Back in 2013, new blocks of 497 private rent sector 'luxury' apartments avoided £1,908,707 in planning fees, plus 20% affordable housing (around one hundred properties) when developer Pinnacle Developments (NW) Ltd got its violin out at the planning meeting of Salford Council.
Salford's planning officers stated that "No affordable housing is proposed in this instance due to viability issues", while "In this instance it is agreed that the reasonable developer return, considered necessary by paragraph 173 of the NPPF, is not currently delivered by this development."
Instead of almost £2million in fees plus those affordable properties, Pinnacle merely agreed to provide "a replica of the former market cross that stood in the area", while a 'clawback agreement' was inserted into the planning permission that if profits were huge some money would be paid back to the city.
At the planning meeting, Councillor Derek Antrobus called the agreement "absurd", while Councillor Stephen Ord said "the policy is a joke…it's immoral that a development of this size gives nothing back." (see previous Salford Star article – click here)
Since then, the apartment blocks have received a Government Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) subsidy of £35million, about which Gordon More, Head of Investment at HCA said "This is a good example of what HCA funding can achieve and is all about."
In 2016, the Greengate blocks were sold to LaSalle Investment Management for a price quoted as £110million.
At the 2013 meeting when planning permission was granted, Broughton MP Graham Stringer objected that the development "turns its back on the River Irwell" and would be "just a big gated community that does not engage with the area around it".
His words have proved prophetic as the development has now been branded as 'Greengate Manchester'...offering "luxury city centre living perfectly located in the heart of Manchester..." (see here)
It joins other developments including Downtown Manchester (Ordsall) gradually re-branding Salford as 'Manchester'...and giving nothing back to the city that has been so generous in allowing it to avoid millions of pounds of payments.
Meanwhile, Salford Council's own vision for Greengate, which proposes even more blocks of apartments and houses, does not mention a word about affordable housing.*
*See previous Salford Star article on the 'Greengate Vision' – click here