Star date: 9th July 2018


At last week's meeting of Salford City Council planning panel, councillors were directed by the chair, Councillor Ray Mashiter, to reject an application for a block of affordable properties near Canon Green Court.

It's subsequently emerged that Councillor Mashiter owns a property in a very, very nearby street, yet failed to declare this at the meeting. Has he broken rules?
Guidelines state that councillors' actions should be judged 'how a reasonable member of the public...would view the matter'. So, in the absence of any response from the Council, here we let the public decide.

Full details here...

Salford Council councillor guidance
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Some councillors and others who attended the planning panel meeting of Salford Council last week commented that two decisions seemed 'bonkers', 'odd' and 'strange'.

Basically, planning councillors had approved a Countryside Properties application for a block of almost three hundred unaffordable apartments in Lower Broughton, but rejected an application by Salix Homes for a block of over one hundred apartments proposed by Salix Homes for what are classed as 'affordable' properties.*

"I have no idea why we turned the Salix application down" Councillor Bob Clarke told the Salford Star "We have been told time and time again that we need affordable homes and this scheme helped to deliver them. It also would have helped the other properties in blocks adjacent to be renovated and brought up to the decent homes standard.

"As I said during the planning 'debate', we approved much worse schemes and it seems odd that this was not approved" he added "I voted in favour of the application as I believe the scheme's positives far outweighed the negatives.

"Earlier the planning panel approved a Countryside scheme that delivered zero Section 106 monies or affordable homes" he added "I voted against approval for this on those grounds after earlier being reprimanded, again, for questioning Salford City Council policy, as the Countryside scheme was policy compliant."

At the meeting, panel chair, Councillor Ray Mashiter, had moved rejection of the Salix Homes scheme and the application was duly rejected, by six votes to four, with even the Council's Lead Member for Planning, Councillor Derek Antrobus, voting in favour of the Salix scheme.

It has subsequently emerged that Councillor Mashiter owns a house in Tudbury Way, really close to Canon Green Court, yet certainly didn't declare this at the previous panel meeting, when he moved to defer the Salix application, although it is declared in his Register of Interests. And, while minutes have not been published yet for last week's meeting which rejected the Salix application, those who attended are pretty sure that he didn't declare an interest.

Is there a conflict of interest here? The Salford Star contacted City Solicitor, Miranda Carruthers-Watt, for a ruling but she didn't respond, either to an email nor a phone message.

Salford Council rules on such matters state that "In addition to registering interests, councillors are required to declare them at council and committee meetings that they attend as members, where they relate to an item of business for that meeting.

"Where the interest declared is a personal one, it is noted and the councillor can take part in the meeting" they add "Where the interest declared is a pecuniary or prejudicial one they must leave the meeting while that item of business is dealt with, so there can be no suggestion they were able to influence any decisions made in the meeting. Any interests declared at the meeting are recorded in the minutes of the meeting."

Does owning a house nearby qualify as a 'pecuniary' interest? Does owning a house nearby constitute a conflict of interest for the councillor who is supposed to judge applications objectively on their merit?

The Salford Star also contacted the Local Government Association (LGA), which referred the matter back to Salford Council but the organisation has published a leaflet on 'Probity in Planning for councillors and officers'...

"Councillors should think about how a reasonable member of the public, with full knowledge of all the relevant facts, would view the matter when considering whether the councillor's involvement would be appropriate" it states.

"Each council's code of conduct should establish what interests need to be disclosed" it adds "All disclosable interests should be registered and a register maintained by the council's monitoring officer and made available to the public. Councillors should also disclose that interest orally at the committee meeting when it relates to an item under discussion. A disclosable pecuniary interest relating to an item under discussion requires the withdrawal of the councillor from the committee."

Did Councillor Ray Mashiter break the rules? The Salford Star emailed him asking for a comment but he hasn't responded. His phone was also ringing out this afternoon with no answerphone.

