HOME   ARCHIVE   GALLERY   SHOP   ABOUT US      
 

 
SALFORD CITY COUNCIL `DISAPPEARS’ £20MILLION PLANNING SCANDAL BY HIDING FINANCES
 

Star date: 26th November 2015

OVER 1,000 PROPERTIES UP FOR PLANNING APPROVAL – AND NO PROPER FIGURES

How do you make a planning scandal that now reaches well over £20million go away? Salford City Council has decided to hide the real figures!

Next week, the Council's planning panel will consider applications covering over one thousand properties in Agecroft, Greengate, Chapel Street and The Crescent – but, unlike previously, the true amounts of what developers should be paying are not recorded.

And, over £800,000 of what is being paid by developers is going towards Salford City Mayor's pet project, the Meadows `iconic' bridge; in one case, at the expense of affordable housing...

Full details here...


Out of 1,195 properties that will probably be approved from these six applications featured, Salford will be lucky to get two social houses...


The Salford Star has consistently drawn residents' attention to a planning scandal that now amounts to well over £20million. In May's print edition of the Star a list was produced of every development in the city over the last twelve months in which developers avoided paying planning obligations*. At that point, £19,275,553 of fees had been lost to the city plus 830 affordable houses. And there's been loads more avoidance since then.

Developers dodged the payments by saying that their £multi-million schemes wouldn't be profitable enough, or wouldn't be `viable', if the fees had to be paid. Of course, the `viability assessments' on which such decisions were made were kept totally secret, despite the Star trying to prise them using the Freedom of Information Act.

The avoidance of planning fees by property fat cats, egged on by Tory Government policy and virtually unchallenged by a Labour Council, is a national scandal. But, in Salford, at least it was a scandal that could be exposed.

The scandal could be exposed because in virtually every planning application report that went before councillors there was a breakdown of what developers should be paying for things like public realm, open space, construction training and education contributions, plus the amount of affordable housing they should be supplying.

Planning officers included this information in reports and then stated what developers were actually paying (or not paying), and it was a simple deduction.

However, reports going before next week's planning panel for over one thousand properties, in half a dozen locations around Salford, don't have any information in them at all – so nobody knows what developers should be paying and how much they've avoided.

An example how this is working comes in the first application on the Council's list next week. This is for 107 three and four bedroom houses off Agecroft Road in Pendlebury, smack in the middle of green space that will involve `significant loss of semi-natural habitats', according to the planning officer's report...

... "The construction of 107 dwellings is likely to result in an increased use of the highway and public transport, the public realm and open space, affordable housing and place additional demand on school places in the local area" the officer adds "Planning obligations have therefore been sought to mitigate against these impacts."

In previous application reports these `planning obligations' would be listed – but here they are not listed at all. The only information in the report is that the applicant, Bellway Homes and The Manchester Great New And Central Synagogue, "does not agree, for reasons of scheme viability, to contribute the full amount considered by the City Council as necessary to mitigate the impacts of the development".

The developers have offered £599,000 in planning fees, for Deans Primary School, expansion/refurbishment of Littleton Road Sports Village changing rooms and sports pitches, and `onsite affordable housing'.

It might sound a lot, until you do the maths that planning officers have hidden. The developer should be paying, according to our reckoning, £1,009,157 (towards open space and education) plus providing between ten and twenty affordable houses. By our sums, the developers will avoid somewhere in the region of £800,000but we'll never know because the official figures are hidden.

And so it goes on throughout another five applications due to be considered next week. On Hulme Street, at the back of The Crescent pub, Mr and Mrs Mark Henry Sutcliffe are applying to build an ugly, humongous development featuring 246 flats and town houses in blocks of six, eight and 18 storeys.

In a `mid to high value' area like this, the Council's new SPD policy states the developer should be paying full planning contributions plus providing 10% affordable housing, which would equal a hell of a lot more than the £650,000 offered by Mr and Mrs Sutcliffe after the Council accepted their viability get-out.

In another scandal - within a scandal, within the original scandal – the vast majority of this money (£520,326.50) is going towards Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart's pet project, the `iconic' Meadows pedestrian bridge**, rather than towards affordable housing!

The only way there will be any money for affordable housing is via a `clawback arrangement' should be scheme be suddenly more viable than anticipated (in a homeless person's dreams).

The Ian Stewart legacy bridge will get even more money from planning fees by Beaumont Morgan Developments Ltd for its Adelphi Street scheme of 383 apartments over seven floors. Here, the bridge will gobble up all of the meagre £300,000 the developer is paying, plus any `clawback' money, with no payments for anything else.

