Star date: 6th March 2013


Last Thursday, 24hours after passing £23.4million of cuts that City Mayor Ian Stewart said would bring "great suffering, real hardship for the people of Salford and their families…", he was at the opening of the £13million Greengate Square and fountain scheme – complete with food served by Harvey Nichols.

At the opening, Stewart confirmed that work would start later this year on Ask Developments' so called `Ugly Sisters' buildings – with rents underwritten by Salford Council to the tune of up to £2million a year according to some estimates.

Full details click here…

Ask Developments' Ugly Sisters office blocks Salford £13million Greengate Square Fountain Salford £13million Greengate Square Fountain
Salford £13million Greengate Square Fountain
click image to enlarge

With incredible insensitivity, Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart rejoiced in the opening of the £13million Greengate Square and fountain, the day after formally passing £23.4million of cuts at a Salford Council meeting (see here) which would bring, he said, "great suffering, real hardship for the people of Salford and their families…".

With food served by posh people's palace, Harvey Nichols, the opening, which was not publicised – perhaps to avoid demonstrations by anti cuts protesters - was attended by `potential developers, investors, funders and users'.

The true cost of Greengate Square - on the site of the old Victoria Bus Station and consisting of a new footbridge, two stainless steel beacon/sculptures, 36 coloured fountains and curved stone seating walls - has never been made public. But a Council report last year stated that £13.3million had been secured, up from original costs of £10.2million (see here for full finance details).

While grants from Europe (ERDF), the Homes and Communities Agency and the now defunct North West Development Agency(NWDA) have financed most of the work, Salford Council has filled the funding gaps, estimated around at least £1.5million and possibly way more. In its budget for 2013 the Council has £250,000 earmarked for what it calls `West Podium Stair and Bijou Club' near Greengate Square

According to a Salford Council report it is also funding the `arms length' Greengate Management Company, at an annual cost of £326,373 for five years from 2010, to deliver "a high quality management and maintenance service for the new public realm"

As far as the Salford Star can see, not a penny has been cut from these budgets, while public service cuts would bring, according to Ian Stewart "great suffering, real hardship for the people of Salford and their families…".

Following the Greengate Square opening Ian Stewart put out a press release stating that the £13million Square "will be the catalyst to £400 million of private sector investment, which will see over 100,000 square metres of commercial floorspace and 1,100 residential units created and a potential 5,000 new jobs in the area".

He also confirmed that "the building of Ask Developments' Embankment office scheme will get underway later this year".

The `Embankment office scheme' is two office blocks, dubbed by contributors to the architecture website skyscrapercity.com as the `Ugly Sisters', to be built overlooking Greengate Square on the site of the old Exchange train station.

Salford City Council has agreed to guarantee 50% of the rent on the first block for the next ten years – which could, according to property website Estates Gazette (and Manchester Confidential), cost Council taxpayers up to £2million a year if the block lies empty. There is currently a chronic underuse of office space around Manchester city centre.

What is more, as the Salford Star pointed out two years ago, the decision by Salford Council to underwrite the speculative project was taken by its Cabinet in secret (or Part 2), was rushed through as "urgent and not subject to call-in" and the decision notice was never posted on the Council's website (we certainly can't find it), as is a legal requirement (see here).

At the time, the then Salford Council Leader John Merry told the Salford Star that the scheme "is expected to bring 880 new jobs to Salford, which will benefit local residents, as well as those from across the region" and added "The rental guarantee we have put in place is there to give developers the confidence to invest in our city and we are happy we will be able to recover this rent when this much needed office space comes to market."

This should all be a source of comfort to those suffering £23.4million cuts which Ian Stewart believes will bring "great suffering, real hardship for the people of Salford and their families…".