In the absence of any comments from anyone near Salford City Council, the Salford Star has decided to let Salford residents judge whether Councillor Mashiter has broken planning rules. As the LGA guidelines state, how would 'a reasonable member of the public...view the matter'?

Our comments box, Facebook sites and Twitter are open for opinions....

* For full background see previous Salford Star articles...

'Bonkers' Planning Decision Sees Councillors Reject Affordable Housing and Approve Unaffordable Housing – click here

Councillors Defer Salix Application – click here

Huge Apartment Block To Be Added To Canon Green Court – click here

Joey wrote
at 10:39:43 on 16 July 2018
Bob the regular, there is only one definition of permeability in planning law, and that is physically being able to move through the site, nothing whatsoever to do with social mobility. If social mobility is given as the reason for refusal and as definition of permeability, then the council will loose any appeal. With regards to car parking, there is car parking included in the proposal, the building is on land which does not require the removal of car parking spaces, so I don't see the problem. Residents from the new building will not be able to park in the spaces allocated for Cannon Green, it will make no difference to parking for existing residents, the ration of parking spaces to flats will not change. With regard to untaxed vehicles on the car parking spaces, it is written in the lease that you can only park a car if it is roadworthy and has vehicle excise duty paid (it is no longer called car tax). So it is a breach of lease to park a car that doesn't adhere to these rules. As an aside, when you purchase a flat on Cannon Green, or most apartment blocks, you are buying a long lease with certain restrictions and a monthly service charge for common services. if you break the lease agreement you can be taken to court for a lease forfeiture.
at 10:39:31 on 16 July 2018
Wrote, Salix could not use all their surplus funds all on one block of flats to the detriment to all their other properties. How do you think other rent and service charge payers would feel if they thought that they were to get nothing from a surplus that they have contributed towards? With regards to the reserves, it is good practice, laid down in rules in RICS, to achieve a certain level of reserves. If a leaseholder finds that their managing agent is not holding that amount of reserves they can take a case to the Courts and Leasehold Tribunal service. They can legally be forced to hold a certain level of reserves otherwise it is classed as mismanagement. Reserves should not be used for ongoing maintenance and improvements. As for borrowing money to carry out the improvements, this loan would have to be paid back, therefore rents would have to increase to cover the repayments. Surely, if there is land surplus to requirements at Cannon Green, it is prudent to use that land to make money, to preclude paying interest on a loan. I have said it in previous posts, I have NEVER seen anyone from Cannon Green use this land, not even to sit out in the sun. It is a waste of valuable land and historically was built on. I have no doubt that if Salix were to appeal this decision, it will go in the decision would be overturned.
at 07:35:27 on 16 July 2018
"...where do you think Salix should magic the money to update the flats from." Just throwing a stick of butter in the mix here but according to Salix's accounts they're sitting on a surplus of £8.5 million and reserves of £43.5 million, this was for the financial year 2016-17. There's also the fact Salix said they would be able to borrow more money to cover refurbs, unlike the Council. The whole yes vote was predicated on that.
Bob the regular wrote
at 07:34:18 on 16 July 2018
Have we possibly been a little hard on Cllr. Mashiter? A bit to quick to lift our pens to attack those who we hate the most.Sounds odd coming from me I know. If the good councilor has taken the word of those two bastions of truth the government and Salix Homes that these new flats are indeed affordable, then perhaps he has thought why one set of affordable Salix tennants need to be segregated from another. This is another meaning of permeability, people mixing with each other, not creating ghettos either for the poor or the rich, or by race. A true socialist philosophy. This is a good point. But if the barriers between the old blocks and the new ones come down, then another problem comes into play. Car parking.At present CGC and westminster have about 40 places, which is tight but good. When I used to visit you could just about get in. The new scheme shows about 10 for 130 flats. Once our affordable scheme is "permeated", and all parking merged, Who will be allowed to park and who won't? There will be parking wars. What about