The Council's planning officers had wanted £473,000 in fees (itself a massive avoidance, as it should have been over £1million), as they disputed the level of profit and interest the developer was submitting – but then rolled over and accepted £300,000.

Meanwhile, Silverlane Developments (Greengate) Ltd, is applying to build three hundred flats in blocks ranging from fifteen 15 to 34 storeys in height... "The construction of 300 apartments with ancillary retail floorspace is likely to result in an increased use of the highway and public transport, of the public realm and of open space in the local area" states the planning officer's report "Planning obligations have therefore been sought to mitigate these impacts in accordance with the Planning Obligations SPD."

"The applicant considers that the scheme itself, through the provision of the riverside walkway and the public realm through the centre of the site adequately mitigates the impacts outlined above" the officer adds "As the applicant is not contributing the full amount considered by the City Council as necessary to mitigate the impacts of the Development, a viability appraisal has been submitted in support of their position. The applicant's viability appraisal has been assessed by the City Council's surveying consultants who have concluded that a contribution of £250,000 is justified."

And that's that. There's no other financial information at all about what the developer should be paying. All workings out are hidden away from the public eye, in line with every other application submitted to next week's meeting.

Also coming before the planning panel is Sir Richard Lapthorne's proposal for an eight storey, 24 unit residential building on the site of Albert Vaults in Chapel Street. Here the Council agrees, in a quivering of violins, that "it is accepted that a reasonable developer profit will not be generated". Again, the figures for what Sir Dick should be paying are all hidden, as he pays not even a bean to the people of Salford.

And, finally, there's an application from Phil Mayall of the English Cities Fund (ECf) for 135 private rented sector (PRS) apartments in a 16-storey block on Stanley Street, near the Premier Inn facing the River Irwell in so-called `New Bailey'.

As with all ECf developments, there is absolutely no information about any planning payments, nor where they are heading***. Planning payments are being held in a secret ECf and Salford Council controlled Development Trust Account and there is currently a push for the Information Commissioner to get involved and force the release of the information.

Today Phil Mayall was addressing a meeting of the Salford Business Group and the Salford Star went along to face up the ECf head and ask him why the details of the public money are being kept secret. He basically replied that he didn't want anyone to know because it would affect commercial interests etc, and then legged it before the end of the meeting.

Phil Mayall's attitude is symptomatic of everything tasteless that is going off in Salford at the moment. There is a veil of secrecy behind which developers are treating the city as a Monopoly Board, grabbing their profit enhancing chance, while the depleted community chest remains firmly in the hands of legacy-mad public figures and unelected bureaucrats working for huge corporations.

Next week's planning panel will be one of the biggest property fiestas in the city's recent history, with over one thousand flats and houses up for planning approval – and the community losing out yet again in £millions for proper public space and education payments, and social housing provision. Out of 1,195 properties that will probably be approved from these six applications featured, Salford will be lucky to get two social houses.

Salford City Council is allowing the rich to call the shots – with even less transparency and accountability while they are doing it. How do you make a £20million planning scandal disappear? By hiding the figures. It's scandal, after scandal, after scandal... 


The Salford Star asked Salford City Council plus Assistant Mayor for Planning, Councillor Derek Antrobus, and Councillor Ray Mashiter, Chair of the Council's Planning Panel, for comments - none responded.  


*For full details see the Salford Star print issue – click here

**For details of Ian Stewart's Bridge Beauty Contest – click here

***For details on ECf secrecy see the Salford Star print issue – click here


To see how the `viability' system works behind closed doors, see the previous Salford Star article for the Keepmoat development at Whit Lane when the secret figures were revealed – probably by accident... click here

The main photo shows what the Hulme Street development would look like

The Fat Edge of the Wedge wrote
at 2:41:34 AM on Saturday, November 28, 2015
http://tinyurl.com/jljqb23 House building stats - or, if you like, a guide to the destruction of England...
 
The Fat End of the Wedge wrote
at 2:41:31 AM on Saturday, November 28, 2015
How about guiding the good readers (myself included) on how to fight these planning applications? This is only the beginning: "According to official projections, immigration at current levels will add about 7 million to the population of England by 2027 - equivalent to 7 cities the size of Birmingham. Just over two thirds of this increase will be due to immigration. According to the government's household projections, a new home for immigrants will need to be built every seven minutes for the next 20 years or so." Source: The Balanced Migration campaign, co-chaired by Labour MP Frank Field - one of the few sensible ones...
 
