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SALFORD COUNCIL £13 MILLION FOUNTAIN FOLLY
 

Star date: 6th September 2012 

SALFORD COUNCIL'S £13 MILLION GREENGATE FOUNTAIN SCULPTURE SPLASH

Salford Mayor, Ian Stewart, this week approved yet another £254,437 of Council money to finish off what's called the Greengate Public Realm, a stainless steel sculpture, fountain and space where Victoria Bus Station used to be, just off Deansgate.

Costs for the project have rocketed from an initial £10.2million of public money, to a funding total of £13.3m according to a Council report this week. Salford Council is also underwriting the `ugly sisters' building nearby to the tune of £15million. Meanwhile, cuts to public services in the city continue.

Full story here…


Greengate Public Realm Greengate Public Realm Greengate Public Realm
Greengate Public Realm Greengate Public Realm Greengate Public Realm
Greengate Public Realm Greengate Public Realm
click image to enlarge

It may well be, as Salford Council claims, a "stunning public realm" that "will link the medieval cores of Salford and Manchester", but costs to the public purse seem to be rocketing by the week, as the `iconically' titled Greengate Public Realm nears completion.

The space, where Victoria Bus Station used to be across the Salford side of the river from Manchester Cathedral, consists of a new footbridge, two stainless steel beacon/sculptures (it was supposed to be three but one's gone missing) by artist Mel Chantrey, 36 coloured fountains and lots of little curved stone walls to sit on.

The site, until recently, was surrounded by boards visualising the delights of the "£10.2million scheme to reconnect Salford and Manchester at their heart". But a Salford Council report for Mayor Ian Stewart this week states that "a total of £13.3m funding has been secured".

Initially the project, including buying the site (£3million) and its preparation, was to be publicly funded by North West Development Agency (NWDA), Europe (ERDF) and the Homes and Communities Agency, with little direct cost to Salford Council. But as the "stunning public realm" has progressed financial gaps have been filled by the Council, we reckon, to the tune of around £1.5million, and possibly way more than that.

This week, Mayor Ian Stewart approved a further £254,437 to cover "indirect impacts resulting from inefficient working practices and delay to the programme". This follows an additional £205,000, approved by the Council last January to "accelerate" work, and £806,306 to cover the demise of the NWDA.

The Council also initially chipped in £107,000 of Section 106 money to reinstate an `architectural lighting scheme', `river wall design' and `an alternative formwork solution for the steps' which were dropped from the original design to save costs, as it was felt that they would compromise "the quality and visual impact of the public realm".

Behind the scenes, Salford Council has also been funding the Greengate Management Company, at an annual cost of £326,373. TheGreengate Management Company was set up in December 2010 as an `arms length' company, with the Council controlling 51%, and the private sector having a 49% stake. The idea was for the Council to fund the `contribution' for five years from Council Tax and then private developers in the area would contribute. Already Salford Council has paid out £652,746 for the management company, which would deliver "a high quality management and maintenance service for the new public realm"

…The `high quality management' doesn't seem to have happened so far, with "inefficient working practices and delay to the programme" that have seen the costs for the fountains et al escalate year on year. To the point where it's almost impossible to know exactly how much the whole project is costing, or exactly how much Salford Council is forking out.

The report to the Mayor this week begins with a "funding total of £13.3m" but the `Forecast Total Project Cost' is £11,326,510. Even so, that's an increase of well over £1million on the £10.2million cost flagged up on hoardings which surrounded the site during its construction.

Salford Council has argued that the investment in the Greengate Public Realm is sound in that it "could see up to £490M of private sector investment in the area over the next 10-15 years". But, so far there is no evidence of this, apart from the `Ugly Sisters' buildings due to be constructed by ASK developments on the site of the old Exchange Station next to the fountains.

Unfortunately this development has only been ratified because Salford Council has agreed to underwrite the scheme with £15million of public money (see here for further details).

Salford Council is still looking to slash almost £2million from its public services by the end of this financial year, including £304,000 from Welfare Rights and over £1.5million from the Community Care programme…


* Mel Chantrey, the artist who designed the stainless steel beacony type sculptures at the space, is currently being promoted as part of the Urban Market Company. Its website states that Mel believes that our public spaces "take little account of the physical and emotional effect they have on the visitor". When `visitors' see the final bill the Greengate space may well have a major "emotional effect" on them…

mr blue sky wrote
at 06:04:32 on 04 June 2015
I would say to mr chantrey, if thats the best you can do I would quit while your ahead.The pigeons don't even want to visit and feel physically connected to that bag of shite
 
life is loud wrote
at 15:49:19 on 03 June 2015
Which money pot has this come from? Has it been ring fenced specifically for this creation or is it from European money? Once again why do the public have to fork out for something we don't want.
 
Just a Thought.... wrote
at 06:57:31 on 12 September 2012
A Thought, Now it's been explained .... is this some sort of folly to say we're keeping up with Manchester? I mean, our sister city has always swapped art pieces with us, and they've always done some sort of architectural art - Take Piccadilly Gardens for example (No - Really, Take it, It's awful!)
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 18:23:49 on 11 September 2012
Q. What did the Salford councillor get on his IQ test? A. Saliva
 
Dead City Resident wrote
at 19:29:15 on 08 September 2012
Wow, nice to see Mayor Greedy Stewart is continuing the fine tradition of champagne socialism that has ruined this Deadcity . Time we knocked on Greedy's door , and ended this 'Funkyfountainisation'.
 
