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SALFORD STAR MARY BURNS AWARDS 2009
 

MARY BURNS AWARDS
DAY 12

THE MARY BURNS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

This very special MARY goes to someone who retired at Christmas after long and faithful service to developers…sorry…Salford City Council…

The state of Salford's housing is the true legacy he leaves behind.

Ladies and Gentlemen. The MARY BURNS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD…goes to…

Please do a drum roll and click here…


 

BOB OSBORNE - Deputy Director of Sustainable Regeneration, Salford City Council.

Also known as the head of Salford's housing, Bob's been in charge throughout the last zillion years, overseeing the fantastic changes to our city – the mess that is Broughton, Langworthy, Pendleton, Ordsall, Kersal and everywhere else.

We did offer Bob the chance to make a farewell speech but he declined. So, by way of a tribute, we're going to print highlights of an exclusive interview we did with him a few years ago, much of which has never been published before. Bob Osborne – this is your life…

INTERVIEW WITH BOB 2006

Salford Star: A lot of people remember Salford's awful regeneration of the 70s and they don't trust you…

Bob: That's why we work with them…I did Pendleton the first time around and I want to get it right this time…

SS: That's an awful thing to say – you messed it up the first time?

Bob: No what I'm saying is that we did the best we could with the money we had at the time…If you look at north of Churchill Way now, and all those tower blocks with close circuit tv and security, and people are very happy in general.  We didn't have enough money to do the south side of Churchill Way so we're having to go back. That's what I mean - I don't mean I screwed up on the north side of Churchill Way, I'm proud of that.

                                                         *****

SS: We've been trying to understand all these council figures for regeneration but we can't make out even what the headings mean – can you explain what this means - Developer Support ? 

Bob: Off the top of my head I can't remember…

SS: As residents of Salford we'd like to be able to understand these figures

Bob: Well I'm a resident of Salford and I work here and I don't understand these things half the time…

                                                          *****

SS: You've just accepted that there's £15m of public money going to the Urban Splash development at Chimney Pot Park – if local people perceive that they can't afford those houses why put public funds into it?

Bob: It's never been about affordable housing per se, it's been about rebuilding the community…

SS: But the community can't have one…So Urban Splash is not about affordable homes,it's about making profits?

Bob: I can't speak for them, but practically speaking they all have to make a profit.

SS: But people are upset because they were told that the Chimney Pot Park development was about affordable homes for them – and now, they're not allowed into it?

Bob: I'm aware that people are finding it difficult to access affordable housing…but rest assured I'm working very hard to try and find ways to bring about affordable housing…

                                                             *****

SS: There's all this public money going into housing - although we don't know how much, and you don't know how much - but not a brick has been put down in working class areas…

Bob: There are 18 affordable houses in Vincent Street…

SS: But it says here that there are 2500 under construction – where are they?

Bob: Err, is that the Salford figure or the whole Pathfinder area?

SS: It's from a Council Report…

Bob: There's some in Higher Broughton…you're asking me a question at the beginning of a very long programme that requires us to invest in making the areas easy to build on, requires us to create partnerships with a number of funding streams, it will take time to come through the mill…It's a 15 year plan.

SS: But it says here 2500 houses `up to Sept 2005' ?

Bob: I'll get you the figures…

                                                  *****
Classic Quote by Bob…

"We only knock houses down where it's absolutely impossible to retain those properties…"

                                                 *****

Bob's Monologue

Please have your hankies ready…

Let the violin music commence…

"In every regeneration and any chaotic change in anyone's life you go through a bit of a dip and you need to understand why you're doing things as a council. 

From my perspective, and I'm passionate about this, I want to make sure that people have a nice place to live in and are easily relocated – you have to get things in order.  Post industrial decline has happened over 50 years and it's to do with macro economics, nothing to do with the council being crap at its job…

…Our chance with some of these funds is, over time, to build fantastic new homes that are warm, safe and hopefully reasonably inexpensive to live in -and that takes a hell of a lot of time and a hell of a lot of effort from my staff.

There's no hidden agenda that we're going to chuck working class people out on the street that's a terrible assertion, I don't believe that at all…

We're working very hard in communities to help people, and I know that at the beginning in Seedley and Langworthy people are frightened, people are scared, they don't know what's happening to their lives but we have to work with those communities and it's taking time . 

You have to have a vision…if you're a public servant you have to have a 15 year vision..."

                                                  *****

Unfortunately Bob Osborne won't be able to see out the 15 year vision. He retired December 2009.


 

G.Griffiths wrote
at 6:16:06 AM on Saturday, January 2, 2010
Council regeneration strategy---LIE. As one of those working class people who was actually "chucked out on the street", maybe Bob would like to apologise? I was in a meeting with Bob Osborne and John Merry in August 2007 (just before the housing market peak) and I told them that I,d heard that Broughton Green wasn,t selling very well. They SMUGLY told me that "they,re selling okay". I also asked if Broughton Green wasn,t selling and Bond square (sorry-New Devonshire Square) wasn,t selling, why they thought a developer would be interested in the land inbetween? Steve,what did I say about Broughton Green the first time we met in September 2005? Put that comment up alongside the ones about the houses on King street being renovated from 2008.
 
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