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PEEL HOLDINGS TO GET MORE PUBLIC MONEY FROM SALFORD COUNCIL
 

Star date: 16th February 2012

A Salford Star Exclusive  

SALFORD COUNCIL TO GIVE ALMOST £2MILLION TO PEEL HOLDINGS CANAL

Cash strapped Salford Council, which next week will announce cuts of another £24million, is to underwrite almost £2million worth of funding towards improvements for the Peel Holdings owned Bridgewater Canal.

The underwriting is part of a new bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to do up the Canal. The original bid was turned down because even the Lottery Fund was astounded that canal owner Peel wasn't putting any money into the project at all. Now Peel - backed by one of the richest Saudi conglomerates in the world - has promised the massive sum of £50,000 towards the £5,465,614 million total cost…

Full story here…


Next Tuesday, 21st February, Salford Council will be asked to ratify a further £24million of cuts, on top of £40million announced last year. An official report to be presented to the full Council meeting estimates that between the years 2011 and 2015 there will be in total over £100million of cuts.

Also happening next Tuesday is a Salford Council Planning meeting at which Salford Council is being asked to underwrite almost £2million by 2017 towards a makeover of the Bridgewater Canal.

The total commitment of £1,965,714 from Salford Council is to make up a shortfall in a funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund worth £5,465,614. The bid is being re-submitted because the original one was thrown out by the Lottery Fund partly because it was "concerned" about "the commitment of Peel, as a major land landowner within the Bridgewater Canal Corridor to maintain the improvements on their land and the need for them to commit more financially to the project".

Following a meeting between Salford Council and Peel, the report to the Planning meeting states that "Peel have agreed to provide a letter…providing a commitment to maintain the towpath improvements until a minimum of 2035 …Peel will also provide a written commitment of £50,000 capital funding towards the project. Peel also outlined at this meeting that as part of their proposed developments along the canal they would expect to have to provide Section 106 funding, which could help to meet the match funding shortfall."

In other words, as well as the pathetic £50,000 contribution to make its Bridgewater Canal more attractive for development (riverside houses, apartments, cafes, bars) it will hand over Section 106 payments from its profit raking developments to the Council, which it is legally is obliged to do anyway! And Salford Council tax payers potentially pick up the bill for the other £1,965,714…

Salford council tax payers may well be asking when the subsidising of one of the richest companies in the UK is going to end. The Salford Star recently handed Peel Holdings a Mary Burns Feed The Rich Award (see here) for receiving over £2million in direct payments over the last 12 months from Salford Council for MediaCityUK, as well as £490million in total public payments (see here)…

…Peel is also attracting £30million in public subsidy for its Port Salford venture, including £15million from Salford Council. There's also a £22million loan from local tax payers towards the Salford City Stadium joint venture Peel/Salford Council company. 

Peel Holdings is backed by the powerful and fabulously rich Saudi conglomerate, Olayan Group, which has a stake in the company. The combined wealth of Peel svengali and Isle of man tax exile, John Whittaker, and the Olayan family is estimated to be around $16billion (more of this to follow).

It's ironic that the same day Salford Council will ratify millions of pounds worth of cuts it will also be ratifying yet another £2million of subsidy to the interests of Peel Holdings…


• The Bridgewater Canal, according to this Salford Council report already receives between £250-300,000 per year in subsidy from Salford Council.

• The report also states that its contribution of £1,965,714 will "hopefully be secured from external organisations"…yet £1,150,000 of this `external funding' is from Salford West which is actually Salford Council's own fund for the regeneration of the Salford West area.

• The Salford West fund is managed by the Salford West Partnership Board which is made up of made up of "people from local businesses, regional organisations and local public services, and councillors". The names of the actual people who sit on the Board is not available anywhere in the public domain (we certainly can't find it), and neither are there any minutes of any board meetings available to the public. Yet the Board is responsible for the delivery of the Salford West Plan involving millions of pounds of Salford Council money. Who wants to bet that Peel Holdings sit on this Board?

• The Heritage Lottery bid comprises of "public realm and heritage improvements and activities to the following sites owned by either Salford City Council or Peel Holdings, who own the canal… Bridgewater Canal towpath; Bridgewater Park, Boothstown; Worsley Delph; Dukes Drive, Monton, and Barton Aqueduct pocket park".

• The Salford Council report into the match funding warns of a "worst case scenario that we do not manage to obtain any further match funding from either external organisations or other external match funding bodies, this would require the council to make provision within its capital programme for 2015/16 and 2016/17 of £957,857 per year, a significant challenge given the current and anticipated future financial climate…" The report also warns that "There is a medium risk that the council may not achieve its match funding target as set out in this report, thereby meaning the council may actually have to underwrite the shortfall…"

• In the report's conclusion the Council's legal adviser warns that "The report makes certain assumptions, in good faith, about the future availability of finance, but, if, for whatever reason, those expectations are not fulfilled, there could be questions about how the project might continue to be funded and, in the extreme case of the council's not being able to make up any deficiency in match-funding, what view Heritage Lottery Fund might take…"

 


Additional reporting by Anne Czernik

Peel appeal? wrote
at 16:37:34 on 21 November 2012
Why do Salford give money to Peel and its various branches and then have to go to court in other matters to try to stop them building,mining etc? Why dont Salford get rid of Spicer and co and give that "nice person of ethnice diversity" Kweeku Adoboli a chance to sort out the finances of the council?
 
