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SALFORD COUNCIL DODGES ITS OWN PLANNING RULES
 

Star date: 30th March 2012

SAFORD COUNCIL PARTNERSHIP WITH COUNTRYSIDE PROPERTIES IS `UNVIABLE' FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Salford Council's own Planning Panel was the judge and jury that decided there was no need for affordable housing when presiding over an application for a partnership that included Salford Council.

Salford Council's own policy states that in a scheme of the size proposed, 20% of housing should be affordable. But this was waived, as were other payments, because the project would be `unviable'.

Full story here…


Top Streets of Salford Being Demolished March 2012 Top Streets of Salford Being Demolished March 2012 Top Streets of Salford Being Demolished March 2012
click image to enlarge

Salford City Council has very clear rules when it comes to new housing schemes. Any development of more than 25 dwellings must have at least 20% affordable housing, in accordance with policy HOU3 of its own Housing Planning Guidance document.

So when a planning application for eighty new houses in the Top Streets of Higher Broughton was submitted by Countryside Properties and the Higher Broughton Partnership - of which Salford Council is a partner, along with the Royal Bank of Scotland and Sigma Inpartnership – people might have expected an element of affordable housing.

However, when the plans came up before Salford Council's Planning Panel on March 15th, the 20% affordable housing obligation was waived.

The planning papers even stated that "Due to the size of the site and amount of units proposed there is a requirement for the scheme to provide an element of affordable housing…equating to a total of 16 units. The applicant is not providing any affordable housing across this scheme".

First, the `applicant' tried to dodge the requirement by arguing that this scheme was nothing but an extension of "existing schemes in the nearby vicinity whereby the 20% provision has therefore been met". But even Council planning officers wouldn't swallow that one – it's not even the same developer.

Then `the applicant' submitted a "viability appraisal of the development to demonstrate that should affordable housing be provided then the scheme would be unviable". This was reviewed by Salford Council's surveyors who agreed that any affordable housing would make the scheme "unviable".

Planning papers state that "whilst the provision of affordable housing is important, to meet the housing needs in this area of the City…the benefits of bringing this scheme forward outweigh the need for 16 affordable units and as such the development is considered acceptable in this regard."

Elsewhere in the application, under the heading `Provision of Public Open Space and Landscaping' there was a requirement for the scheme to meet something called Code Level 3 which would have cost £272,000

…But `the applicant' stated that this "further burden could result in the scheme not coming forward", so it was waived again, with a mere note on the planning permission stating that "The Panel requested that liaison take place with the Lead Member for Housing, other appropriate Lead Members and the developer to review the overall provision of public open space in the wider area".

The `applicant' did, however, generously agree to pay a £16,000 climate change charge. Meanwhile, the `applicant' would normally also have to pay for a Section 106 Agreement, to cover off site improvements, however this wasn't required either, because it was providing such things under a `developer agreement' with Salford Council.

In the end, the `applicant' was required to pay a mere £1,500 per house for public realm and stuff, plus £150 per house for construction training, and £200 per house for climate change. Given that these are all three, four and six bedroom houses this is absolute peanuts. The total cost to the `applicant' for eighty houses is £148,000, probably less than the cost of one house.

Salford Council's Planning Panel passed the application as it stood, with no affordable housing requirement, no Section 106 payment and hardly any of the normal infrastructure payments.

This is all nothing new for Salford Council which has been generous in the extreme to developers in the city (see The Great Affordable Homes Scandal in print issue 4 of the Salford Star)...But what is different about this particular application is that the `applicant' is officially Countryside Properties and Higher Broughton Partnership – of which Salford Council is, er, a partner…

 

• In a further twist, the planning decision might yet be ruled unlawful as one of the objectors to the scheme was not informed of the Planning Panel meeting – a clear breach of the rules.

* In an even further twist, after the planning permission was given, it was announced that Jewish housing association, Agudas Israel, would be taking 25 of the houses, presumably making them affordable. So why wasn't this a condition of the planning approval?

See also previous Salford Star articles on the troubled Top Streets of Higher Broughton – click here for There Goes The Neighbourhood
 

 

salford pimpernelle wrote
at 14:09:42 on 01 April 2012
to salford star. do a interview of all the candidates of the mayoral election, ask them what's their manifesto for a more democratic salford, where salford people have more of a say of the running of this city, where billion £ companies and property developer run this city. ask them if they are elected mayor of this city, that they will order a full public and police inquiry and a financial audit in to the councils books, and that they would put this in to their manifesto and act on it, things like the salford reds stadium,bbc philharmonic orchestra,wasted millions, the ethnic cleansing of salford people from area's like langworthy, kearsal, brougthon and many more, these need to be investigated.
 
salford pimpernelle wrote
at 14:08:41 on 01 April 2012
Caroline, George Washington once said a, a people that fears it's government lives in dictatorship, and when a government fear's it's people, then those people live in a free democracy.weather you voted for them or didn't vote, the people of salford deserve these idiots that rule us, we are our own worst enemy.
 
caroline wrote
at 07:53:02 on 01 April 2012
salford pimpernelle..100% agree.They vote them in..be it on there own head..ooops but some do not vote because all seem bad and they are lost...
 
Ian OBrien wrote
at 10:00:44 on 31 March 2012
Once again, I have to say, I cannot even conclude that those who are facilitating these and morally corrupt bankrupt schemes, even believe themselves to be in anyway a Labour council. I might be able to cope with the thought that the likes of Mr Merry and his merry band are true men of the left who are making bad decisions, but with the ultimate aim of doing good for the people of Salford - after all, they do say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. But it is beyond belief that this kind of corruption can be the product of naivete or even stupidity. That am sure we could, eventually forgive. But not this. Not this blatant abuse of power. This is beyond Thatcherism. The (rusty) Iron Lady sold off council houses and sold the working classes some silly dream that being mortgaged up to the hilt made us middle class (though why any of us would want to be is beyond me). She pulled a master stroke which depleted social housing stock nationwide. But Thatcher is a ghost; a relic of a right wing party which left men to starve to death rather than let them wear their own pants ffs!!! John Merry and his gang make her look almost decent. I am betting he can quote Marx chapter and verse, the way evangelical Christians in America's deep south could quote the new testament while slinging a rope over a tree branch in the dead of night. If I could only believe he really thought, in his struggling little heart, that all this was for the good of the city. I might not be so.......despairing. But, I cannot because he does not. He can not. And SIX bedroom houses? Who the f**k is going to buy a six bedroom house in Higher Broughton, sandwiched right between major transport routes and central manchest....oh. I see. I wonder if John has one of these pegged for his retirement cottage? Shame on the lot of them.
 
salford pimpernelle wrote
at 09:59:12 on 31 March 2012
and people still vote them in, so who's to blame?
 
Ferdinand Gabaltorix wrote
at 09:58:24 on 31 March 2012
Whatever undeserving politico-turd we gift the Mayoral Money Pot to had better stop this inept , useless clowncil from running this Dead city like a third-world banana republic.
 
Dead City Resident wrote
at 19:05:38 on 30 March 2012
Ethnic cleansing . Compulsory purchase peoples homes and cheat them of full value compensation . Manipulate the planning rules to accomodate the whims of big business . Just typical of this lot , and utterly disgraceful . What a Shower of bullying , manipulative , scheming , self-serving Shites .
 
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