At yesterday's meeting of Salford City Council planning panel, the application for second phase of the 24.5 acre Middlewood Locks development on the border with Manchester was up for appraisal.
The first phase of 571 unaffordable homes, plus commercial space, was granted last December with no planning, or Section 1016, fees payable because, the Council stated, it "included significant landscaping works and so was clearly unviable".
The second phase of 546 unaffordable apartments in four blocks of up to 10 storeys was also deemed `unviable' and planning officers stated that "no contribution is justified".
At the meeting, Broughton councillor Charlie McIntyre actually questioned the concept of `viability'. While the first phase was `unviable' because landscaping would be carried out, he asked them to explain why the second phase was `unviable'... "What does unviable mean?" he asked.
Amidst sideways glances, officers explained that "The second phase is affected by the first phase landscaping so it's not so viable...but the next phase will secure Section 106 contributions".
..."And how are we going to protect ourselves getting to the third phase and being told that it's `unviable' again?" the councillor asked.
"It would be unusual if the third phase came forward and our officers were saying again that there were no contributions to be made..." the officer replied. Councillor McIntyre just shook his head.
Meanwhile, the representative of Fairbriar Developments (Salford) Ltd which put forward the planning application, said that the long term implications for health care, education and other facilities for the residents of the 2,215 homes that are to be constructed on the site would be sorted in later stages... "We'll need to go back and think what we need to provide" he stated.
Approval for the application was duly granted.
Following the approval, Paul Kelly, of real estate investors Scarborough International Properties Limited (SIPL), said: "We are delighted to have secured planning permission for the second phase of Middlewood Locks. This is the result of a huge amount of hard work on the part of Salford City Council and our development team to create the best possible scheme..."
For whom?, Salford residents might ask...
* Fairbriar Developments (Salford) Ltd is a joint development company for Middlewoood Locks led by Scarborough International Properties Limited (SIPL) which owns fifty per cent and Chinese developer Hualing Group, and Singaporean investors, Metro Holding, which own the other fifty per cent.
For more details see previous Salford Star article – click here