Ian OBrien wrote
at 22:30:08 on 18 February 2012
@ Brian Francis Kirkham - Very interesting Brian. But didn't Salford council say they were carrying out a feasibility study to see if the cranes could actually be dismantled and moved, and this was going to cost over 900k? In which case - why? Why, if they are owned by Peel are Salford tax payers to fork out? Oh. Wait. I forget. Because Peel own Salford council. Silly me :)
 
Brian Francis Kirkham wrote
at 05:05:12 on 18 February 2012
Fanwango, the cranes belong to Peel - A remnant of a forgotten time when the big ships actually came into Salford (or as peel like to call it "Manchester" Docks). They had some crazy idea to do them up and stick them by the M602 Roundabout as some sort of "Gateway" to the quays (We'd be paying for it of course) but the council saw sense and they stayed by Ontario basin - Irony is Peel used the docks to its own ends - firstly shutting the canalside to shipping at salford (so Liverpool got all the traffic) and then opening the freight terminal at Trafford Park (so it avoided landing charges at Liverpool)
 
Fanwandango wrote
at 20:55:24 on 16 February 2012
Wow and to think Salford Council said just the other day that they couldn't justify (in the current financial situation) the money to restore the blue cranes in Salford Quays and they will probably have to go - another bit of historic Salford left too long to fester and then SC say there it's too late/no money etc and yet - hand over fist cash to Peel Holdings/BBC and others. Its depressing. The actual people of Salford have no say in what happens to their city.
 
Ian OBrien wrote
at 17:43:38 on 16 February 2012
Thanks Salford Star. And don't forget peeps, John Merry is on Twitter. He is your employee. I see no reason why everybody in Salford should not befriend him and ask him about these things. So long as nobody is combative, insulting, or rude (it may be hard, I have spoken to him myself lol) he cannot block you. If he does, why not write to the Salford Star and I am sure they will ask his office why :)
 
Beam Me Up , Scotty wrote
at 17:40:45 on 16 February 2012
WE all need to remember this outrage at voting time , as a certain traitorous turncoat is sniffing the mayoral seat ,despite previously being against it.
 
Salford Star wrote
at 13:15:30 on 16 February 2012
See Ian O'Brien's comments below... hiya, you can ask for this information under Freedom of information and wait a zillion years or just ask your local friendly councillor who prob won't know what you're talking about. Meanwhile we'll try and find out via the Council press office - don't hold your breath!
 
Ian OBrien wrote
at 13:09:32 on 16 February 2012
Here is a stupid question - which independent board or body, are the people of Salford able to approach to have this relationship investigated? We have recently become aware, as a nation, of exactly how the very core of our 'democracy' and judicial system can be bribed and bought by mammoth companies such as these - I am referring, of course, to News International. It is not hard to believe that an organisation with this much financial clout could illegally influence a nickel and dime operation like Salford Council. So, though the Salford Star does an unbelievably fantastic job of bringing this kind of thing to us, and in language we can actually understand, rather than the political nonsense and bollix talk the like of John Merry chat, what can we do? Who can we go to? Who is supposed to be investigating this? Because, even if everything they are doing is, technically, legal - local democracy has been completely usurped. Why do we not have a referendum on this latest dumping of cash into Peels pocket? None of which is going to do anything at all for the people of Ordsall or Gerald Road or Weaste? It may be good for the rich folk of Worsley at some point, but not for the people of Pendleton. So, what is to be done, other than discussing it? Standing around with placards outside the town hall is pointless. Isn't it time to ask an external, and independent body, to investigate? If there is one that is. And as for the identity of the board members, and the minutes of Salford West meetings - this all seems shockingly irregular. Can the Salford Star demand this information? Can I demand this information? I suggest everybody 'follows' John Merry on Twitter and ask him. If he blocks the people he serves, those who pay his wages, write to Salford Star. It will make a good story!!
 
Anti- Politician wrote
at 12:04:07 on 16 February 2012
There is a rotton stench regarding the all-too-cosy relationship between Saltford Clowncil and Grubby Business Chums which needs urgent investigation .
 
Brian Francis Kirkham wrote
at 11:57:52 on 16 February 2012
I am but a simple salfordian, but If you ever get to talk to any of the multi-millionaires behind Peel Holdings (Who own, I believe, the bridgewater canal) why Salford Council is constantly paying out on property that they own? It's OK to say they will be paying the council some of the cost of its latest scheme - but its like me going to a bank and expecting them to take all of the risk (and not paying back the loan) while i take all the profit! This has been going on for Years! Time for Salford to see some return on its investments.
 
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