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THE FUTURE OF SALFORD MIDDLEWOOD LOCKS
 

Star date: 25th June 2012

MIDDLEWOOD LOCKS CONSULTATION

Middlewood Locks, that £multi-million embarrassment of space on the Salford side of the border with Manchester city centre, could be developed in the near future by the Scarborough Development Group.

The Group has the first of three consultations still happening online and Salford people are being asked to come up with ideas for the space, which sucked in over £4million of public money, before the previous developers went bust.

Full story here…


Oh it was going to be big. So big that former Council Leader John Merry announced in 2003 that the Middlewood Locks development "is critical to the continued growth of Salford".

It was so `critical' that over £4million of public moneyfrom Europe, from the North West Development Agency and from Salford City Council, of course – was pumped into the vast derelict area on the border of Manchester city centre to re-open the Manchester, Bolton, Bury Canal. And make it even more attractive for the developers, Valley and Vale and Beaupere Castle, which were going to build a £300million `urban village' around the Canal.

It never happened, as the developer went bust and the scheme joined the previous dream, SnoWorld, on the scrapheap, while the Canal was left in the middle of a derelict site as the biggest embarrassment in Salford.

While Manchester city centre has continued to sprawl and cram as many buildings as possible into its space, once the border is crossed into Salford the Middlewood Locks site is the largest visual sign of the difference between the two cities. There's just a canal and Middlewood Locks in the centre of a vast empty space.

The Locks were central to the developer's plans, as waterside properties attract a premium of around 25%. So, £4.2million of public money was pumped into restoring the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal at the centre of the area. £2.1million came from Europe (ERDF), £1.1million came from the North West Development Agency (NWDA) and £1million came from Salford City Council.

The developer was supposed to pay back the money to NWDA, while the Council was supposed to recoup its outlay from Section 106 payments from the site.

The developer was also to pay £30,000 a year maintenance costs for the Locks, and Salford Council agreed to stump up £35,000 a year.

Valley and Vale went bust shortly after; presumably NWDA didn't get its money back and neither did Salford City Council. Meanwhile, Salford Council has also, presumably, been paying the £35,000 a year for six years (£210,000) since agreeing to the deal in 2005, when its own risk assessment on the proposal stated that "the City Council must be mindful of the cost of such an ongoing liability"...
 
In February this year, Scarborough Development Group, the property development arm of Scarborough Group International, acquired the 21-acre site through the administrators, Grant Thornton, and has been consulting with the Ordsall and Trinity community this month over future plans for the area.

The original £300million `urban village' blueprint was to create canalside apartments, bars, shops and offices but a press release from the Scarborough Group states that `Scarborough feels the nature of the consent in place is not right for Salford at this time'…

"This site has had lots of plans over the years for a variety of uses" says Lee Savage, Development Director at Scarborough "We want to bring something to fruition which will not only meet the appetite in the market but also benefit the people and communities of Salford. Initial meetings with the local council and key stakeholders has started the process and we're looking forward to the next stage of the consultation with the local community to understand how any potential development could benefit the area."

When developers come calling talking of the `local community' and how plans will `benefit' them it's always best to get the pinch of salt out. The Scarborough Group is a huge global real estate company which owns Sheffield United FC amongst loads of other huge projects.

According to its website (click here) Scarborough specialises in huge office developments with some shopping centres chucked in. And social housing does not seem to be on its agenda.

So what would happen if the `community consultation' decides that affordable housing is most needed in Salford, over office blocks? Will Scarborough go with the will of the people?

The first public consultation has been happening throughout June and there is still time to fill in the online feedback form – click here

The next step is the outline plans which will be produced in September for further consultation, with a final consultation in October this year.

 For further information see www.middlewood-locks.com or click here

Keith. wrote
at 19:27:42 on 01 July 2012
65 years ago I was delivered into this world at no 12 old field road flats. We. We re relocated in the late fiftys and sixths to a what was supposed to b green and pleasant location called Little Hulton. 65 years later Oldfield road is still there nothing changed apart from the filling in off the canal where we would spend great times rafting. A community destroyed by the actions of the council. Being aproud Salfordionian it grieves me greatly that I could never live in Salford again
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 14:23:27 on 28 June 2012
It looks like quite a big plot of land - you could probably get another 8 or 9 Tescos on there
 
Salfordite wrote
at 04:51:30 on 28 June 2012
Let's hope they make another blank, uninspiring, glass and steel chain store non-place like Spinningfields. We badly need one of those.
 
Peter Davies wrote
at 04:51:23 on 28 June 2012
how do we ensure that this group do not get a load of public cash then scarper like all the others.We must have some cast iron guarantees in place before any more public money is wasted on this site. I had hope that for once Salford could end up on the winning side just once but again the Bu**ered off with all the public finace.
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 21:55:24 on 26 June 2012
Would it not be a good idea for the crazy gang to either, redevelop the place themselves & keep any money made from said redevelopment or leave it totally to private companies to take all of the risk? This way the City would see some benefit if the scheme is successful and not piss away millions to greedy business men.
 
Salford Monkey wrote
at 13:27:31 on 26 June 2012
Redraw the boundaries so it becomes part of Manchester instead. There'll be no shortage of interest then.
 
Peppino wrote
at 15:28:33 on 25 June 2012
They could make it Greater Manchester's Hyde park. He he he he.
 
Tahira Chakotai wrote
at 15:28:28 on 25 June 2012
I have a equation, that can be used as a comment, to support this recent story, which has been written by, The Salford Star. It is as follows, Scarborough Development Group = Peel Holdings. Best wishes to all readers, from T.J.
 
Jo Bless wrote
at 15:27:42 on 25 June 2012
How about attracting some decent employers to maximise use of the site ? There is great potential here , and a chance to get the disgraceful level of unemployment reduced in this Dump city . Time for Stewart to stop faffing about , and implement real , positive change for this City's shafted , ripped-off , conned and betrayed Residents . Or is Mayor Wordsmith just determined to let this City rot , as it has for the past 30 years ? After all , he's doing just fine , strolling about collecting that undeserved , huge salary WE throw at him . Just another dead weight , like Spicer ?
 
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