Please enter your comment below:
 
 
 
Brexit Salford
stephensons ad 1
Salford Star Hoodies
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
advertisement
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: KEN LOACH, RICKY TOMLINSON, JB BARRINGTON STAR IN SALFORD COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTRE FUNDRAISER
Great idea and I hope well supported but why at the Miners in Moston when it's the Salford unemployed. There are many venues in Sa... [more]
article: FIVE CANDIDATES TO STAND IN SALFORD LANGWORTHY BY-ELECTION
Do not understand why any Church is run as a Company with Directors. Please explain. Do Directors get paid or the Church Company m... [more]
article: FIVE CANDIDATES TO STAND IN SALFORD LANGWORTHY BY-ELECTION
Stephen. I think this is a public issue. If you are correct why is a Director of a London Church standing in Langworthy Ward. Why ... [more]
article: FIVE CANDIDATES TO STAND IN SALFORD LANGWORTHY BY-ELECTION
See comments below from The Salford Way et al...There's only two active directorships, one for a community organisation and one fo... [more]
article: FIVE CANDIDATES TO STAND IN SALFORD LANGWORTHY BY-ELECTION
Interesting stuff. Am I hearing UKIP is backing Michael Felse as the Independent with their 1000 Langworthy votes. Is Felse still ... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

KEN LOACH, RICKY TOMLINSON, JB BARRINGTON STAR IN SALFORD COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTRE FUNDRAISER

Star date: 19th November 2017

WATCH KEN LOACH FILMS WITH KEN LOACH!

Films and Conversations With Ken Loach
Thursday 23rd November 2pm-midnight
Moston Miners' Community Arts Centre £20/£10

This Thursday, there's a chance to watch Ken Loach films, I, Daniel Blake and Spirit of '45, together with the man himself, plus there's entertainment from Ricky Tomlinson, JB Barrington, Smug Roberts and more in a special fundraiser for the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre.

Full details here...

MANCHESTER CHRISTMAS SHOPPER SHOCKER AS ‘THERESA MAY’ AND CO TAX RAIN, SMALL CHILDREN AND PUPPIES

Star date: 18th November 2017

MANCHESTER PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY SUGGESTIONS FOR TORY BUDGET TAXES ON SANTA AND CARING THOUGHTS

Market Street in Manchester City Centre became a showcase for Tory Government pre-budget suggestions this afternoon, with 'Theresa May' and 'Philip Hammond' liking the idea of taxing everything from the northern rain to Santa himself.

It was all part of a Bodge The Budget performance from Manchester People's Assembly, and a pre-amble to the organisation's big Eve of Budget Rally to Shine A Light On Tory Failure, this Tuesday 21st November at 6:30pm, at GMex.

Full details here...

PENDLETON SIXTH FORM COLLEGE GRAPHIC DESIGN EXHIBITION

Star date: 18th November 2017

EX STUDENTS, CURRENT STUDENTS AND POTENTIAL FUTURE STUDENTS INVITED TO SPECIAL SHOWCASE

Pendleton Graphic Design Alumni Exhibition
Tuesday 21st November from 5:30pm
Pendleton Sixth Form College

After a fire hit the Graphic Design Department at Pendleton Sixth Form College 18 months ago, the place has risen from ashes with new state-of-the-art facilities. And to celebrate, next Tuesday, successful former students will holding an exhibition; a "must-see show for any aspiring designers or anyone interested in creative arts and design" state the organisers.

Full details here...

REVEREND RACCOON CONVERTS THE KINGS ARMS SALFORD

Star date: 18th November 2017

SPIRITUAL SALVATION NOT GUARANTEED BY REVEREND RACCOON

The Life and Crimes of Reverend Raccoon
Monday 20th November 7:30pm
The Kings Arms £5/£4

Loss, faith and spiritual quackery are explored in The Life and Crimes of Reverend Raccoon, that plays out at The Kings Arms on Monday. It's a one man dark comedy that parodies the archetypal tv preacher, as Ian Leslie discovers.

Full details here...

FIVE CANDIDATES TO STAND IN SALFORD LANGWORTHY BY-ELECTION

Star date: 18th November 2017

TWO MAIN PARTIES PLUS GREENS, LIBDEMS AND INDEPENDENT STAND IN LANGWORTHY

Five candidates have put themselves forward to stand in the Langworthy by-election which takes place on Thursday 14th December. Joining the Conservative and Labour Party are the Greens, LibDems and Michael Felse standing as an Independent.

Full details here...

 



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