visitors? The many carers that come to the old people each day, can they park?What about leaseholders? when they bought their leases they knew what the parking situation was. I.E they knew the ratio of parking spots to houses. how can this be changed now without compensating them? They need legal advice on that one. Another question,do Salix own the road and the car park? I understand that a few years ago they were persecuting people for un taxed cars that were parked there. How can they? If Salix own the car park and road they don,t have to be taxed. It is private land. Cllr Mashiter has put the cat among the pigeons with this one. I do not think you can question his motives or socialist principle either. Hope am right this time.
at 20:25:51 on 14 July 2018
Former Resident Lower Kersall was in no way similar to Cannon Green. The Kersall flats were built behind a huge council estate, and there was no mixture of tenure it was isolated and difficult to reach employment following the destruction of the production industries by Thatcher in the 80's. I could go on, I lived there briefly and can say without doubt that the residents were only too happy to leave and see the estate blown up. The construction might be similar, but but everything else about them is different. If you think Kersall flats were stupid as you state therefore Cannon Green should also be demolished by your reckoning. You say you had a private house and because the council run down your area they compulsory purchased it off you. Can you explain how a council has anything to do with a private street. If houses are privately owned then it's the owners that are responsible for the state of the area. You received payment for your house, calculated by a legal formula, and compensation in the form of homeloss payments and all moving costs, plus a priority allocation of social property. You chose to pocket the money and move into social housing, that was your choice, you could have just as easily put the money towards a property in a more affluent neighbourhood. No one made you pay rent, that was your choice. You say that £640 is not affordable, well it must be for some, as the rents in the private sector are far higher and there's no shortage of takers for them. Once again we I ask you, where should successful and talented youth live if not in an area walking distance to town, where the careers and jobs are now located? The council did not get the land for nothing, but it was purchased with public funds, and just the way your previous property was. You criticised the council for still not redeveloping the land where your house stood, but are happy that this land is just lying empty. You clearly have no conception of how social housing is funded, where do you think Salix should magic the money to update the flats from. Your inability to get passed your illogical and myopic views makes further debate totally redundant.
Former resident wrote
at 07:21:37 on 14 July 2018
Joey, just look at the masthead of this journal. (the picture at the very top of the Stars first page)it shows how Salfords Labour council blew up housing bought with public money, the goverments money,these flats are the same as canon green, exactly. why did they blow them up? because they were stupid.12 years ago, before I lived on canon green, I owned my own house. paid for.salford council ran the area down and bought it off me cheap, because the law said they could, they then pulled it down. the land is still vacant.they then gave me a tenancy and made me pay rent. I did. the law said I could buy it cheap, so I did. should I knock it down like salford council did to mine.? I once had a house paid for like you, but now I only have a flat, and I paid rent for years. What would you say if they did that to you?To get back to the flats they are proposing. These are not affordable £640 a month is not affordable, young people cannot afford that, even with hard work and probity you like to talk about. If you do some research you will find the council got that land for nothing. The land and flats were transfered to Salix for about £2000 each on condition they were done up (look at transfer deal)Salix were happy with that, I would have been. Salix now say they cannot afford to do them up.Why? I did mine up out of my own pocket. I paid much more than Salix did. LET US GET BACK TO THE POINT IN QUESTION. I AM NO LOVER OF SALFORD COUNCIL AS YOU MAY GATHER. POINT IN QUESTION, COURT MARSHAL COMRADE MASHITER. VERDICT NOT GUILTY. (NOTE TO EDITOR, TRY TO FIND SOMETHING HE IS GUILTY OF)
Joey wrote
at 16:46:41 on 13 July 2018
