this letter I have lived on my own for 14 years... [more]
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He will be if my dad gets one!... [more]
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SALFORD CITY COUNCIL THREAT LETTER CAUSES ELDERLY CITIZENS ANGUISH

Star date: 22nd October 2018

CALLOUS COUNCIL TAX LETTER SCARES ELDERLY 

Hundreds, and possibly thousands, of letters have been sent by Salford City Council to elderly people threatening them with the loss of their single person Council Tax discount as it states 'Records show that multiple adults are living at your address', even though they are widows and widowers. The letter tells them to fill in an online form 'within the next 14 days' or the discount will be cancelled.

"It's not fair to be treating your senior citizens in this way, it's just callous" says Jill Royle, whose 92 year old non-computer literate mother became totally agitated on receiving the letter "Salford Council needs to know how much anguish it's caused."

Full details here...

BOLTON NHS HOSPITAL WORKERS CELEBRATE HUGE PAY VICTORY

Star date: 22nd October 2018

AFTER TWO DAY STRIKE HOSPITAL WORKERS WIN NHS PAY PARITY

"We stuck together and we won!" Vicky, cleaner at Royal Bolton Hospital

Bolton Royal Hospital workers are celebrating a massive victory after taking two days of strike action over pay parity earlier this month, supported by Salford UNISON and many other trade unionists.

The workers, who include cleaners, catering staff, porters and security staff, are employed by Bolton NHS Trust's subsidiary company iFM, doing the same jobs as other NHS workers but were offered pay at a lesser rate. Now they have won an increase in line with other NHS workers, backdated to last April.

Full details here...

RALLY TO SAVE OUR NURSERIES AS CAMPAIGNERS PUT DEMANDS ON SALFORD CITY COUNCIL

Star date: 22nd October 2018 

TEN DEMANDS ON COUNCIL BY NURSERY CAMPAIGNERS

Next Saturday, 27th October, Save Our Nurseries campaigners are to hold a rally, from noon, on the lawn of Salford Civic Centre to reinforce the push for a long term solution to closures.

While Salford MPs Graham Stringer, Barbara Keeley and Rebecca Long-Bailey have confirmed attendance, campaigners are putting to the Council ten demands which must be met to avoid a clash.

Full details here...

TONNES OF SALFORD RECYCLING PAPER REJECTED AS PEOPLE PUT WRONG STUFF IN BLUE BINS

Star date: 22nd October 2017

DIRTY NAPPIES AND PLASTIC BAGS PUT IN BLUE BINS

Tonnes of Salford's paper and card recycling collections are being rejected as people put the wrong stuff in blue bins, including dirty nappies, plastic bags, polystyrene packing and even electrical items.

Now Recycle for Greater Manchester has teamed up with Salford City Council to launch a What's In The Box? campaign to remind residents that only newspapers, magazines, greeting cards, paper wrapping paper, cardboard boxes and junk mail and envelopes can be put in the blue bins.

Full details here...

DICK WHITTINGTON COMES TO ST LUKES IN SALFORD

Star date: 21st October 2018

PANTO TIME IN SEEDLEY

Dick Whittington
Monday 22nd–Saturday 27th October
St Luke's Parish Hall, Derby Road £6.50/£5.50

St Luke's Arts and Drama Society, well known for its class performances, is putting on the classic panto, Dick Whittington this week, from Monday until Saturday.

Full details here...

 



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