Next week, Salford Council planning panel councillors will once again consider a scheme for private rent apartments for which the developer will pay no Section 106 costs nor provide any affordable housing.
At the last planning panel, when councillors questioned developer avoidance on fees and affordable housing they were basically told to shut up by panel chair Councillor Ray Mashiter (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
For this latest application by Countryside Properties to build 299 private rent apartments in six blocks on Clarence Street in Lower Broughton, the report by a planning officer makes it absolutely clear that it is Salford City Council policy alone that is driving developer avoidance of affordable housing and Section 106 financial contributions...
"The development proposes apartments only and the site is located within a low/mid value area" it states "As per the Planning Obligations Supplementary Planning Document the scheme does not currently trigger any requirement for planning obligations with regard to Education, Public Realm and Open space and it is not considered that the scheme submitted would require any site specific obligations.
"A number of neighbour representations have raised the issue that the scheme does not include any affordable housing and that this would not comply with council standards" it adds "However it should be noted that there is no policy requirement for affordable housing on an apartment only scheme in this area. Furthermore, as can be seen from the table above, a significant number of affordable units have already been delivered across the wider site."
When this scheme was first submitted to Salford Council in April, the Salford Star reported on the so-called 'significant number of affordable units' that had been 'delivered across the wider site'... Only 17% of new houses and only 20% of new flats in Lower Broughton had been classed as 'affordable', compared to 100% of affordable housing in the area before the 'regeneration' took place.*
Furthermore, Countryside explained in its application about "the key aspiration of the Development Agreement [with Salford City Council] to significantly reduce the proportion of affordable housing"**
The proposal is that the six blocks, ranging from four to six storeys (110 one bed units/189 two bed units/10 three bed units) would be owned and managed by Sigma for private rent.
In the previous article, the Star calculated that Public Open Space payments alone would have amounted to £828,083 (£1,039 per bed space) for the developer, never mind costs of affordable housing etc. In the event, unless councillors object next week, the developer will pay nothing, thanks to Salford Council's own shocking planning policy.
Meanwhile, twelve objections have been received from local residents, which range from the lack of affordable housing, to changed plans (they believed the development would be for housing or three storey blocks), to increased flooding risk, and increased traffic and pollution.
* Strangely the housing figures given in the initial application have since changed in the report to councillors, with 118 properties 'missing' from the latest tables.
** See previous Salford Star article – Salford Developer Admits That 'Key Aspiration' of Lower Broughton Regeneration Was To Reduce The Proportion of Affordable Housing – click here