Star date: 18th January 2012

A Salford Star Exclusive


As Peel Holdings records profits of £55million, Salford Star reveals the huge amounts of public money that have been sunk into MediaCityUK, virtually covering all of Peel's £490million costs on the development.

Meanwhile Salford Council has waived  its financial contribution policies on the site which remains in private hands, with Peel's private security company ejecting anyone it feels like…

Full details here…

MediaCityUK MediaCityUK MediaCityUK
MediaCityUK MediaCityUK MediaCityUK
MediaCityUK MediaCityUK
click image to enlarge

As Peel Holdings submits plans for the huge twenty year expansion of MediaCityUK, featuring five million square feet of offices, apartments, a hotel, retail units and car parks (see here), the Salford Star can reveal that the costs of the first built phase of MediaCityUK will be almost entirely met by public money.

According to the latest set of accounts from Peel Media (Holdings) Ltd - one of the three Peel subsidiary companies that own and run MediaCityUK - the `historical cost' of its properties on the Quays was £490.8million.

Meanwhile, the public sector will pay Peel nearly £487million in rents, grants and hire fees. This breaks down as…

• BBC rent of studios £233million (over 20 yrs)
• BBC rent of offices £170million (over 20 yrs)
• University of Salford campus rent £19.126million (until 2020)
• Salford Council lease on Media Enterprise Centre £3.8million (until 2016*)
• NWDA**/Salford Council (et al) grants for public realm and transport £61million

The total of £486.9million in public finance for the privately owned MediaCityUK means that Peel have virtually covered all its costs - before raking in profits from its 378 apartments (est value £56million), its car parks, and its office space and studios rented out to private sector companies, including ITV.

NWDA and Salford Council financial contributions for things like the main piazza at MediaCityUK and the Metrolink, have only ever been disclosed as being £30million. But a Salford Council report recently stated that a "total public sector investment of £61m has been committed into Media City for the provision of public realm and transport infrastructure".

Normally when developers build hotels and apartment blocks they have to make payments to Salford Council under Section 106 for things like open space, infrastructure and heritage. In the original application put in by Peel for outline planning permission for Media City, this was calculated to be £5.56million. But Peel never had to pay it…

"…a significant amount of public realm and infrastructure works would be undertaken as part of the proposals, which I consider would outweigh the need for the above contribution" wrote the Salford Council planning officer.

Yet the `public realm and infrastructure works' were paid for by public money from the NWDA and Salford Council! What we now know is £61million's worth of `public realm and infrastructure'. This is the same NWDA that had an ex-Peel Deputy Chairman as its Chairman, and the same Peel Media that had an ex NWDA Chairman as its Chairman (see here)

The Salford Star put in a Freedom of Information request to Salford Council asking what contributions under Section 106 Peel Holdings had made in regard to Media City…

"In the case of MediaCityUK the developer committed to providing a series of public areas, including parks and squares, as well as a waterside piazza" the Council responded "...In this case the scale of the provision included within the development itself has been massive, and with the developer's commitment to maintain these areas as well, this meant that Section 106 would not be required in order to achieve the same outcome."

In other words, Peel contributed virtually nothing towards the main piazza***, which was almost entirely paid for by public money - yet its private security `police' have already ejected legal pickets from outside the University of Salford building (see here), while the Salford Star has received many complaints from people who have been stopped from handing out leaflets or filming (!) on the site.

Meanwhile, Salford Council also has in place a policy that any major housing development should make provision for 20% of it to be affordable housing. Peel Holdings has 378 apartments on MediaCityUK – but, again, this policy was waived by Salford Council's planning officer who "concluded that, given the large amount of investment and the level of public realm and infrastructure that would be provided within the site, the applicants are not required to provide affordable housing in this instance."

But the "public realm and infrastructure" was paid for out of public money!

Salford Council also has in place a policy that "encourages developers to provide or contribute to accredited training programmes for construction workers. Where this does not happen, a financial contribution to the Salford Construction Partnership is recommended."

Yet again, this policy was waived... "The applicants have commented that the proposals would result in the creation of in the region of 15,000 jobs in addition to training opportunities" stated the planning officer "Clearly, this would represent a significant economic benefit to the city. In view of this, and the other benefits and investment highlighted above, I do not consider it necessary to require the applicants to make a contribution towards training for construction workers in this instance."

So there you have it. The costs of Peel Holding's investment in the first built phase of MediaCityUK are almost entirely covered by public money. While its commitments under Section 106 were also either waved or covered by public money.

Yet MediaCityUK remains a totally private enterprise even down to the cameras the BBC use, with all profits from car parks, apartments, hotels, rents and other fees going straight to Peel Holdings.

Peel Holdings parent company, Peel Holdings (Land and Property) Ltd posted profits of £55million in its latest accounts. Peel Holdings Isle of Man based svengali, John Whittaker, last year saw his personal wealth double from £1,015million in 2010 to £2,075million in 2011, according to The Sunday Times Rich List.