See also: Greengate Square wins Mary Burns Award for Folly of the Year - click here

SteveE wrote
at 19:57:01 on 22 March 2013
The architect behind Piccadilly Gardens admits it was a mistake to build a concrete design and would support plans to make it green again. Its decribed as a concrete monstrosity and one of the worst blights in the centre of Manchester. Still Salford can stand proud wit it own concrete blight, quite a pricey one at £13 million. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/tadao-ando-architect-piccadilly-gardens-1766108
Winston Smith wrote
at 07:01:01 on 15 March 2013
Reg, one thing anybody can do to help fight the triumph of evil is to support the Salford Star. I suppose I do my bit (shamefully nowhere near enough) by telling people about it and they're always gobsmacked by what the council are really up to. Just the fact that the council fear the Salford Star far more than the ballot box should give you a clue about the best way to take them on.
Reg Howard wrote
at 05:31:46 on 14 March 2013
Once again Winston,I take your point,about the Labour machine but where we differ is that I am not prepared to lie down and roll over,this is the city where I was born 72 years ago and, I have watched it go downhill at the hands of the Labour crettins who run our council,I have looked at the alternatives and can find no party willing to stand up and say "we are for Salford"and so as group of us are trying to do something positive so that we do not finish up in an Orwellian 1984 city, (which is rapidly coming about) and which your namesake was not to happy about, remember,for evil to triumph,it only needs good men to stand by and do nothing !!
Winston Smith wrote
at 12:44:03 on 13 March 2013
Reg, you can't separate the local Labour Party from the national Labour Party. It's all the same *Brand* and that's ALL that people vote for. Branding and marketing manipulates the masses far more effectively than good ideas and common sense, that's why they employ press manipulators and marketing consultants. It's also why people go to places like McDonalds rather than the local fruit and veg shop. If you don't believe in the power of branding, ask yourself how many of our mayors and councillors would have been elected as independents? NONE by my reckoning. A stuffed seagull in a shopping trolley would beat any of them as independents if it had a Labour rosette attached.
Reg Howard wrote
at 22:18:46 on 12 March 2013
I take your point Winston but,I firmly believe that the only way to beat Salford Labour Party is by getting the people off their backsides and doing something,remember i am not talking about taking on the national party,just the town hall cretins who have become so complacent that they have total disregard for the people of this city.I would be happy to meet up with you and discuss alternative strategies with you,you would be most welcome at the meeting on thursday as will anyone else with constructive ideas,remember, the longest journey starts with the first step,come and join us as we brging the voyage.
Michael Felse wrote
at 22:18:36 on 12 March 2013
Quite correct I did, but in a context of pointing out the options not being grasped by our Council in terms of where to trim back "glam" to reduce the severity of cuts. Salford Star has identified many £millions and the council has more pet projects in the pipe-line. The pure fact is the Conservative-Liberal Government is causing the worst financial crisis to our council. I am not dizzy but saddened to know that whoever had been elected Salford Mayor would have been stopped from making progress by the interference by national Government. I suck up to the truth that only Labour can overturn the plight of Salford's vulnerable people, that's reality.
Winston Smith wrote
at 17:22:50 on 12 March 2013
Reg, I admire your get up and go but, logically, the optimal solution to beating a big and powerful Political Party cannot be to set up a smaller, poorer political party and then play a game with them at which they're experts. I suggest there are better strategies for beating a more powerful enemy (just for the record, I'm not advocating anything immoral or illegal)
not a brain dead labour voter wrote
at 17:22:35 on 12 March 2013
Michael Felse wrote at 10:02:26 AM on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 I am glad I did not vote Labour in Salford but look at what those who did have caused. The Labour voters created this Cuts Council so who do we blame? YES! .......remember the above Michael, all this turning must be making you dizzy Michael. still want to suck up to labour
Reg Howard wrote
at 16:56:19 on 11 March 2013
These debates can go on forever,Steve Kingston highlights the issues,people discuss them,but, nobody DOES anything about them,just moan,but that is all changing,if you want to know more,come along to Salford arts theatre liverpool street,on Thursday at 7-30pm, and meet the people who have decided to DO SOMETHING not just talk,these are the founding members of the "Salford City Party" which has been set up to deal with issues in Salford and will be run by Salford people for Salford people,everybody is welcme irrespective of their politics,the only thing asked is that they are passionate about Salford and wish to see change brought about,this is real people power,it will give the people in each ward the chance to nominate and vote for their own candidate,not someone foisted on them by one of the main parties, the choice is yours,this is democracy.
