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SECRECY REIGNS AT SALFORD CITY COUNCIL OVER FUTURE OF SWINTON, PENDLETON, CHARLESTOWN, LOWER BROUGHTON AND ORDSALL
 

Star date: 17th August 2018

SWINTON 'TRANSFORMATION'...PENDLETON 'PHASE 2'... CHARLESTOWN 'OPTIONS' AND MORE ALL BEING DECIDED BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Did you know that there's a 'Masterplan' for Swinton's 'Transformation'? Or that there are plans proceeding about development in Charlestown, Pendleton, Ordsall and the Cambridge Industrial area in Lower Broughton? No? We're not surprised.

It's all happening behind closed doors at Salford City Council; the same council that prides itself on so-called 'transparency'.

Full details here...


High Street Estate Salford Salford City Council Transparency
click image to enlarge

The High Street estate at the back of Salford Precinct has been tinned up for years, with around a dozen houses still being inhabited. And nothing seems to be happening.

This week, however, the horribly named Joint Lead Member Briefing Planning and Sustainable Development and Housing and Neighbourhoods was presented with a High Street Demolition Survey report which would have answered a lot of the questions being asked about Salford's most visually obvious, almost post-apocalyptic, ghost estate. But no-one, apart from select councillors and officers, was allowed to see it.

The report was stamped with 'Part 2', ie secret. No details were revealed, either before the meeting or after it. All that is published is a 'Public Interest Test Questionnaire' justifying 'confidentiality', by asking things like 'Will disclosure damage the Council's interests, without giving the public any useful information?' 'Yes'...

...And then a bit further down there's a very strange answer to the question 'Is there a clear and coherent reason why the community in general would benefit more from information being withheld?'. The answer is 'No' ? but 'the community' still can't see it because 'The report relates to the business affairs of the Council and its contracts with partners containing financial information that would be required to be kept confidential'.

These Part 2 Public Interest Test Questionnaires are used almost every week to keep information about the spending of public money away from the, er, public. Even when the Council's own 'scrutiny' committees are discussing such matters the public is usually kicked out to keep it all secret.

Salford Council does have to publish a 'Forward Plan of Key Decisions' which involve expenditure or cuts of over ?350,000 or "be significant in terms of effects on communities living or working in an area comprising two or more wards in the city".

There's loads of these 'key decisions' published in advance on the Council's website ? stuff that is coming up for decisions over the next four months ? but anything of any significant interest is already scheduled to be stamped with Part 2.

Within the Part 2 portfolio is a Property Update, and under the Regeneration Schemes heading is a list of schemes to be happening around Swinton Civic Centre Campus, including Civic Centre Development Opportunities, Lancastrian Hall, Acquisition and relocation of Ambulance Station, and sales of sites at Stanwell Road, Deans School and Ambrose Barlow.

What will be in the public domain sometime before Christmas is the Swinton Transformation/Masterplan - but the report states that the 'Principal groups/organisations to be consulted before the decision is made' is the 'Mayoral approval process' and the 'Means by which any such consultation is proposed to be undertaken' is by 'letters and correspondence'.

This particular Swinton project is also part of GM Mayor, Andy Burnham's Town Centre Challenge, announced last February but with all details still under wraps. Like the Crescent masterplan, it will probably be presented to developers before the community.

Also coming up are key decisions about Ordsall Development Agreement with Legendary Properties (Part 2), Charlestown Options (Part 2), Pendleton Phase 2 (Part 2), Chimney Pot Park Scheme (Part 2), Pendleton PFI Contract Matters (undecided whether Part 1 or 2), Future proposals for Cambridge Industrial Area in Lower Broughton, including 'acquisitions of interests in advance of development', and 'Disposal of Land by the Council for Residential Development' (Part 2) and Acquisitions of 'Interests in Eccles shopping precinct' (Part 2)?

Also in there are more loans for the AJ Bell Stadium, or 'Approval of capped council drawdown funding for City of Salford Community Stadium Ltd' (Part 2), and loads more. All secret. All going on behind closed doors. And all being kept from the public...

