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SALFORD COUNCIL EIGHT YEAR WHIT LANE REGENERATION MESS
 

Star date: 2nd August 2012

YET ANOTHER `NEW APPROACH' FOR WHIT LANE AND CHARLESTOWN…but bring your own tin opener!

Salford Council is to try yet another £3million `new approach' to Whit Lane and Charlestown - after ten years of £53million NDC funding, a zillion masterplans and six months after a vision for the area which might never see the light of day.

Properties bought for demolition and currently tinned up in the community-dubbed `Forgotten Estate' will now be offered back for sale to the original owners, in their "current condition", which we're sure they will be thrilled about…

Full story here…


At the East Salford Community Committee meeting last week, Salford Council finally came up with a sort of answer to a question that was originally asked almost a year ago - `What is happening with Whit Lane?'

It's a question the community has been asking since 2004 when the £53million led Charlestown and Lower Kersal New Deal for Communities (NDC) first made public its ludicrous plans to demolish whole areas, mainly by the river, for `waterside apartments' and even a marina.

After a huge community fightback many houses were saved. But half of the Whit Lane estate, streets off Littleton Road and houses at the back of Lower Kersal estate (all by the river) were to be bulldozed. And huge sums of money (never divulged) were spent buying up houses and clearing people for a regeneration that has never happened.

A few years ago the NDC admitted mistakes and reprieved riverside properties at the back of Lower Kersal estate – after elderly residents spent years worrying about their future. But 184 houses by the river - Thursfield Street, Reading Street, Chinley Street, Wainman Street, Suffolk Street, Levens Street and part of Littleton Road – were bulldozed (see here) to make way for a mud patch which Salford Council is assuring residents will be transformed into a `wild flower garden'.

Meanwhile, those forgotten residents around Whit Lane have been left in limbo for years, not knowing the future of their estate or their lives. The only people who prospered from the mess were those on huge NDC salaries, demolition contractors and consultants brought in to draw up plans that never happened…

One sum in 2009 for drawing up a masterplan totalled £441,000. That masterplan was subsequently ripped up. In 2009, £384,682 was spent on demolition of Thursfield Street et al. And another £300,000 was approved in 2011 for `site preparation'…That's over £1million for no return.

Miller Homes, the original developer for the area, has pulled out of the `regeneration' (after stating its building would begin - see here) and last March a `new approach' leaflet was pushed through people's doors showing houses that were `under review' (ie to be demolished) and those that were to be retained. Alongside, was a public display of a vision for the area by Countryside Properties without any commitment to actually put it into practice. When Salford Star spoke to people in the area at the time they were totally unimpressed (see here).

At the East Salford Community Committee meeting last week - amidst a resident resigning from the NDC `community' succession Development Framework Group for "wasting my time" – the `new approach' was unveiled, kind of…

Without any apology to the people of Charlestown Riverside (as the Council likes to call it), Assistant Mayor for Housing and the Environment, Gina Merrett, blamed the "economic climate" for the (eight year!) mess, while an officer outlined details of the `new approach', which is also contained in a Salford Council report, estimating the costs at over £3million.

Twenty two homes on Delft Walk, Condor Place, Eagle Drive and Parsons Field will be demolished at a cost of £330,000. Salford's legal adviser states "some properties have been identified for demolition, although it is not clear in the Report how the land will then be used / developed by the City Council following that demolition…"

Seven families who were kicked out of their homes when the Council wanted to demolish them, will now be offered the chance to buy back their old houses. The houses – in Haymond Close, Ascot Walk and Parsons Field - have been left tinned up and rotting but the Council has to legally offer them for sale to the original owners "in its current condition and at current market value"*. Does the sale come with a free tin opener?

If the original owners don't want their houses back, the properties will be included, along with ninety-one other Council owned properties formally identified for demolition (Ascot Walk, Concorde Place, Enys Walk, Haymond Close and Parsons Field) and forty houses on Auckland Drive, in proposals to bring them up to the decent homes standard with new roofing, kitchens re-wiring etc.

Environmental improvements, which the Council report states "would seek to deal with the more negative issues associated with the Whit Lane estate", and costing over £800,000, are to be outlined at a later date.

Meanwhile, Mo who runs the only shop in the area at Concorde Place, and has slugged out the `regeneration' for years, is still not being promised a new store. The Council report merely states that "Urban Vision be tasked with developing detailed proposals for these units that reflect the views of residents and other stakeholders as far as possible, within the available resources…"

In the eleven page Council report, only two paragraphs deal with the `Future Development of Charlestown Riverside', stating "it is important that a new developer partner is appointed as soon as possible…As such, it is now proposed to test the market, and seek expressions of interest from developers".

And, yes, yet another Steering Group is being set up to sort it all out.

Meanwhile, the report includes the understatement of the year -

"Progress has been made, albeit slower than hoped for…"


* These `Critchel Downs Obligations', under which the Council has to offer formerly purchased houses back for sale to original owners because they are not being demolished was never applied in Langworthy. There, owners were under the impression that their homes were to be demolished when they sold them to the Council, only to find they were retained and transformed into the Urban Splash `upside down' houses at Chimney Pot Park, or re-sold to other people.