at 14:47:09 on 11 March 2013
I saw on Felse facebook he resigned from the English Democrats as did Mayor of Doncaster funny politics?
Winston Smith wrote
at 12:58:01 on 11 March 2013
Michael Felse, so we should support "our" Labour mayor?!? Are you saying that with a straight face?!? You're just demonstrating that you politicians have more loyalty to each other than any of you do with the people. The main Parties made this mess both locally and nationally and their totally predictable attempt at a solution is always just to blame 'the other lot'. What we need in this country is more Democracy, not more support for crappy anti-democratic Parties.
Michael Felse wrote
at 09:26:48 on 11 March 2013
Watcher is correct that following in Mayor of Doncaster footsteps I have moved away from the English Democrats. Only Labour can overturn this Tory-Liberal Government that forces cuts on our vulnerable people. We have to face reality. The national scene has much influence on local jobs, services, health, poverty, equality and society. Blaming negative cuts on our local Councillors is wrong. Salford needs to fight back. The cuts need to be given reason, information and justification on why they fall on some options with vulnerable services being protected to the end. Now, that is the responsibility job of our elected Mayor.
Joe Oneill wrote
at 07:21:44 on 11 March 2013
The problem is when the waste was highlighted no one took a damn notice,imagine what it was like to see a council with £six million pounds in sick pay,phone rental through the roof,large increases in senior managment post and salaries to match,every man and his dog with charge cards, shock no one got petrol bills i was at a meeting when they said if we get them we can claim vat back imagine no one got receipts tea and biscuits,etc etc.We tried to get the media involved but it's hard to force the issue when you are small in numbers.Labour have the monopoly in regards to media in this city,yes go ahead and say we have the star but believe it or not out there steve plays it down the line.This city today wiped out the only real oppostion on the Council because the National Lib Dems took their 30 pieces of Siver a taste of power and all thats left to fight in council against the Mayor are the Tories and they will not go against their masters. So wake up you lazy bast--ds who could not be bothered to get off your arse you are to blame so in may 2014 get out to vote and remember it's not allways true when they say it's better the devil you know...
Watcher wrote
at 22:16:33 on 10 March 2013
Blooming heck Mr Felse it didn't take you long to abondon the English dems, looks like you are firmly back in the Labour camp. What our elected Mayor needs to do is stop the wasting of public money that this council seems to thrive on, if they stopped spending OUR cash on shit like this fountain then they would have more to spend on the needy people of this city. The sum is quite simple £23m of cuts minus £13m spent on a glorified pond feature = £10m of cuts (that's less than half Micheal). How anyone from Labour can have the barefaced cheek to blame the condems when they are pissing money up in the air in Greengate square is beyond me.
Michael Felse wrote
at 19:54:42 on 10 March 2013
I am pretty sure this Fountain Project was signed before Mayor Stewart came into post. Possibly in a Council attempt to attract business and new jobs. Maybe then seen as investment and time will tell. However the massive cuts will soon have an adverse effect on life in Salford. We need to support our elected Mayor in telling Tories and Liberals their Con-Dem policy is causing real damage in Salford. Labour has few choices when forced by the Con-Dem Government to cut. Our elected MPs must bang the drum harder to stop Government causing local pain.
correct it Steve wrote
at 18:05:08 on 09 March 2013
That should be £13,000,000 + £20,000,000
Riddler ???? wrote
at 16:29:16 on 09 March 2013
£13 million on useless inanimate objects. You wonder how? Then you look at Blears,Stewart,Merry,Lancaster,Merrit,Spicer etc and you make the connection. If you put the BBC Orchestra in the square, next to the fountains, you would be looking at a large amount of wasted money. For any councillors reading £13,000,000 + £20,000,00 = £33,000,000 How much are the cuts?
Mary Ferrer wrote
at 16:29:00 on 09 March 2013
This latest project is just one of many ways this council have spent OUR monney, with little or no consultation.If we counted all the hairy fairy projects like this and the handouts they have made in the last 3 years there would be money in the pot and these cuts to the most neady of this fine city would not have to take place. But they are a law onto themselves and can and do what ever they want. They won't answer questions, they make decisions behind closed door, known as (PART 2)As for Mr Mayor ask him a question and you get a history lesson on how he was brought up in poverty in Scotland. Well Mr Bloody Mayor thanks to you and your Labour mates family's here in SALFORD are now heading down that road. Its easy to put this all down to this Goverment and they are just as bad. But our council are no better they should spend wisely and have reserves in the bank to help when things like this come along. But they have been like that woman who won the pools SPEND SPEND SPEND. Now its CUTS CUTS CUTS.
