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SALFORD COUNCIL £6 MILLION LET OFF FOR MIDDLEWOOD LOCKS DEVELOPER
 

Star date: 17th April 2014

SALFORD COUNCIL TEARS UP PLANNING RULES (AGAIN) FOR MIDDLEWOOD LOCKS

Scarborough Development Group is planning to put huge apartment blocks, a hotel and loads of shops on the currently derelict Middlewood Locks site. For the privilege of plonking an urban profit farm on the Salford border with Manchester, the developer should be paying over £8million in fees to the Salford Council…

…But the Council is only asking for less than £2million - letting the Group off with a massive £6million in payments. This despite £4million of public money having already been spent on the site. 

Full details here…


Middlewood Locks Salford Middlewood Locks Salford
click image to enlarge

Over ten years ago, the then Salford Council Leader John Merry announced that the Middlewood Locks development "is critical to the continued growth of Salford". And over ten years later the site is still derelict, bar the barren Manchester, Bolton, Bury Canal tart up and a history of doomed schemes…

Indeed, nobody would deny that the massive 8.5 hectare plot on the border of Manchester city centre is a total embarrassment for Salford, and that something needs doing with it.

Almost two years ago, new owners, the Scarborough Development Group began a consultation on what the local community wanted to see on the site. Having taken their views into consideration - we're sure - the result is up to 32 storey high apartment blocks, a hotel, loads of shops, a park, a car park and no discernable affordable housing

Earlier this month, Scarborough Developments (Salford) Ltd applied to Salford Council to have its outline planning permission for Middlewood Locks extended and the planning committee had another look at both the application and the finance due to be paid to the Council.

The pre-Scarborough scheme by the now bankrupt Valley and Vale and Beaupere Castle developers to build a £300million `Urban Village' on the site should have paid over £5million into Salford Council coffers in fees for infrastructure, buildings etc – but was charged only £1.95million.

This was, partly because it was to contribute over £1million to British Waterways towards the tarting up of the Canal and a £30,000 annual maintenance payment for the following one hundred years. It was in the developer's interest to do this because waterside apartments fetch a premium of up to 25% on their price.

£1million of the final £1.95million fee was also to pay back Salford Council `for the advance funding of the canal that it undertook on behalf of Valley and Vale'. Which, one can assume, it never got back from the bankrupt company.

Altogether, £4million of public money was sunk into the Canal makeover from a variety of sources (for full details see previous Salford Star article – click here). Yet the site still lies empty and even the reduced fees to the Council never got paid.

Fast forward to 2014 and now it looks like new owners, Scarborough Developments, are set to cash in…

On the planning application this month, Council planning officers agreed that the original fee of £1.95million was acceptable – even though Scarborough Developments, as far as one can make out, haven't given a penny to British Waterways.

On top of this, Scarborough was also due to pay fees for `dwellings' (£3.245million); `commercial floorspace' (£2.232million); and `bed spaces' (£2.885million) – making a total of £8.362million.

However, Salford Council's `planning guidance' states that it should "take a flexible approach in seeking levels of planning obligations and other contributions to ensure that the combined total impact does not make a site unviable".

Planning officers, of course, agreed that the site just wouldn't be economically viable with such payments and - as with virtually every single large planning application made in the city - they were waived. Saving the company over £6million.

There is a `clawback' arrangement in place that, if the scheme does prove to be `viable', then Salford Council can claim all its money back – but no-one is holding their breath for that one!

So Scarborough will get its 32 storey high apartments and hotel and car park and shops, on the edge of Manchester City Centre, for less than a quarter of the money it should be paying financially hard up Salford Council.

