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SALFORD CITY COUNCIL APPROVES £19MILLION FOR RHS GARDEN
 

Star date: 16th December 2015

"WE WILL GET CRITICISM" SAY COUNCILLORS

Cash strapped Salford Council this afternoon unanimously approved its spending of £19million on the Royal Horticultural Society Garden Bridgewater in Worsley. Not one single councillor of either party questioned the payments, which include £9million to Peel Holdings.

"We will get criticism" said Environment Lead Member, Gena Merrett, as she congratulated the Council on having "the political courage to take this forward". Meanwhile Councillor Howard Balkind rounded on the Salford Star "for knocking us"...

Full details here...


Nervous councillors this afternoon unanimously approved the spending of £19million on the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden Bridgewater on the site of the old Worsley New Hall, wary of criticism that will be coming their way from residents having to cope with huge cuts to services.

The £19million spending on the Garden consists of £9million to landowner Peel Holdings to `secure a headlease of the land', £5million for `on-site delivery' and £5million on `highway infrastructure' (for full details see previous Salford Star article - click here).

Salford Mayor Ian Stewart called the project "a new Media City moment", opposition Tory mayoral candidate Robin Garrido gave his `whole hearted support', and Executive Lead Member, Lisa Stone, said it would enhance "our reputation".

Meanwhile, Environment Lead Member, Gena Merrett, congratulated officers and Planning Lead Councillor Derek Antrobus for having "the political courage to take this forward" and called it another `BBC/Lowry moment'; but added "We will get criticism"...

Merrett's sentiments were echoed by Councillor Jillian Collinson who agreed "We will get flak...it's so important we get the language right..."

Basically councillors were worried about the reaction to the £19million garden spending from residents facing huge cuts to services. They were at pains to point out that the £19million was coming from the Council's capital budget rather than the revenue budget.

The capital budget is for one off payments for things like bridges, buildings and fountains, while the revenue budget pays for services. However, as the Salford Star has pointed out in the past, capital projects are usually financed by borrowing Ė and the financing of that borrowing is met from the revenue budget ie from the same budget that pays for front line services. Salford Council has never responded to Salford Star questions about how the capital budget is set (see previous Salford Star article - click here).

Former Tory-turned-Labour Councillor Howard Balkind rounded on the Salford Star during the meeting "for knocking us" and not pointing out that the money was `capital as against revenue'. His point was echoed by Jeremy Corbyn supporter Councillor John Ferguson, who slated the `knockers' but wouldn't mention the Star by name as he didn't "want to give them the oxygen of publicity"...

...The Salford Star would like to point out to Councillor Ferguson that we're not fucking Nazis, we're just trying to hold a public authority to account Ė given that no elected councillor in the city seems capable of doing such a thing...

The £19million spending on the RHS Garden Bridgewater was approved unanimously by all councillors...

Michael F in Salford wrote
at 19:01:16 on 20 December 2015
@Justme is correct. The saving light is that with the change in registering to vote at elections, as came in force in November, Labour are a big loser. The majority of the predicted 1million that failed to register means places like Salford will see the loss of around 12,000 traditional Labour votes. It is going to offer a Free Mayor the real opportunity to improve Salford Council, ensuring jobs, services and bringing more respect for Salford's citizens.

Just me? wrote
at 12:28:17 on 20 December 2015
Is it just me who who thinks that all these schemes that are supposed to benefit the people of Salford, create jobs etc, seem to involve us paying out and getting nothing back?

Stunning wrote
at 14:41:20 on 18 December 2015
Great news for residents, run local free parks into the ground and build a big posh one. With local money and then charge local people to see what they have paid for. This council just keeps running up more debt and for the next generation to pay for. Invest the money in the parks, open spaces and green areas of our city we already have. Bunch of muppets

Michael F in Salford wrote
at 09:23:05 on 18 December 2015
@ Dave Pickard has a valid point. Local groups must be given local rights by a local council elected by local people Time we stopped paying the elected and got them to do their duty of caring for free.

dave pickard wrote
at 04:31:27 on 18 December 2015
Whats going to happen to the fishing club Broughton AC they have had the lease for the lake allowing them to fish and the scouts to canoe they have had this lease for over 40 years are they safe to carry on or will they be turfed off.

Joe Oneill wrote
at 04:31:11 on 18 December 2015
Well has the star got this wrong? perhaps they don't have to borrow the cash and service the debt, Perhaps the Mayor received an anonymous donation dropped off next to his untaxed camper van. No lets be honest one more project ill thought out at the time drastic cuts are being made to the people of this city. The sad reality the Tories want it because it's in worsley and Labour follow like little sheep in the footsteps of their master. all feared of deselection. The Jobs they quote never materialise numbers pulled from a hat, the only beneficiary Peel. And who to blame people like us who gave Labour cart blanch, with no opposition they don't care, it's not their cash why should they bother? who suffers, they forget the words on their glossy leaflets the promises of service to the public, out of touch and lacking in common sense policy while they have control of the public purse they will continue to squander it's contents and no one able to intervene. It's thanks to the star we have a banner and a large stick to prod their conscience.

Mark Preston wrote
at 04:30:30 on 18 December 2015
Carry on Salford Star, someone needs to keep an eye on that gang that operates from Swinton Town Hall. Two words: PUBLIC MONEY! My guess on this project is that another shoddy project is in the pipeline, and these clever little thieves that call themselves 'the council' have cooked up yet another scheme to transfer PUBLIC MONEY to god knows where. How are they managing to silence critics ? is it with another round of falsifying peoples' details, illegal evictions, and questionable voting on the issues - like they did with the housing agencies Salix Homes and City West Housing. rename Salford City Council to the 'Do What They Like Gang'! It's no wonder the rest of Salford looks like something out of a dystopian novel, where even rats and stray dogs find it difficult to live.