Former Resident, you have completely ignored my point that the proposed location of the new flats was historically built on and NOT part of the landscaping around Cannon Green. It was bought with public money, but then fenced in for the benefit of a select few in the 1980's. How many houses have the council bought land for and then gifted it to the owners of adjacent houses? I would guess very few if any at all. Why should the residents, and owners, of flats on Cannon Green be gifted land paid for by public funds? It was historically built on and should be once again to provide homes. Affordability is not a Salix or Council interpretation it is a government definition. Though what makes you think that someone from Salford is not suitable, or capable, of gaining well paid jobs in the city? I am originally form Ordsall and through hard work and fiscal probity now own a home locally worth in excess of those sums you state. What is wrong with local youth being educated, having ambition, then getting highly paid work and becoming "young professionals". If those young local and successful youngsters want to stay local they should be able to. They should not have to go away and buy in Didsbury or Chorlton Or is it that you are suggesting that local people are only suitable for menial low paid work? You dismiss the fact that you bought your property at a knock down price, thereby denying other social tenants from being able to rent it in the future. You clearly are not in need as you have been able to vacate it and allow your daughter to move in. I left my council home and bought on the open market as social housing should remain just that, I could have profited as you have, but my conscience precluded that.
at 16:45:37 on 13 July 2018
I know, forget "AFFORDABLE HOUSING" being Thieved from Canon Green's Communal Green space. Let Salix put an Application forwards for 108 Young Professionals Flats, 11 Floors High to be Built in Front of Albion Towers, & if not, the Tenants can forget about the Decent Homes Standard PROMISE by Salix on the Housing Stock Transfer Vote back in 2015... "AFFORDABLE HOUSING" my Arse, this is all Double Speak & for Once Salix have been shown up to be the Shyster- Rogue -Landlords they really are.
Former resident wrote
at 16:45:06 on 13 July 2018
The point Joey made about land bought with public money. It's a great point, and I am glad Joey brought it up. Salford Council were given loads of Public money to buy up peoples houses at cheap prices and knock them down. There was so much public money for this from blairs government that Salford council knocked down more than their fair share. We have lots of public money land all over the place. The law says that public minded people (not public house minded) can get together and get this land free if they form what is called a COMMUNITY LAND TRUST. They can then build their own new houses on it. The government will even show them how to do it, and even lend them the money to do it. The reason is the country needs houses at the right price and the present government know that the council, housing associations like Salix and City West are tossers who waste money time and time again. If people do it themselves there is a good chance they won't make a balls of it. If the others are doing the job,it is a dead cert they will. Look it up .It 's all on the webb.
at 16:43:04 on 13 July 2018
Former resident wrote
at 20:56:12 on 12 July 2018
Joey, the gardens you refer to are part of the landscaping, this is what used to be done to stop places being a concrete jungle, its part of the site, like a back garden in a council house.If the land were open to the public , the public would not use it and it would have to be maintained by the parks dept, who would soon let it become a doss house like the one on St Stephens st. If we need housing space that bad, let's build in all the back gardens on our council estates, they will still have front gardens. The idea proposed would have been an over development.Also the rents would have been £640 a month by Salix own figures.Is that affordable? To buy after a couple of years £180 000 -£200 000.You would have to earn £900 a week to get a mortgage. Is that affordable? Salix were marketing these as for young professionals working in manchester. Does that sound like affordable homes for working class Salford people. You seem to suggest that those that take advantage of right to buy are cheating their fellow working class. This is not the case. we are merely ensuring that our descendants will have a roof over their heads because councils cannot be trusted to put our people first.The only way the people of our city can win is by organising and doing things for themselves. Dont be fooled by Salix and the Council.
Joey wrote
at 08:41:48 on 12 July 2018