£6million would have covered virtually all the Council cuts to Children's Services this year…

 

* For Scarborough's `vision' of the site - see here

 

David cameron wrote
at 12:52:34 on 01 May 2014
@ Michael felse. I urge Salford Star to print email addresses of those pretending to be other people. Never heard of the of the data protection act Michael, the salford star could be in big trouble if the star printed this information and the person or persons then became a target for bulling or threats or physical harm, the salford star would be just as guilty in law to helping in the above if it gave this information out, especially to people who associate with iffy character's. On another level if the star gave this info out what would it say about the star, it would say the star could not be trusted with information or protect the people who divulge information to the star, the cornerstone to any reporter or news outlet their reputation would be trashed, in-effect the end of the salford star and the trashing of the reputation of its reporters. If the star has the ability and information at its office to stop people from using other peoples identity, then the star should stop this from happening but it should be done in house at that star and not as Michael felse would like it done, on line. The star and Mr Kingston should come on and clarify it's position on this matter and that private information remains that, private.ps to white, I didn't think it was Michael felse that made those comments on his behalf, but he has got him to a "t" one minute he's kissing labour arse and then he's kicking it nobody knows if he is serious on any of the subjects he comments on, or whether he's just delusional and has just not been taking his medication. And on who I am let's discuss it over a nice cup of tea, the address is 10 Downing Street, London, just knock on i'm always in
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 11:50:54 on 29 April 2014
I urge Salford Star to print email addresses of those pretending to be other people. It is with pride I can explain to "White" that Felse is a family name from a German word "Felsen" meaning rock. However my branch of that tree is traced to 1643 in England and is now being tracked further. A nice thing about reaching 65 is the pleasure of ditching politics for research as a hobby, however, we will probably never stop them that make a hobby out of pretending they are people they pretend to be. Thanks to Salford Star we know the Editor has identity emails on who you are, amazingly funny.
 
White wrote
at 10:06:11 on 29 April 2014
David Cameron When I read the letter from ‘Michael False’ I didn’t for one minute belief that it was Michael Felse or that someone was posing as him. I saw it as a fairly accurate attempt to take the ‘Michael’ [for want of a better word] out of someone who frequently comes out with some outrageously sycophantic statements about our mayor and councillors. It did though, seem to strike a nerve with Mr. Felse. Strangely, when I spellchecked this comment, Felse kept coming up as ‘False’. And David, I don’t think either that you are the other David Cameron, or are even trying to seem like him.
 
David cameron wrote
at 06:14:53 on 29 April 2014
I have to totally agree with Michael felse about someone posing as him and talking shit in his name, Michael felse doesn't need any help to talk shit, so stop it now. But then again the imposer has got Michael to t, so how do we know it isn't really Michael, Michael do's have many personalities.
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 20:21:02 on 19 April 2014
Warning - I see someone has begun writing as Michael False. I do not know who this is but it clearly is not me. If they cannot have the spine to write in their own name then please do not print stupidity.
 
Michael False wrote
at 09:13:31 on 18 April 2014
Salford council is to be commended for its wise decision. The money paid for this unwanted and unsightly plot of land can be put to good use to pay the Mayor’s salary, Mr, Taylor’s salary and the allowances of the assistant mayors for the next few years. Perhaps, in view of this windfall they could increase the salaries and the allowances of those who are doing such good work for us.
 
James Walsh wrote
at 20:28:44 on 17 April 2014
And yet another site in the Salford area that has rare breeding birds that is being concreted over with no thought given to the ecology of the site
 
The Fat End of The Wedge wrote
at 20:28:28 on 17 April 2014
This is also, judging by the pictures, a loss of what I would call 'urban green belt'. I doubt the proposed park will be very spacious. Bits of green space, trees etc., are being nibbled away in all parts of inner Salford without any protest. Yet look at the outcry when a piece of 'real green belt' is sized up for development. Presumably one day even Weaste cemetery will be swallowed up by Quays development.
 
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 20:28:09 on 17 April 2014
To our dear council, and its officers - have you completely lost the plot? This farce has been going on since the old high school on that plot was merged with one in Weaste. To date, the only development on that site have been the flats built on the site of the old school playground. That's not my main concern though, and its to do with the "Risk" non-elected officers keep on taking with council taxpayers money with these development companies. If this happened over the river, The council would be getting its cash back and a small return on its investment - why is it developers like taking this city for a ride at our expense? These Questions need addressing.
 
Salford Star wrote
at 20:27:12 on 17 April 2014
See Mike's comment below... sorry it's 32, these applications do your head in! There's also 24 and 25 storey high apartments in the development...
 
mike wrote
at 20:24:29 on 17 April 2014
come on then the flats grew as the story did, 23 or 32 or 322 how tall
 
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