Salford lad wrote
at 04:28:48 on 18 December 2015
Well Gina Merritt that well known ex headmistress who is well known in educational circles for her desktop approach to career development quiet rightly recognises criticisms for this ludicrous investment. Once again Peell well known for pulling scary Spicer the allegedly overpaid and underworked Chief Executive are pulling the Council s strings. The dictatorship of Stewart, Lancaster and others continue to rule. I urge all Councillors to support the Mayoral candidate Roger Hunt albeit he allegedly covered up Salfordredgate he is an honest councillor ?

caroline gray wrote
at 04:28:44 on 18 December 2015
ok no nothing about...rhs garden would bring jobs an money into the area?

Michael F in Salford wrote
at 13:34:15 on 17 December 2015
@ wrote should consider North Korea coming to Salford instead of the other way around. I feel the Reds in the Bed of Salford Labour Party can show Kim plenty of failed solutions about how to not look after vulnerable people.

Michael F in Salford wrote
at 13:34:11 on 17 December 2015
@ Flower-lover you must be sat among weeds. Your poor search has failed to show Michael Felse has looked after many voluntary groups, as Welfare Officer trained by Lead Sports Bodies and using his Oxford University Management Qualification skill. I am sure Flower-lover would love a bit of The Free Mayor offering that can pull an extra £200million a year to Salford Council based on his pro-rata successful grant applications in the voluntary sector. Currently writing another bid for the local swim club, but please, if indeed you are a Labour Councillor at least be honest and admit you dig in the wrong patch. Or should we take it sour prejudice against old people in Salford is within your comment. At least know older age brings much valued experience.

wrote
at 10:36:45 on 17 December 2015
As other people have said, a few million spent on local parks would be a better option, saving some of the £19 million. Imagine Buile Hill park with the hot house and the hall restored, complete with mining museum. Oh---they have already sold off the hall haven't they? Regarding Howard Balkind's comments--what does he want? More censorship and Kim Jong Un as the next Major? Maybe a cultural trip to North Korea is in the pipeline?

Flower lover wrote
at 10:36:38 on 17 December 2015
This site needs to be renamed the Salford Whine, same old handful of people who moan about everything, and poor old Michael Felse hinting that he wants to become Salford mayor and he will do it for free! Couldn't look after a voluntary group so how on earth can he look after a city! Clowns....

Beryl Hawke wrote
at 21:41:15 on 16 December 2015
£19 million. Yes the RHS garden may be of benefit to Salford eventually but what about all the other parks that have suffered because of the cutbacks. My local park is Albert Park and I am a member of the Friends group. The ranger took redundancy at the 1st round and since then we haven't had as much as an hour of ranger input. A lot of the park users especially the children had total respect for him and they had built a fantastic rapport with Billy and reported many things to him. Such a shame that this has all gone now. All the improvements that have taken place are down to the Friends Group. £250,000 was raised to have a new entrance and a ramp at the lights, walls rebuilt and one was repointed. New pathways laid and old paths re surfaced. We've had extra seating, picnic benches (2 wheelchair friendly), and more bins. 2 Cement table tennis tables and a full revamp of the multi use games area which now has tennis courts. A new path and gateway adjacent to the Bowling Pavilion to provide a safer entrance for the Veterans. More money had to be raised for the picnic tables, table tennis tables and the revamp of the MUGA. There will be no more bedding plants this spring because the Council have decided they can't afford them. The beds have been grassed over. However at the Civic Centre there is no shortage for their gardens. According to the information the Group receives the parks budget has been pared to the bone. It seems like out of sight out of mind and even more the site where the RHS garden comes down to Fur Coat and no Knickers.

wrote
at 20:00:35 on 16 December 2015
Gareth L You will have to pay. At all the existing RHS gardens you have to pay for admission.

Mary ferrer wrote
at 17:49:18 on 16 December 2015
More money on a project that the people who will be paying for years and years haven't been given the chance to say if they want it or not. A bit like the Salford community stadium. The council can't look after the green spaces we have now. How the hell are they going to fund this and maintain it. Do we know if there will be on going costs. See the conservatives have come to life, thought they had all gone home and closed their doors. But it is in Worsley and they do so like their little bit,and sod the rest of the city. This labour council are taking the piss out of each and everyone of us.The best bit is WE allow them to do it again and again.

Gareth L wrote
at 17:25:19 on 16 December 2015
There's plenty of Clowncilors in Salford who we don't think should get oxygen. At least the Star represents and questions. When will the Labour party just change its name to the Peel Party? One business having so much land and control in the city is totally wrong and it leads one to wonder about the councils' willingness to tender or work with others properly. We need more green spaces in the city, with all the house building from population explosion. But will we have to pay to get in RHS Bridgewater??? IE is the council funding private venture?

wrote
at 17:25:01 on 16 December 2015
Im a labour supporter, but salford coucil are a clear case of power corrupting, lets face it, you stick a red rose on a donkey and it would get elected in salford, im 42 yeras old and I dont think i have ever known anything other than a salford labour council

Paul Gerrard wrote
at 16:13:39 on 16 December 2015
Courage? Courage? from the council that spurns the disabled and their carers? a council that picks fights with those who are least able to defend themselves? Courage to fight the Tories, now that would be a fine thing.......

Michael F in Salford wrote
at 16:13:34 on 16 December 2015
We need a Free Mayor, one willing to to the job for no pay - based on openness, transparency and able to reverse all the stupid decisions made to date.

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