Former resident, When I was a child in the 50's the location of these proposed flats was a row of Victorian shops with flats above. They were demolished sometime in the 80's and the area given to the block of flats as communal grounds. So it is private land bought using public money which was then fenced in for the benefit of a select few at Cannon Green Court. I have NEVER seen anyone use this part of the communal grounds, and it should be put to better use. It should be built on, as it was historically. You do not state why you are "dead against" flats being built here, however it will be for selfish reasons, as homes for workers (in town or elsewhere) need to be built somewhere. So long as it doesn't affect your daughters property, that you bought from the council at a knock down price, thereby prohibiting a social tenant from accessing the property. You are obviously against others being afforded the opportunity to purchase an affordable property, as you were. How public spirited of you. The land was bought with public money, therefore I do not see why it should be the preserve of Cannon Green residents. If it is not built on, it should be open to all locals, remove the railings and let anyone use it as parkland, no one in Cannon Green seems to wan't to use it.
Bob the regular wrote
at 08:41:09 on 12 July 2018
Sorry Joey, but your partly wrong.As far as I know there are no clear government guidelines on affordable housing, but there are clear guidelines for what Salford council mean it to be. A pal of mine spoke by chance to the lead member for housing, a few weeks ago about another matter and as he takes an interest in housing matters asked her what he thought the affordable housing rate was. Straight away she said it should be what the local h.benefit rate should be, without any hesitation. In my opinion this is the right level as it means nobody will loose their house through loss of work or illness. It is the answer a good labour politician ,all of them will say.So what she says must be what the others believe, so why do they say its affordable when it isn't? The Tories are bad we know,we don't expect favours from them, but don't blame them for this. Labour with un challenged power in this city have done sweet FA for Salford people for years. They let their voters down, not me I don't vote for them. Keep voting Labour, When your kids and grankids have got nothing blame the tories. They will still have balls all. Thing is we should act now. you will see the next couple of years, bring it on.
Joey wrote
at 17:45:55 on 11 July 2018
Bob the regular you state "even when he knows this affordable thing is bullshit dreamed up by Salix and the Council". If you are going to get angry about the definition of affordability, at least get your target right. It is the government that has produced this absurd description of affordability. Your comment is so littered with misplaced assumptions that you appear to be totally misinformed.
Graham Wilkins wrote
at 17:45:25 on 11 July 2018
I'm beginning to wonder if Miranda Carruthers Watt actually exists, or whether she's just a cardboard name on an otherwise empty desk, as she never seems to reply to any correspondence or phone call.
Former resident wrote
at 17:44:17 on 11 July 2018
I did think Bob's answer was a good one, till I read the editors comment above it. I am stumped as to why this planning went the way it did.I was a leaseholder so you could say I owned my own flat(you still have to pay about £15 a week though lease charge) but I passed it over to my daughter, this explains why I am still curious as to what happened. Like I said, in the other section, I am dead against the new flats. So I am glad its kicked out. I reckon that if the new flats had been built, there would be people who work in town with money who would have taken them.The flats on Canon green would be worth more, but thats not the point. We like it the way it is. It is spacious around the site. Likewise, if Salix had built the flats and put in the dregs of the earth in them, it would have not lowered the Price of Canon Green flats, let alone houses on Turbury way. Therefore I can only say that the idea of property values influencing any members voting in this case is a bit far fetched. Each and every day the idiots at our town hall provide the voters with more than enough sticks to hit them with. lets hit them with these. Saying that though ,the ruling is strange, lets hope we find out why.
SalfordCityZen wrote
at 17:43:04 on 11 July 2018
Firstly, should the Salix Homes tenants not question why Salix Homes have breached / fallen so far short of their written promises during the ‘Transfer’ of properties from Salford Council - namely that ALL properties will be modernised and refurbished. They now claim that Cannon Green Court and Westminster House cannot benefit from these million pounds upgrades, as they need the PROFITS from these ‘affordable’ homes to upgrade the older ones! (digest that for a moment). Profits! And as to whether any Councillor has breached any rules - all of those sitting on the planning for the past 10 years have agreed to waive the extra moneys for Section 106 (plenty of material on here which evidences the loss of funding for the Salford Community).
