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SALFORD STAR MARY BURNS AWARDS 2009
 

MARY BURNS AWARDS
DAY 21

THE `HE AIN'T HEAVY HE'S MY BROTHER' AWARD Part 1

In honour of The Hollies connection to Salford we present this very special MARY. But first. A song…

Please sing along and feel those words…

"The road is lo-o-o-ng
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when
But I'm str-o-o-o-ng
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my br-o-o-o-ther

So on we g-o-o-o
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We'll get there
For I kn-o-o-o-w
He would not encumber me
He ain't heavy, he's my br-o-o-o-ther

…If I'm laden at all
I'm laden with sadness
That everyone's heart
Isn't filled with the gladness
Of love for one an-o-o-o-ther

It's a long, long r-o-o-o-ad
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy, he's my br-o-o-o-ther

He's my brother
He ain't heavy, he's my br-o-o-other..."

Ladies and Gentlemen. THE `HE AIN'T HEAVY HE'S MY BROTHER' AWARD Part 1…goes to…

Please do a drum roll and click here…


MARY BURNS AWARD
click image to enlarge

 

PEEL HOLDINGS and the NORTH WEST DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

Yes, this MARY is given in recognition of the extraordinary relationship between Peel Holdings and the North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA).

Early in 2009 the Salford Star reported that Bryan Gray was Chairman of the North West Regional Development Agency while also working one day a week for Peel Media, developers of MediaCityUK which had grants in the bag totalling over £30million from NWDA. That was strange enough…

But then, in August, Bryan was succeeded as Chairman of NWDA by Robert Hough, er, Deputy Chairman of Peel Holdings who, according to his register of interests, still has a bucket load of directorships in a bucket load of Peel companies…Meanwhile, Bryan, Chairman of NWDA, was appointed as Chairman of Peel Media in a kind of revolving door between the multi billion pound private developer and the government agency.

As everyone knows, Peel's MediaCityUK is struggling to attract any private media companies to its site at Salford Quays, presumably because no-one can afford the rent. Indeed, after a visit to MediaCityUK last October, Salford City councillors "raised concerns" about whether small local businesses will be able to afford the rents.

The only confirmed tenants are the very publicly funded BBC (paying £170million rent by 2030, according to leaked BBC documents) and University of Salford (watch this space for its lease costs)…

…However, recently announced for MediaCityUK is the Media Enterprise Centre (MEC), with `the lease and initial operations' being funded by £3.8million from the NWDA (plus a grant from the European Regional Development Fund for £4.2m).

Within the MEC will be a video games centre of excellence, backed by a £1million investment from the Government with "additional support expected" from the NWDA…plus FIRM (Framework for Innovation and Research at MediaCityUK) with NWDA funding "in the pipeline", and a projected £2.5million Make Media Centre, funded by NWDA, with "5 year lease costs being sought through a separate funding application to NWDA" according to its project brief

Some might say that NWDA, a public body, is subsidising private company Peel Media, which owns all the buildings at MediaCityUK, by giving out grants to pay Peel's high rents. Of course, some people might think differently.

Meanwhile, the £15million NorthernNet Project, a high speed telecommunication network of 100Mbs being piped to MediaCityUK and beyond, is financially backed by the Northern Way including £2.27million from NWDA. Robert Hough, who sits on the Steering Group of Northern Way and is NWDA Chairman, said "We know that MediaCityUK will be a site of global importance in the digital and creative sector and now this joined-up network will spread that impact across the North of England."

On top of all this, NWDA is investing £30,400,000 directly into MediaCityUK infrastructure – a pedestrian link bridge, a huge piazza with canopies, a `media wall' and a new 400 meter tramline, plus tram stop and trams. While NWDA is putting over £30million into this MediaCityUK infrastructure, Peel itself is making a mere £1.68million `contribution'.

According to the Central Salford URC Investment Plan, there's also around £91.2million being invested by NWDA into `The Quays and Waterfront' between 2009 and 2014. It doesn't specify whether any of this public money is going into MediaCityUK, based at the Quays.

MediaCityUK is completely owned and managed by Peel Media, which stands to take the profits out of the enterprise.

Questions are bound to be asked about the amount of public money NWDA is investing in Peel's MediaCityUK when the current Chairman of the NWDA, Robert Hough, is the former Deputy Chairman of Peel Holdings - and when Bryan Gray, the former Chairman of NWDA is now Chairman of Peel Media.

At a recent `A Toast To MediaCityUK' debate, Felicity Goodey (current Chair of Central Salford URC and original MediaCityUK bid leader), introduced Bryan Gray as a former Chairman of the NWDA"So he's had his finger in the pie for quite a long time, to put it mildly…" she said.

Ladies and Gentlemen. THE `HE AIN'T HEAVY HE'S MY BROTHER' AWARD Part 1 goes to…

PEEL HOLDINGS and the NORTH WEST DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

Applause…

If anyone from these organisations would like to make a speech please fill in the Comments box below

* When Salford Star ran the last article on Bryan Gray, NWDA made the following statement which would stand for Robert Hough too, we imagine...

"Any projects involving the NWDA that have external partner involvement, whether past, current or future, are considered and dealt with within the strict corporate governance procedures of the Agency, which will include appropriate declaration of interests of a Board member. Decisions on allocations of funds are made within the parameters of a strict delegation scheme and as Chief Executive, Steven Broomhead is the overall accountable Officer. Anything in value above the maximum delegation is decided upon by the full Board."

Update here 21st January 2010

 

 

caroline wrote
at 22:12:41 on 02 December 2011
Love.. the song ...it is for all to remember...Note we are all brothers and sisters we have to take care of each other ..no matter what the world throws at us.Try in the world 2525..Same thing but for the care of the earth.
 
Reg Trip Inspector wrote
at 21:20:01 on 01 December 2011
Strange , unsavoury business practice. Very questionable .
 
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