As Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, bemoans the lack of affordable housing in the city, a new report to be seen by councillors sitting on the Growth and Prosperity Scrutiny Panel tonight, shows that only one housing scheme out of twelve listed provided any sort of affordable housing as part of agreed planning obligations.
The panel, which is considering an update on Greengate and Chapel Street, including Chapel Wharf, New Bailey and Middlewood Locks, will note that one of the aims of all the development is "Creating a great place to live" – just not for those who can't afford it.
Carpino Place, off Chapel Street, for instance, has houses with price tags "from £289,950", while a mid-terrace at the Irwell Riverside Urban Splash development will set you back £330,000.
Indeed, the schemes mentioned in the report total 4,172 properties – 4,100 flats and 72 houses – with finance for just two affordable houses being provided by one developer.
The schemes listed include the English Cities Fund developments at Vimto Gardens: 83 apartments, 14 townhouses – no affordable housing; Timekeepers Square: 36 houses – none affordable; and Carpino Place: 22 houses – none affordable.
The full list is...
Select Property Group's Riverside and Riverview near New Bailey Street - 506 properties, none affordable; plus the company's City Suites 241 apartment/hotel scheme – none affordable.
Dandara Chapel Wharf development - 995 apartments, none affordable;
Scarborough Group's Middlewood Locks – first phase of 571 apartments, with no affordable housing.
Renaker's No1 Greengate (500 apartments) and Exchange Court (349 apartments) – no affordable housing.
Urban Splash Irwell Riverside: 71 town houses and 100 apartments – none affordable.
Salboy/Domis – Fred Done's 380 apartments at the Blackfriar pub: no affordable housing.
The only scheme that has an agreement to provide affordable housing listed in the report is the UK Land and Property development at Gore Street, which has 364 unaffordable PRS (Private Rental Sector) apartments, and eleven townhouses.
While the developer has to pay for, or provide, 20% affordable houses for building the eleven townhouses, Salford Council policies state that there is no need to provide affordable housing on 'high density apartment schemes'...
The developer itself stated in its planning application: "in regard to the provision of affordable housing, the SPD [Supplementary Planning Document] states that there will be no affordable housing contributions required for high density apartment schemes within high value residential areas, such as the application site....The proposed scheme will therefore not provide any affordable apartments in accordance with the SPD."
Here, finance has been requested for just two affordable houses, being 20% of the eleven townhouses; although the Council doesn't specify in any document how much this totals, it just lumps it in with other Section 106 payments for tarting up the area.
If it's not official Salford Council policy, under which the provision of affordable housing is avoided, then it's 'viability' arguments, ie that if the fees are paid profits won't be big enough...
In the officers' report on the Urban Splash development it states: "The SPD would normally require 10% of the units on a scheme of this size and in this location to be affordable...
"The applicants consider that making this contribution would make the scheme unviable" it adds "...no planning obligations are sought at this stage as they would likely make the development unviable."
This development is one of the few listed that actually has even a 'clawback' agreement, whereby if profits go huge the city gets some affordable housing back in return.
So, either by 'viability' arguments or via official Salford Council planning policy, developers have evaded providing affordable housing. Finance for the equivalent of just two affordable houses, out of 4,172 properties in this section of central Salford alone, says it all.
No wonder Salford has an affordable housing crisis...
Salford Council's Growth and Prosperity Scrutiny Panel meets at 6pm tonight
See also previous Salford Star article: £42million Salford Planning Scandal As Mayor Asks What Is Going On – click here