Plans by Salix Homes for a huge new apartment block to be added to the grounds of Canon Green Court and Westminster House in Trinity are set to be rubber stamped by Salford City Council's planning panel next week.
The new block, titled 'Blackfriars' will be between eight and eleven storeys high and contain 108 apartments (18 one-bed and 90 two-bed) available on a rent to buy basis. This scheme is classed as 'affordable housing', as it "allows working households to rent a home at 80% of market rent and purchase the property at year five if they wished".
To accommodate the block, an area of green space will be lost plus 26 mature Category B trees, including London Planes and Limes, which would, according to the Council planning report, 'significantly impact the street scene'. To mitigate the destruction, Salix will instead plant 54 'similar species' trees.
With 108 apartments set to be plonked on the site, Salix should be paying fees for public realm, open space and transport infrastructure but the company won't be asked for a penny as it would make the scheme 'financially unviable'...
"...It is recognised that the applicant has demonstrated that in not providing contributions towards open space and public realm improvements that are able to deliver a development that comprises entirely of affordable housing, that exceeds the affordable housing requirements for apartment schemes in this part of the City by 100%" states a Council planning officer.
The proposal is controversial in that Salix Homes promised that if tenants voted for Salford Council housing to be transferred to the company, all homes would be brought up to the decent homes standard...and then subsequently stated that it couldn't afford to refurbish Canon Green and Westminster unless this new block was built 'to generate sufficient borrowing capacity to fund the works required'*
In return, Canon Green Court and Westminster House will be clad and insulated, and the balconies of flats in Canon Green will be glazed. In a consultation on the proposals, only forty tenants and leaseholders out of 143 took part, with only 25 tenants and five leaseholders positive about the plans.
* For a full background see previous Salford Star article: Salix Residents Feel Duped – click here
For more background into the dreadful conditions tenants have been living in - click here