Peed Off wrote
at 19:46:13 on 07 September 2012
What a disgusting waste of OUR money . Overpaid Mayor Greedy ,and Obscene-salaried Spicer can fund this folly from their own pockets.
 
ANTI POLITICIAN wrote
at 12:35:22 on 07 September 2012
I am greatly angered by this . OUR Money must be spent on elderly services, not a f***ing fountain folly . I would drag the inept wasters out from their cosy offices , and kick them out of this Deadcity .
 
Alice Searle wrote
at 22:19:34 on 06 September 2012
I leave all the angry comments to others since I cannot put my disgust into words. The significance of the cuts and their effect on people's lives seems to be forgotten in the drive to impress with these phallic spikes! I am driven to compare this wasteful folly with a project I have been involved with for some time.Please read on and you will see my point! As you will all know Salford's immense industrial wealth was founded on the coal produced by miners working long hours in attrocious and dangerous conditions. One of these coalfields was the Agecroft Colliery, now a commercial park with no reference at all to its previous important role. Nowhere is there a simple notice recording this historical site. Nowhere is there a monument to these workers. The Irwell Valley Mining Project has been trying to get some tangible recognition. Maybe a small stone monument? Maybe a piece of real craftmanship in the form of statue or sculpture? This has been done with skill and sensitivity in other coalfield areas.It would cost so little and yet record for our children this important part of our history. BUT NO the Council thinks it is more fitting to spend money on, meaningless, insignificant and hugely costly tat!!
 
Joe O'neill wrote
at 20:33:15 on 06 September 2012
When i read the stories on the star i check the dates,April ist, no the stories are sourced factual based reality.We have a Labour lead council that cries foul over the Tory cuts and yet sorry for using the term pisses our money away.These people will not be affected by benefit cuts,they are sitting high on a protected film us our money fills their pockets each month with bloated allowances they care little for the working man or women spending most of the working day filling our letter boxes with how bad the Condems are but never offering anything that looks like a policy to get us out of the mess the national labour Government left us with.Salford voted for this are we really to blame?How far down the line must we go before we see enough is enough!!
 
Smart wrote
at 18:32:22 on 06 September 2012
Stewart,Lancaster,Merry and Warmisham are as smart as they are handsome :DDD Stop moaning about cuts and putting up the council tax and think about the money you are wasting on all this crap.
 
Olivia wrote
at 14:53:50 on 06 September 2012
This has got to be a joke, right?!! The council is making huge cuts in essential mental health services, jobs losses (no compulsory redundancies? yeah, whatever!!) well at least we're getting a sodding "fountain sculpture!!" And how many assistant mayors are we paying for again?? This council is a complete and utter joke.
 
Crazeeeee wrote
at 14:01:56 on 06 September 2012
These inept cretins need dragging out from Tosspot Civic Centre , and lynching .
 
Irwell Running Through Me wrote
at 11:57:58 on 06 September 2012
It is quite amazing when we see the way these people view public money. They come at us with tales of woe, blaming government for everything, and then treat money they did not earn and have no real right to as though it is their personal stash and as if we are in a boom time.//There is absolutely no doubt that the very concept of democracy has failed - or BEEN failed - by those we charged with securing it.//But why would the likes of Merry and Stewart and the rest of the gang care about a little thing like democracy, or even socialism, when no sooner were they handed their phoney baloney jobs than they started to fill their boots with tax payer cash?/
 
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 11:57:29 on 06 September 2012
I've been reading these articles during my breakfast, and this one almost made me choke on my cornflakes! A question for Mr Mayor (or perhaps, one of his deputies) - How Much did you pay for this? I've developed the view that someone from ASK went round the city with the artist and upon coming across the quays - saw the War Museum on the Trafford side. If this is so - It's a poor reflection on IWM North's Iconic design - even I know how their designer came to that building...This one..I'm Not sure what they're supposed to represent...did the developer laugh when the took the cheque? No doubt, once again, our late artists and architects are turning in their graves!
 
Peter Tully wrote
at 11:56:51 on 06 September 2012
When are Salford Council and their side kicks going to fix the corrupt system that they always seem to spurt when spending our money? I for one would rather see the cash used to look after the old and infirm of Salford. Just an suggestion Mr Stewart, why not charge the folk of Manchester ( only 20 meters away) an admission charge to enter "The Greengate Public Realm" then at least you will be able to return some of our money and make the project pay for it's self.
 
Gareth L wrote
at 11:56:28 on 06 September 2012
Why I am not surprised! Salford clowncil picking up a bill for silly public works, when they cut services. £600,000+ for management companies - For what? A wall, some lights and 2 ugly sculptures. Mr Stewart is showing his true colours now - yes man comes to mind
 
tom nolan wrote
at 11:56:14 on 06 September 2012
i cannot believe these plonkers , would waste our money on such a ugly idiotic scheme as this..second thoughts , yes i can believe it..just read the names of those who approved it..
 
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