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SALFORD COUNCIL HELD TO RANSOM BY PEEL HOLDINGS OVER NEW SHIP CANAL LIFTING BRIDGE
 

Star date: 1st November 2017

A Salford Star Exclusive

LEGAL WRANGLE HOLDS UP OPENING OF GIANT NEW MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL BRIDGE

The Salford Star understands that Peel Holdings is refusing to open its new lifting bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal unless Salford Council and Trafford Council agree to pay for its operation and maintenance. Peel, the Star believes, is even threatening to impose a toll on the bridge unless it gets its way.

The massive bridge, next to the M60 in Barton and part subsidised with £millions of public money, has already had its opening delayed after it collapsed last year during construction...Roger Jones, Salford Council's Executive Support for Transport told the Star that the wrangle "is now being dealt with by our legal representatives".

Full details here...


Manchester Ship Canal Lifting Bridge Salford Manchester Ship Canal Lifting Bridge Salford Manchester Ship Canal Lifting Bridge Salford
Manchester Ship Canal Lifting Bridge Salford
click image to enlarge

The Salford Star understands that both Salford City Council and Trafford Council are being held to ransom by Peel Holdings, which is refusing to open the new giant lifting bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal unless the councils agree to pay for its operation and maintenance.

The bridge, next to the M60 flyover at Barton near the Trafford Centre, was due to open this month, but it has been delayed while a huge legal wrangle is sorted out. Peel, apparently, is threatening to put a toll on the bridge unless it gets its own way.

The massive lifting bridge is supposed to ease congestion en route to the Trafford Centre, the AJ Bell Stadium and Port Salford, with a dual carriageway for cars and trucks, and designed to eventually accommodate a new extension for the Metrolink tram.

With a similar style to the Centenary Bridge that links Salford and Trafford further along the Manchester Ship Canal, it's supported by four 31 metre high concrete towers which 'lift' the bridge to allow ships as high as twenty metres to pass underneath. The opening has already been delayed after the structure collapsed during construction in May 2016.

"I can assure you that the City Council is one hundred per cent committed to seeing the opening of the new road and lifting bridge at the earliest possible date" Roger Jones, Irlam councillor and Salford Council's Executive Support for Transport told the Salford Star .

"Peel have now raised with Trafford and Salford the future liability issues for the road and bridge and of course that is now being dealt with by our legal representatives" he added

"As the Irlam Ward Councillor, I am well aware of the massive frustration of Eccles, Irlam and Cadishead residents with the traffic delays, and when the original lifting bridge collapsed that imposed a further twelve month delay which just added to the problems for local residents" he explained "It would be totally wrong, in my view, to have any further delays to this Peel/Hochtief road/bridge scheme."

The bridge is part of the Western Infrastructure Western Gateway Infrastructure Scheme, or WGIS, that has been subsidised with over £30million of public money*...

£4million has come from a direct grant from Salford Council, which has also provided an £11million loan in 2012 which cost the Council £360,000 per year in repayments for the first five years. Further repayments of the £11million loan (with Peel paying the interest) were 'deferred' until 2021 earlier this year, due to delays caused by the collapse of the bridge.

Meanwhile, the Government's Department for Business Skills and Innovation's Regional Growth Fund has chipped in another £15million, and Europe's Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency (TEN-T EA) handed over a grant of 998,125 euros for viability studies.

As part of that funding agreement, in 2012, Salford City Council entered into an agreement with Peel Investments (Intermediate) Limited over the bridge and related infrastructure, which is woolly to say the least.

Official documents state that "Salford City Council plan to adopt the highway relating to the works being performed by Peel on the Scheme" but then add "To ensure that the highway is constructed to a specified standard and to the satisfaction of the local highways authority to ensure that future maintenance liability for the highways is minimized, Salford City Council will enter into an agreement with Peel Investments (Intermediate) Ltd under sections 278 and 38 of the Highways Act 1980". 

The risk to Salford Council was set at 'low', with officers stating "By entering into this agreement, and accepting payments from Peel Investments (Intermediate) Ltd, Salford City Council are reducing the risk of future problems and unexpected costs associated with the maintenance of the highway".

The Salford Star asked Highways England, which sits on the Port Salford Transportation Steering Group (PSTSG) with Salford Council, Trafford Council and Peel, if it knew what the hell was going on...

Has Highways England been involved in the legal wrangle? Does it have an opinion on who is liable for the bridge's operation and maintenance, and does it know when the thing might open?

A spokesperson for Highways England responded: "We have provided some technical advice to ensure the new bridge interacts with our roads effectively but do not have any responsibility for the operation or maintenance of the bridge itself."

The Salford Star also asked Trafford Council why the wrangle hadn't been sorted out earlier and whether it will be adopting the bridge or leaving it to Peel to run a toll...

A spokesperson responded: "We are working closely with Salford Council on the future liability of the road and bridge and hope both will soon be open to the public."

The Salford Star asked Peel Holdings to confirm that it was possibly looking to impose a toll on the lifting bridge and to comment on whether the company is holding the councils to ransom. Peel didn't respond.