Peel Holdings gave a paltry £17,000 to charity according to its latest accounts. The Salford Star is still waiting for a response from Peel Media as to whether it has taken on any apprentices from Salford. As reported yesterday (see here), just 16 people from Salford have been given proper jobs at the BBC's new base at MediaCityUK.

As plans for the huge five million square feet, twenty year expansion of MediaCityUK are about to be put before the planning panel, the Salford Star is waiting to see whether Salford Council will again waive all its financial contribution policies for Peel Holdings…

* The Media Enterprise Centre is Salford Council's new £8million office complex at MediaCityUK that will "offer a range of services to help stimulate and support the growth of media companies". Salford Council has contributed £1.7million, with NWDA (£2.5million) and European funding (ERDF £4.2million) contributing the rest.

 ** NWDA is the North West Development Agency soon to be abolished in March – see here for details of the very close ties between Peel Media and NWDA, starring Peter Mandelson

*** In response to another Salford Star question back in 2009, Salford Council did state that Peel was contributing £1.68million out of the initial £31.68million public realm costs but the Freedom of Info response didn't include this.

See also: How Salford BBC Jobs Cost Over £200,000 Each! - click here

Riverboat Crews wrote
at 10:30:02 on 21 March 2018
Excuse me Cllr Garrido but was you not a Salford Councillor in 2012 surely your should have made assurances then against property overload. Much happier photo of Merry back in 2012. The years is taking its toll on the Labour lot. Lost the plot. Labour sold Salford down the river.
jim devine wrote
at 17:39:46 on 05 February 2012
lol, love it. His humiliation has made my week, yet they still queue up to say how talented and great he was. Our counry has never been in such a shameful mess solely down to these self serving parasites so can somebody please explain to me what talent, what feckin talent !!!!! Anybody taken in by this so called democratic system (which is nothing more than a 3 party trick) should maybe now question themselves and withfrain from franking it by giving it your vote.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 09:21:19 on 05 February 2012
Jim, I bet Len Barry's 1-2-3 is not on his playlist any more.
Jim Devine. wrote
at 13:47:00 on 04 February 2012
Apologies for carrying this nonsense on but its time we had a laugh at their expense , havent they been laughing at us for to0 long ? If Hulne is cleared of the allegations he has decided to move to Norway, the idea of Nil Points greatly appeals to him. I believe his ex wifes favourite ong ids "Hulnes sorry now " !!!!!!
jim devine wrote
at 22:38:12 on 03 February 2012
Why did hulne refuse to play the triangle for the school band? He couldnt stand the 3 points!!
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 17:08:18 on 03 February 2012
Ohhh you mean bribery & corruption Jim? Maybe Who's Gonna Drive You Home - The Cars?
Justice Thumbs wrote
at 17:07:56 on 03 February 2012
Jim . Well said . Huhney could always stand for mayor of this dead city . He would fit in well with the shabby-suited looters up at the Clown Hall where honesty , decency and integrity mean nothing ....His favorite female singers ?....the POINTer Sisters ..
Jim Devine wrote
at 11:43:45 on 03 February 2012
Nach i think its a case of scratching backs and some kind of return being given further down the line. Feel ecstatic today that the horrible snivelling Hulne is to put on trial, magic. I hear his favourite song he used to sing to his ex wife was "your once twice three points a lady". Or the Beatles "baby you can drive my car".....
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 11:27:57 on 03 February 2012
Strange how those with everything want more & tell us it's for our own good. If you buy into that bullshit that's fine, just don't expect everybody else to fall for it. Yes £490 million sounds like a huge investment so why do they need our money? Like I said if I want to invest in something I have to use my own money. But you seem the generous type give me a couple of grand & I promise to give it you back, or maybe not. You know just like Peel Holdings are doing with us. Though perhaps the main point is that while the poorest & most vulnerable people in this city are being shit on from a great height the crazy gang can find ludicrous amounts of cash to donate to those poor people at Peel Holdings.
Munford wrote
at 07:03:31 on 03 February 2012
Slepper. Grants are used in support of investment across the developed world not just in Salford. £490m sounds like a huge investment by one company.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 22:52:50 on 30 January 2012
Numbford, if I want to invest money in anything I have to use my own. All I ask is that Peel Holdings do the same. I hope that is simple enough for you to understand.
@Nachtschlepper wrote
at 17:15:54 on 30 January 2012
You clearly don't understand what the word "investment" means - the vast majority the development and investment costs were met by Peel. There were some 'sweeteners' offered by the Council. Before you get alarmed about this, consider how easy it would have been for Peel to shift the site elsewhere - and how much happier BBC staff would likely have been had they done so (most are not happy about moving to Salford). I think it was acceptable under the circumstances to go to reasonable lengths to try and secure this investment in Salford. The contributions of the BBC, Council and University are primarily for leasing the premises - this is NOT their paying for the investment but their paying for use of the space provided by the building.
