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SALFORD PROPERTY DEVELOPERS TO AVOID ANOTHER £1MILLION PLANNING FEES
 

Star date: 13th June 2017

ALMOST NO FEES FOR OVER 250 APARTMENTS AT SALFORD SKILLS CENTRE AND IRWELL HOUSE

Fees of over £1million are set to be avoided when Salford City Council planning panel meets this week to consider applications for over 250 apartments on the sites of the former Salford Skills Centre on Liverpool Street and Irwell House on Frederick Road.

The schemes, by X1 Developments and Vermont Property Developers, are to avoid payments on 'viability' grounds because profit levels won't be high enough...

Full details here...


X1 Development on site of Salford Skills Centre
click image to enlarge

This Thursday, Salford Council's planning panel looks set to approve two applications for over 250 apartments and townhouses that will see developers avoid over £1million in planning fees.

First up is a proposal by X1 Developments for 178 apartments and 13 townhouses, in five, ten and 14 storey blocks, on the site of the Salford Skills Centre at the corner of Liverpool Street and Oldfield Road.

According to Salford Council's own tables of planning fees, this development in a mid to high value area should be contributing £988,364 in planning fees for open space, public realm and transport, while providing 18 affordable flats and three affordable houses. In the event, the city will get nothing, except through a possible 'clawback' clause...

"The application has been supported by a Viability Report which concludes that the proposed scheme would not be viable should the development be required to provide for financial contributions towards public realm improvements, transport infrastructure, and the provision of public open space" states the Council's planning report.

"Indeed the submitted viability appraisal shows a developers profit to be significantly below the general profit levels normally expected (ranging between 15%-20% of GDV)" it weeps "This report has been independently reviewed on behalf of the Council by a third party. This review confirms the conclusion that should any contributions be required it would render the scheme unviable.

"In this instance it is noted that the independent review of development viability considers that the proposed scheme could not viably provide for the above planning
obligations" it adds "therefore it is not considered reasonable in this instance to require these to be secured by way of section 106 agreement."

The report concludes that a 'clawback mechanism' should be provided so that if "market values change... and it becomes viable to provide for planning contributions the necessary contributions are secured" – without actually giving a figure of what the 'necessary contributions' actually are.

So far, the Salford Star has only come across one development amongst dozens where any money at all has been 'clawed back' from developers.

Next up with the violins and hankies are Vermont Property Developments and Bernard and Deborah Lynch, who are proposing 76 units of student accommodation at Irwell House, on the site of the Marpol Security offices on Frederick Road.

Here, the developers have offered a Section 106 payment of just £34,960, to go towards Peel Park, with a further £129,000 subject to yet another 'clawback' agreement. According to the Salford Star estimate of planning fees, based on Salford Council's own figures, they should actually be paying £367,102.

"Whilst it may not be an argument that needs to be recorded, there are obviously
numerous examples of schemes throughout the country, and in Salford, where Planning Permission has been granted and there is no, or a significantly reduced rate of planning obligations within a particular scheme where there will be multiple economic or social benefits emanating from the development itself" state the applicants

"There are significant costs associated with the erection of student accommodation and the provision of a basement car park which will have an impact on the economic viability of the development" they sob "We therefore ask that the Council take this into consideration when debating the need for any planning contributions..."

The planning officers have certainly taken it into 'consideration' and rolled over. Now Thursday will see whether councillors on the planning panel will merely tickle their belly, as the city loses another £million or more...


* The main graphic shows the proposed new development on the site of the Salford Skills Centre


Alice wrote
at 11:58:37 on 14 June 2017
Here we go again! After all the debates and understanding resulting from the election our Council seems unaffected and continues to bow to the sob stories of the developers. If Vermont Property Developers can find some 106 money why can't X1 Developments? Also, I do not believe these firms would undertake these developments if they thought they would not be viable. Surely the contributions to the Council and the community should be built into their initial assessment. I think the Council are being 'walked over' by these crafty folk. It would get respect if it said "pay up fees or no permission!" Alternatively, "build some affordable accommodation" or no permission.
 
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