* For full details of the public money loans and grants to Peel Holdings on WGIS, plus the jobs promised, see previous Salford Star article: Peel Holdings £31million Public Subsidy for Port Salford Ė click here

Photos by Steven Speed

Bob wrote
at 16:01:45 on 18 January 2018
Perhaps the simple answer to the toll of 12p might be to offer the toll collector a £50 note each day. If he or she could not give the right change each day they would have to let you go for free. They only have a right to collect the toll, not to block the right of passage on the Queens highway.Remember the old sixpence a week policys our grannys had with the co op. when it was uneconomical to collect the cash, they made these policies paid up. which meant they let everyone of their weekly sixpence until they died, and the policy was paid in full. this toll needs to be made uneconomical.

Dave wrote
at 12:07:31 on 18 January 2018
Once again Peel hold the NW to ransom. Once again it's down to controling the use of bridges over the canal. The same crap is being down in Warrington and we still have the 12p toll bridge. Peel get to decide who crosses the canal, how they do it, and how much they pay for the privilage. They have rights they've purchased grandfathered in from the 1800s and we still legitimise these today. Peel make all sorts of promises about the roads and bridges they control then go back on them every time. It's about time the government took Peel to hook for stifling development in the NW especially where the road network is concerned. But Peel pay the right people, put them on boards or make them consultants. Any decent jorno can join the dots but it's not good for your job prospects.

Tony McDonagh wrote
at 08:06:05 on 08 December 2017
A woolly agreement. Basically Roger Jones, you should stand down or be sacked. It's not hard nor is it tricky. If you build something, then guess what clever lad you have to maintain it. If the truth be known. Fancy building projects like this are mechanisms to divert money into others pockets and dodge taxation. Built by Peel to benifit Peel. Roger Jones, you are compromised hang your head in shame as another Labour Carreer Polotician out for yourself. Just like your left wing Trotsky side kick light foot. Tell me Roger explain yourself. Who signed off on the woolly agreement "You"

Lynn Irlam resident wrote
at 17:01:42 on 13 November 2017
BLACKPOOL TO IRLAM 51 MILES = 50 TO 55 MINUTES TRAFFORD PARK TO IRLAM 8 MILES = 2 HOURS

Terry wrote
at 15:04:38 on 09 November 2017
Reading the clever scathing comments. Fill in the redundant canal from Irlam locks to Salford Quays. Salford Council (aka Peel Holdings)could create considerable employment by doing so, the resultant track could the be used to run the tram to the much neglected residents of Irlam and Peel Green. There would be no disruption to traffic whilst the work was undertaken. Highly unlikely these moribund self servers would ever consider such modernism.

Steve from Irlam wrote
at 06:23:42 on 09 November 2017
Excuses, excuses, excuses!!...After this utter debacle, I wouldn't have any faith in Salford City Council and Peel Holdings entering into a joint venture to facilitate a Chimpanzees tea party!!

IRLAM RES wrote
at 19:10:08 on 07 November 2017
Reckon Salford Council should put it to peel, sort the bridge or barton stretch going back as it was - 2 lanes right through to Brook House R About from Irlam.

Brian rottier wrote
at 18:55:40 on 04 November 2017
Why not fill the sodding ship canal in,the only people that seem to benefit are peel holdings. it's their bridge benefitting their developments so let them bloody look after it.eccles and Irlam residents have had enough of peel holdings.come on Salford council,grow a pair,and say no more developments.

Brian rottier wrote
at 05:05:21 on 04 November 2017
Why not fill the sodding ship canal in,the only people that seem to benefit are peel holdings. it's there bridge benefitting there developments so let them bloody look after it.eccles and Islam residents have had enough of peel holdings.come on Salford council,grow a pair,and say no more developments.

Stuart Ryan wrote
at 08:43:53 on 03 November 2017
I would be asking why pay for something that not had planing promised or any consultation for Peel do whatever want

Pissed off irlam resident wrote
at 05:46:04 on 03 November 2017
Bollox to all the above they just need to sort the bleeding bridge out so I can can get too and from work without anymore ridiculous traffic OPEN THE PEICE OF CRAP

Felse 4 Truth wrote
at 14:44:06 on 02 November 2017
LOL @wrote. Political Parties are headliner news with improper conduct. These acts destroy innocent lives. They hurt women and hurt vulnerable people who no longer are afraid to speak out. Instead of joining Labour I will seek to launch the first Hurt Free Policy into Salford Council that allows any employee or any local resident to whistleblow without fear about Political Party personal hurt be it historical or current. Salford must lead modern society by a hate free and hurt free Policy. I will today write to Mr Corbyn and Mrs May to explain why we must have a Hurt Free Policy.

wrote
at 09:58:04 on 02 November 2017
So did Corbyn accept your application to join Labour a few weeks back then Michael?

no hope wrote
at 09:29:51 on 02 November 2017
All of these projects are just away of transferring money from the poorest to the wealthiest, by means of debt. Another case for surcharging councillors. A storm is coming

Felse 4 Truth wrote
at 09:29:30 on 02 November 2017
I demand Salford Council publish the details of this bridge. Who signed what. In a City that has Langworthy residents dying at an average age of just 70 years well below the National average we need to have Free Will and Rush to ditch Labour plans. Salford needs to get spending priorities sorted fast to save lives. Bridge or healthy services - is this Labour lot for real?

ian wrote
at 07:10:10 on 02 November 2017
as a salfordian I will happily pay for the upkeep of the bridge but if peel want to sail a ship under it then they can pay Salford a toll

Freddie halfpenny wrote
at 07:10:05 on 02 November 2017
Saldord city council, a wholly owned subsidiary of Peel Holdings.