Salford Star wrote
at 07:24:04 on 11 July 2018
See Bob's comment below - officers recommended approval of the scheme
Bob the regular wrote
at 07:18:59 on 11 July 2018
If Antrobus was there and he must have been in order to vote, why was Mashiter in the chair? Antrobus is the lead for planning and should take the chair, unless he is not there,then deputy takes over. The only answer that fits is this. Antrobus, that great product of the socialist accademia, ,high rank commander Salford labour, cannot possibly be seen to be opposing so called "affordable" housing", even when he knows this affordable thing is bullshit dreamed up by Salix and the Council. So, if the planning officer has gone against it on planning grounds, (which by use of the word permeability seems to indicate what has happened) , then what happened is that mashiter has taken the chair, he has to read out the planning officers recomendations, and because he is in acting position of the Salford Cabinet, he has to go along with the planning officer. Salford council already have a strained relationship with their planning officers to say the least. This does show, however, how so called independent members can be easily manipulated by the system, even if they believe strongly in favour of affordable housing.
Rayofsunshine wrote
at 19:00:32 on 10 July 2018
Cllr. Wheeler deserves praise, not condemnation;his stance at the Planning Committee protected both the interests of his electorate in Eccles and the wider Salford Population! He and other members of the Labour Group should now demand a root and branch review of Planning in Salford - the Planning Bereaucracy and Cllr.Antrobus need to come clean on Section 138. Labour Elected Members, "take back control!"
Caroline wrote
at 18:59:56 on 10 July 2018
I think all planning applications which has passed by Ray Mashiter should all be overturned and should be elimanated from all planning decisions. Therefore i call for his resignation.
Arnold Rimmer wrote
at 15:30:17 on 10 July 2018
If a decision is made to exclude his vote, it's still 5 votes to 4 so ultimately won't make a difference.
Gareth L wrote
at 10:21:40 on 10 July 2018
As the crow flies Tudbury Way and Canon Green Court are seperated by 120m. I would say not declaring is a conflict of interests as Social/affordable housing could affect house prices in the local area. If the Councillor used his position to influence the other councillors then this is surely wrong. I totally disagree with "More Garbage from the Star's" view.
Salford Reds Forever wrote
at 09:12:39 on 10 July 2018
So this is the Salford Tories idea of affordable housing? from previous articles £800 a month. Glad to see that Cllr Clarke really lives in the real world. Not! Shame on Cllr Wheeler for joining the Tory band wagon.
at 08:25:47 on 10 July 2018
It's the people of Salford that are going to suffer through this man's personal quest to change the roots of Salford. We the people of Salford should show our dissatisfaction of him
David Backhouse wrote
at 05:15:51 on 10 July 2018
I feel that the City Mayor should be questioned about this matter....it appears to me that a Conflict of Interest situation existed for that meeting and, therefore the decision reached at the meeting should be declared null and void.
Dazzler wrote
at 21:02:33 on 09 July 2018
I guess he will have to make up more unbelievable bs to explain why in a City with a housing crisis this application for affordable housing which is becoming scarcer and scarcer in Salford has been turned down, leaving the pathway open for more unaffordable housing to be built and the opportunity for Salford Citizens who are mostly on an income of below average wage to be lost forever, with Councillors representing Salford citizens in this way it’s very worrying.
Joe O'Neill wrote
at 19:45:23 on 09 July 2018
Is there a conflict of interest here? The Salford Star contacted City Solicitor, Miranda Carruthers-Watt, for a ruling but she didn't respond, either to an email nor a phone message. Surely this is getting more worrying, the City Solicitor would in my opinion be duty bound to offer an opinion supportive or not. I understand the Stars stance and possible political views but even as members of the public are we not entitled to a ruling? It gets more like a banana state each day what they choose to tell us. Even with my days with Norman we would be asking for clarification but with a one party state running the Town hall should we expect anything less. As a Salford Resident like many others I would be concerned if their was any conflict and a simple statement would offer clarity.
More Garbage from the Star wrote
at 19:44:41 on 09 July 2018
No... Simply he has not.
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