** The Salford Star still hasn't had a reply to the Freedom of Information request re the Development Framework Group – see here

See also previous Salford Star articles on Whit Lane and the NDC

Salford NDC Regeneration Shambles – click here

NDC Made No Difference - click here

The Forgotten Estate - click here

The £53million Down The Drain Award - click here

                   

John Murray wrote
at 7:58:17 AM on Thursday, March 7, 2013
It has all the hallmarks of Urban Cleansing wrapped up in a pretty package. The council sell to developers (getting money for the sale) then the developers build houses for a price that the locals cannot afford (token amount of social housing is included) but is in the price range of people moving up from the south to fill in vacancies in Media City, the council then get the council tax from said properties so its a win win for them. Large estates of perfectly servicable housing are being demolished to make way for houses to be built so that more people from outside the area can be brought in thus forcing the people of salford further and further out of this once great citys boundaries. In a few short years there will be no native Salfordians because those who have been born and raised here will be scattered to the winds in the name of progress and the future, should the people that we elect look after those who put them in office or continue to look at the bottom line and sell whole communities just to balance the books .
 
caroline wrote
at 1:38:42 AM on Saturday, August 11, 2012
thanks for putting it up it will be interseting to see if i get a response.hopefully postive
 
Stuff 'Em All wrote
at 1:38:20 AM on Saturday, August 11, 2012
Agreed Caroline . Corruption runs through this dead country . It's rotton to the core , like a bad apple , Government or Council .... Steal from the the Poor , to stuff the greedy and bloated Rich Slugs . This country is the perfect expression of CORRUPION .
 
caroline wrote
at 11:41:09 PM on Thursday, August 9, 2012
To irwell running through me. Read salford star Bindloss..Good write up ..but to my family it was not a manson but our home which was trashed with our personnal belongings in it..so let us have litigation....ooops..forgot to say they can strike out your defence..(if you can find anyone to take it on...If you do find anyone you will simply run out of money for they have tax payers unlimited funds unlike joe public). What the council says is deemed to be true?. Corruption? you do not need to go to other countrys for corruption, it alive and well in the UK..yes full investigation.. yes please..If we fail to stand up..we go no were..we have to stand up for all... wrong doing.,.
 
wrote
at 3:47:01 PM on Monday, August 6, 2012
Doc Martin would turn in his grave if he knew where his shoes were walking
 
Irwell Running Through Me wrote
at 1:42:19 AM on Sunday, August 5, 2012
There is so much wrong with this, and so much to say about it, that I hardly know where to begin. So, I am not going to. It would take too long. What I would like to know is this, however - how much is the current market value for these homes? And also, are the previous owners 'economically active'? Because I suspect that with the high unemployment nationally, and even more so in Charlestown, that this 'new approach. is just more bullshit and hot air. I know that everybody says their particular council is 'bent' or crooked. And I know that now and again there is even the odd staff member caught out for fraud, as happened recently in Manchester - but it really does seem to me that Salford Council is among the most corrupt in the entire country. I just cannot understand how there has not been a full investigation into their behaviour. Absolutely criminal. And I only wish I could use this page to publicly name those who I think are the most tainted, fraudulent, corrupt, cheap suit wearing, over weight, little bastards - but I cannot as it would leave this fine publication open to litigation. But I am sure you all know who I am thinking of, and they can't do you for thinking!!
 
Fiz wrote
at 6:18:50 AM on Friday, August 3, 2012
New word for Stewart : Squanderisational . Solely applicable to the gross ineptitude of the Clown Hall Cretins .
 
TrashCan Man wrote
at 1:56:07 AM on Friday, August 3, 2012
Doubtless Mayor Funky Gibbon will avoid any investigation into this disgraceful farce. This obscene squandering of our money by the Swinetown Cretins must be independently investigated . What a pathetic joke the town hall cretins are .
 
mary ferrer wrote
at 8:02:19 AM on Thursday, August 2, 2012
When I read that Salford council have or will be given millions to Regeneration I start to worry.I don't know how they get the money in the first place because if the outcome is anything like the bid how the hell do they get the funding in the first place. I would love to see a breakdown of where and how they have spent all the millions they have had over the years. Just looking at bits in this story makes your hair stand on end,but if they have it this council seem to spend it without a thought.How the hell are they going to offer these properties to the people who had to move out in the first place. How would you or I feel if our home where we have brought up our family in was taken off us,tinned up for years then told come back,have a look and buy it back if you want.Another crime against the people of Salford.
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 8:00:58 AM on Thursday, August 2, 2012
Will this bunch of morons never learn? After being left in the clarts by Miller Homes now they are looking for another bunch of sharks to rip off the people of Salford. Why not actually build some social housing, you don't need to bring in developers or any outside agency. The city was building & maintaining housing for years. As for Gina Merrett not apologising, that would require a conscience, something that all politicians lack.As well as a heart & a brain.
 
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