The bulldozers are hard at work in the tinned up, deserted streets around Mocha Parade in Lower Broughton. Every day more houses, which are only 35 years old, are being stripped out and bulldozed to make way for the New Broughton.
The houses that are currently coming down are affordable, mostly social rent houses. They are being replaced in this latest Phase 6 with 189 `private' three and four bedroom houses, with no affordable housing at all.
The planning application statement for the houses states in no uncertain terms the aims of the whole regeneration project put together by Countryside Properties and Salford City Council…
"It was a key aspiration of the Development Agreement to significantly reduce the proportion of affordable housing and this scheme will help achieve that aspiration."
In the middle of a recession, and in a city where 30% of kids live in poverty, people might well think that Salford needs more, not less, affordable housing. But, having knocked down street upon street of large social rent houses, when this latest phase is complete there will be more private houses in `New Broughton' than affordable ones.
"It's such a shame seeing the tractors in Lower Broughton and all the tinned up houses which are about to be demolished" says local resident Maria Brabiner "These are decent council houses that are only 35 years old and which had had all the home improvements done to them – double glazing throughout, new front and back doors, loft insulation, porches and driveways.
"There is a national council housing shortage, never mind one in Salford where people are crying out for decent homes" she adds "It doesn't make sense, it beggars belief."
Meanwhile, as predicted by the Salford Star back in May (see previous feature click here), the entire Mocha Parade shopping centre is to be bulldozed, along with the adjacent Wrestling Academy which was used by the National Olympic Wrestling Academy in the run up to this year's London Olympics.
It is proposed that Mocha is replaced with "a new retail centre that is fit for purpose and meets the needs and aspirations of the existing and proposed community providing a shopping offer that is of much improved quality both in terms of retailers and the physical environment. This seeks to reflect the wider regeneration aspirations…"
The outline planning application for the new retail centre seeks to build only seven shops to replace the current 12 units that are operating on the Parade, even though the `net floorspace' will be bigger. The `retail statement' submitted by Countryside proposes two large retail units, one of which will be a `foodstore anchor', and five smaller and medium sized units.
Countryside states in its application that "Whilst it is not envisaged that the same number of smaller retail units will be re-provided, units will be provided for smaller local retailers where the demand exists.
"Alternatively" the developer adds "it remains possible that they could relocate elsewhere within the wider regeneration (including into units in The Vibe)... This is on the basis that those businesses are viable and able to meet market rents."
Apparently, traders have already been told that rents will increase in the new development, which will presumably mean increased prices for goods in a neighbourhood where a Salford Council report has concluded "that the average spend per person on retail goods is identified to be approximately 18% below the national average which reflects the deprived nature of the Broughton area."
The Countryside Properties application concludes that one of the key benefits of the new houses and retail centre will be "The creation of a sustainable community…"
Whether what's left of the existing community can survive in the new `sustainable' `gateway' to Salford is a question that can only be answered in the brave `New Broughton' future…
* See previous Salford Star articles on Lower Broughton...
Salford Council Gives City to Developers - click here
Salford Star calls for New Broughton Public Inquiry - click here
No Thanks To New Broughton - click here
• A Note On Flooding…
The proposed development is in Flood Zone 2 and 3 of the River Irwell. Zone 3 has a 1 in 100 (or greater) probability of flooding, while Zone 2 has a 1 in 1000 probability.
For such flood zones the Council has stringent development policies (FRD5) in place but Countryside is proposing "that it would be appropriate in the circumstances to consider a relaxation of policy FRD5" to ensure "that the regeneration aspirations can be achieved" and that the development will be "commercially viable".
Instead it is proposing, as previously, a 1 in 500 year flood level… "but with an additional requirement for all dwellings to include safe refuge that will be dry in the 1 in 1000 year event, in order to protect life should residents be unwilling or unable to evacuate."