Is that huge 'Transparency' banner still outside the Civic Centre?


See also previous related Salford Star articles...

Salford Council Declares Transparency ? Despite Everything Being Secret ? click here

It's Not What the Council Tells You, It's What the Council Doesn't Tell You ? click here

Transparency International Report States Conditions Ripe for Corruption in UK Local Councils ? click here

Parliament Investigates 'Ineffectual Local Government Scrutiny' ? click here and click here


Steve Marrs wrote
at 14:53:55 on 04 October 2018
Please demolish the Lancastrian Hall it is an absolute eyesore and looks unsafe, a listed building indeed ! as for Swinton precinct considering the population in the area has grown considerably over the years I am sure that the construction of a modern shopping mall with quality retailers would be a good investment and create jobs for the town.

A Thought.... wrote
at 12:41:30 on 20 August 2018
Reading through some of these comments, it appears to me the practices of some at the top of the council and their commercial interests hasn't changed. I can't help but think the majority of these problems stem from an egging on of Mr Merry and his pal from Warrington Wolves. I sensed a bottomless pit was being dug at Barton, Not for the good of City of Salford or even the Rugby Club itself - more as a game of one upmanship tween two Local Authority Executives. Bottom Line - Any actual profits made by the stadium should by now be in the councils accounts by now..even if the profits are being split by peel. In which case some money could be afforded to other projects...OTHER than the rugby club (Those debts weren't paid off...they were written off). If other private partners want a slice of any incomings - they should produce a proposal before coming out with the begging bowl...and these details need to be produced so the public can see them - Not hide them away and expect the council to hand over the cash!

Marie Falzon wrote
at 20:31:51 on 19 August 2018
Nothing new , this council is a law unto itself! Letting developers take over swathes of the area & letting other places for like Buile Hill former museum, the garden centre that was there & the cafe. Could have been quite a money spinner but no lets close it down & watch it crumble! Criminal!

Rayofsunshine wrote
at 06:40:26 on 19 August 2018
Audrey,Swinton Precinct is run by Swinton Shopping Centre Limited, not Salford City Council. It is Swinton Shopping Centre Limited which has starved the Precinct of investment, whilst levying sky high rents and other charges off traders!

Joanne Baxter wrote
at 09:37:51 on 18 August 2018
Transparency they like to use this word but I doubt they know it's meaning. Salford Council have been covering up development being carried out without planning permission or turning a blind eye to development which dosent conform to plans which have been passed. For years When you ask Salford council for answers regarding their actions over the last 4 years of pursuing them to right their wrongs you receive a threatening letter accusing you of bullying them and the sanctions you will incur if you contact them again!!

Audrey Clark wrote
at 19:25:32 on 17 August 2018
Transparency??? Wasn't when I worked for them isn't now. Precinct a joke. Going into such decline and 5he powers that be are letting it happen. How sad.RIP Swinton.

Andy olsen wrote
at 19:25:14 on 17 August 2018
Is it me or is it getting darker around swinton with ALL these shady dealings going on. There is no Democracy in the labour party. As you can tell by the brexit labour are scamming us out of. LABOUR AND TORY ARE ONE AND THE SAME NOW !

Gareth L wrote
at 15:09:36 on 17 August 2018
Well it's quite clear to me. The three school sites and the ambulance station in Swinton will be sold off for housing. Swinton needs more houses like a second hold in the head. It needs green/ open spaces as it is getting more congested and polluted.

Alice wrote
at 15:09:08 on 17 August 2018
Is this democracy? Such secrecy implies fear of the public and possible misunderstanding, or some shady dealing which needs to be kept secret. Whichever it is, the public need to be treated with more respect and provided with information. Lack of information creates anxiety and leads to rumours. Decisions being considered behind doors can affect people's lives. Consultations should be early enough for folk to have a say. If not it appears to be a 'done deal' . It leads to lack of trust.

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