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 10:34:53 on 30 January 2012
Numbford, read the fucking article. Nowhere does it say that it's wrong for investors to make a proffit, it just questions why they have to use public money (our money) as the investment. It also asks why so many rules were waived by the council. Now you may think all this skullduggery is perfectly fine. Some of us take an entirely different view.
Munford wrote
at 21:37:18 on 29 January 2012
Salford star thank you for your advice Your numbers suggest the developer has covered it's costs it has invested so far for the prospective rents it will receive over the next 20 years Instead of using your rag to question the value of Mediacity why not consider looking forward and encouraging the education services, kids and youth of Salford to invest their in training for the inevitable jobs. Let's look back in 10 years and see if this huge investment has worked rather than at the start As for world heritage site, most of the waterfront is derelict of working docks with mountains of scrap metal and coal. My question was not what liverpool preservation trust were doing but who were they
Salford Star wrote
at 10:55:51 on 29 January 2012
See Munford comment below...Don't think you've managed to read the article properly - it's all about the development costs from Peel's own accounts, and it doesn't criticise the BBC at all. Suggest you get yourself some media training... PS The Liverpool Preservation Trust are trying to stop Peel wrecking Liverpool's stunning World Heritage site waterfront
Munford wrote
at 10:49:29 on 29 January 2012
The article Looks at the Costs of renting space in a new development but does not mention the cost of developing this huge site or the net present value of the rents. It's not balanced, it's headlines no depth. It suggests no commercial business should build, let or sell space to public institutions or at least not make a profit. It makes no sense investing in areas that require investment if all the local rag can do is look at the apparent or perceived negatives without considering the future. New opportunities exist in Salford for the next 20 years. Securing the opportunities for locals is where effort is required so they reap the rewards and are given the right training. If an international company had moved to Salford from London would they have received the criticism as have the beeb. The jobs that have come to the region are jobs that are here to stay even if the current jobholders don't. Get some media training and put yourself in a position to benefit in the years to come. Who are the Liverpool Preservation Trust.
Liverpool Presrvation Trust wrote
at 11:53:47 on 27 January 2012
HOW THE PUBLIC PAID FOR PEEL HOLDINGS SALFORD MEDIACITYUK http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/p00n0293/ The programme opens with the Peel holdings debate The same thing is happening now in Liverppol HEep up the brilliant work. http://liverpoolpreservationtrust.blogspot.com/2012/01/peel-holdings-media-city-paid-for-by.html
at 07:35:16 on 23 January 2012
Ian O brien wrote :- "we know that that publication is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the council." Which One Ian? (Council that is) Since moving to their new premises "Salford" advertiser seems to have lost its identity somewhat, despite its claim to be a freesheet, it can only be found in certain news agencies (The Garage on Trafford Road sells it - Yes Sells it) and since Church St/Liverpool St offices have gone by the wayside, its difficult to know where it is 'freely' delivered....it's getting more "mancunian" by the second.
Ian OBrien wrote
at 20:59:38 on 22 January 2012
Imagine the Manchester Evening News running a story like this, instead of the crappy little piece they ran last week which told us virtually nothing at all other than very few people have so far gotten jobs out of it. This gives you an idea of just how corrupt Salford and Manchester actually are, when the press is like a dog on the lead of it's masters. The so called Salford Advertiser is owned by MEN Media/Trinity Mirror Group, so we know that that publication is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the council. If I had spent four years studying to be a journalist, I wouldn't sleep at night unless I was producing stuff like this piece, rather than the tabloid pap the MEN papers plop out. I am going to send this link to the MEN and ask their editor how she sleeps at night. That said, you would do as well asking Rupert Murdoch. Another big thumbs up to Salfords only real investigative news publication - if only there was a way to get hard copies out again.
Question everything wrote
at 07:13:29 on 22 January 2012
From this story it is clear to see why Viridor have the refuse collection contract,instead of Salford council refuse department,who are set to cut all overtime because they have no money, ????
at 06:37:08 on 19 January 2012
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Fadge wrote
at 20:45:15 on 18 January 2012
Corruption ,venality , avarice ,greed ,lies , deceit ,treachery and betrayal exposed for scrutiny . Outrageous , yet so typical . If the arrogant , ignorant , shameless corrupt , venal bastards don't resign , we'll kick them out .
UoS wrote
at 19:41:28 on 18 January 2012
At the risk of stating the obvious, Peel is a private organisation and thus they built MediaCityUK in order to make a profit. It therefore does not surprise me that they will recoup their costs from those with whom they have made lease agreements. Although recouping almost all costs within what appears to be quite a short time frame could be seen as greed (given that the 'asset' - the buildings - could potentially still be there in 100 years time).
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