Susan Millidge wrote
at 07:09:32 on 02 November 2017
Salford Council ned to employ more educated people not these dinosaurs who have not got a clue. What a waste of our hard earn money. No consultations from the people of salford just railroaded as per!!!

Karen Dean wrote
at 20:09:34 on 01 November 2017
This bridge was built for the benefit of Peel only to ensure large container vehicles from Peel Port in Salford were not having to climb the M60 from Junction 11 to get to Trafford Park etc. Planning permission for the port would not have been granted if vehicles from their port would have caused further chaos on the M60 through traffic slowing down to heavy good vehicles. They built it for their benefit,let them pay ratepayers in Trafford and Salford are sick of Peel getting our taxes to shaft us with polluting incinerators, chaos from Trafford Waters & more traffic. Problem is Trafford counciol Tories are quite happy to bend over to Peel. to allow for Peel Ports to enable heavy 40ft container vehicles from Salford Port into Trafford Park and South M60 without having to climb the M60 from Junction 11, which would slow motorway traffic down even further.

wrote
at 20:09:28 on 01 November 2017
So much for improving the environment. Is building bridges really the solution to reducing air pollution. I thought we were trying reduce vehicle usage. Instead it seems acceptable to spend millions on building a bridge that will only facilitate the spreading of even more muck and fumes across the Salford border.

Mary ferrer wrote
at 17:50:20 on 01 November 2017
No wonder there is no money in the reserves account. We are paying officers/councillord/solicitors /consultants. Think they would be better going to the local junior school.How many times have they entered into contracts that have come back and bit them in the bum.Well it's not them that suffer,it's the people of Salford.Must say they are consistent. With Salfords labour run council,you always know it will go Tit up

wrote
at 17:49:56 on 01 November 2017
Just wondering if the relevant SCC "scrutiny" group approved this knowing that Salford taxpayers would be held responsible for future maintenance and repair costs. Perhaps someone from the scrutiny group concerned could respond. I know..I know... and pigs might fly.

Thomas James wrote
at 17:48:51 on 01 November 2017
Completely inaccurate article Peel appear to on the hook for £30m plus The council have paid a grant of £4m Is it a public or private bridge ? If itís a public bridge why would a private company take responsibility for its on going management The level of misinformation on this is troubling

Val Lindley wrote
at 17:48:04 on 01 November 2017
Do you not think that all the residents of Irlam and Eccles have had enough of these road works with out having to pay a for a toll bridge as well . Peel holdings holding our council to ransom is also holding the residence of Irlam and Eccles as well PEELHOLDINGS YOU CHEEKING BASTARDS DO YOU NOT THINK ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?!!! Youíve wasted money building a new road which has just caused more congestion and mayhem. You should have left The A57 irlam as it was . I HOPE EVERYONE VOIDS THE BRIDGE IF IT BECOMES A TOLL .

Florence booth wrote
at 14:48:19 on 01 November 2017
How dare peel holdings try to hold salford council to ransome, I think they have made enough profit out of salford over the years. Besides strangling salford with building on any piece of land they can get ther hands on. You have a lot to answer to, in my eyes. Power and greed. Need to know when to stop squeezing money out of people.

Truth 4 Salford wrote
at 14:48:12 on 01 November 2017
That is a lot of money. Why did Salford residents pay £4million and a £11millon loan. It sounds like a silly game of monopoly. No day goes by without me shocked at Salford Council's spending policy. Put people before £15million of our local cash into fancy bridges. I gasp at what awaits as the next expensive pet project. Disgusted. Michael J. Felse.

wrote
at 14:48:05 on 01 November 2017
Perhaps I just imagined it but dont SCC pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to corporate lawyers to ensure that all the legal responsibilities are addressed/agreed on and written into the bones of public finance contracts prior to signing them off? As usual it looks like Peel and their legal team have rung rings round the SCC "experts"

stawt backwards wrote
at 14:47:39 on 01 November 2017
TWATS!

Shirley jones wrote
at 14:46:43 on 01 November 2017
Salford City Council entering into a woolly agreement? Another one!! Couldn't these experienced officers and Councillors have seen this one coming? How was something so basic as this not addressed in the early stages? Surely before entering into any agreements or giving permissions, that who is going to be responsible for its maintenance would have been quite high on the list? Hochtief... They built the new Harrop Fold school under PFI. Another scandal waiting to happen with PFI.

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