not happy wrote
at 07:32:05 on 09 March 2013
Great suffering, real hardship for the people of Salford and their families…" that’s true Mr. Mayor but you won’t see it, no queueing in food banks for you or waiting for a Ambulance to take you to hospital and when you get there waiting for hours to get seen to so don’t patronise the people of Salford we know about hard ship DO YOU derpnd
Mike P wrote
at 17:05:40 on 08 March 2013
It would be interesting to see the true figures on this project. Keep Digging Salford Star!
sally griffiths wrote
at 16:16:57 on 08 March 2013
In my view Mr Stewart doesn't need to wake up and smell the coffee. He is very much awake, very aware of what the council are doing and doesn't care. We need a councillor in Salford like the councillor in Warrington who has voted against the proposed cuts.
Winston Smith wrote
at 17:40:25 on 07 March 2013
This is brilliant! I was hoping our "...great suffering, real hardship for the people of Salford and their families" at the hands of the council would pay off with a crap fountain or two. See? What were you all moaning about
Heather Rawlinson wrote
at 07:55:24 on 07 March 2013
Maybe some enterprising recycler will do us a favour and take them to the scrap dealers. Mr Stewart needs to wake up and smell the coffee
Fed up of Irwell Riverside Councilliors. wrote
at 07:55:09 on 07 March 2013
Investment in Greengate years from that other City called Manchester,investment over the years at Salford Quays ,over the River from Trafford, Where's the investment in the "real" backbone of Salford, the hidden Salford that's not to be seen, while this clowncil invest in areas where all can see, No more,make the promise you made to the good people of Salford and that was " I Ian Stewart,will Consult YOU, on everything that effects YOU" The reason I know about this article is because this great Site informs us.
SteveE wrote
at 20:27:49 on 06 March 2013
I walked past this "square" about three weeks ago. Its the old victoria bus station, its is a concrete monstrosity that should never have been build. No one was in this area, the fountains weree going on or off all the time, whilst the odd person strolled up victoria bridge oblivious and not interested in them. Its local footfall s extremely low anywere, a few flats and thats about it on the other side of chapel street. What a waste of money.
David Henry wrote
at 20:27:44 on 06 March 2013
Greengate?! What a pitiful sight. I passed by the "Millionaire Square" only last night around 5pm to see it completely deserted and cast into the darkness that is Manchester's shadow. The fountains were switched-on but looked rather sad. Only half of the fountain seemed to be lit-up in the new square which currently has no visible retail units or other attractions. Apart from the swaves of commuters passing in their cars on their way home, the area was completely deserted. A local business person who runs a food-van recently had to stop trading from the road opposite as it is so quiet. (It was a bright-pink Winnebago if you ever had a chance to spot it). Bijou Club seems to be eternally closed except at the weekend, and I doubt it's the kind of place most ordinary Salfordians want to go anyway. Even the droves of United and Real Madrid fans who had famously descended on the City Center last night, drinking in the bars around the Cathedral and Deansgate were no-where to be seen. On top of this the "new-high-street" that is supposed to appear on Chapel Street is at a standstill (much like the traffic!). Genuine local traders are suffering over at the Precinct, slowly dying thanks to the obscene "Tesco Extra", where the "new public square" we were promised there is turns out to be another useless, ugly concrete wasteland and nothing more than aesthetic element of the new car-park. It could easily accommodate several out-door market stalls - but I guess greedy Tesco's won't be to happy about that! Combined with all the other disastrous "looks good on-paper" developments dreamed up by the Labour council over the years, it all smells very much of a planning policy that has repeatably gone t*ts up!
Phil Hogan wrote
at 15:57:39 on 06 March 2013
Cant wait for the next mayor elections. Im voting for a Saford born and bred lad not some labour candidate that turns his back on poverty. Money is evil and the power ends up with people who havent a clue how to use it... Thanks waster ill enjoy the museums while there still open and you enjoy your shrine to wealth fountain.
Please enter your comment below:
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
Recent comments
I think Gareth is right on this. If you enlarge the pictures a bit you can see most of them have this "Labour voter" look about th... [more]
Wow, so the homeless and unemployed have better chance of access to a dentist than the average taxpayer. Wow.... [more]
The Salford Unemployed and Community Resourse Centre must be complimented for its caring and advocacy services. Alex Mcfaddon and ... [more]
I don't mind housing, I just mind the way they are going about it. respect the listing, make it shorter, provide enough parking, o... [more]
Felsey,the lesson to be learnt from the recent events at Westminister is that the birds are finally coming home to roost on lyi... [more]


Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome


More articles...


Star date: 20th January 2019


Salford's Margaret McHale turned one hundred this week as her six children and relatives gathered for a huge party at The Broughtons Care Home. Born in Hanky Park, Margaret moved around central Salford, to Ellor Street, Warburton Street and finally to Littleton Road, as part of the slum clearances.

A proper Salford lass, Margaret worked on Lancaster Bombers during the war and as a machinist in Strangeways, and, as the family partied with residents and staff, there were a zillion anecdotes that will echo with loads of local families.

Full details here...


Star date: 20th January 2019


Electricity North West, the region's power network operator, is looking to take on young Salford people and has places for craft apprenticeships, which include overhead line workers and cable jointers, and higher level apprenticeships, which include roles such as design and control engineer.

Full details here...


Star date: 18th January 2019


On 9th January at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre, the judge allowed an eight day extension for those homeless people currently occupying the old doctor's surgery in Eccles. The case has now been set for the end of January, giving them an extra two weeks to prepare a legal defence.

Meanwhile this week, the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre, which is helping the Shelter, took delivery of loads of pairs of thick winter socks and around one hundred toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes donated towards its new Medical and Dental Surgery for the homeless and ex-offenders.

Full details here...


Star date: 17th January 2019


After Lower Broughton's 'at risk' Grade II listed Victoria Theatre was sold last year, there were fears that it would be pulled down for development but the Salford Victoria Theatre Trust has today announced that its new owner "has engaged with the group to seek out a way forward, even vowing to consider plans to restore it for its original purpose".

The Trust is now putting together a business plan and pitch to present to the owner at the end of the month, with a meeting planned with Salford City Council next month to discuss the theatre's future.

Full details here...


Star date: 16th January 2019


Before a full meeting of Salford Council this morning, residents campaigning against development on green spaces in the city held a demonstration outside the Civic Centre.

Representatives of campaigns including from Campbell Road, Duncan Matheson, Walkden and Buile Hill Park then went into the meeting to hear City Mayor, Paul Dennett, say that the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework was "protecting green belt and green spaces", after Carol Boyce of Saving Our Neighbourhood had accused the Council of "throwing residents to the wolves of rampant development".

Full details here...


written and produced by Salfordians for Salfordians
with attitude and love xxx