The plans for a shiny new Salford Precinct are on display today (10am-3pm) in one of Salford Precinct's many empty shop units, this one next to the Halifax Bank overlooking Pendleton Way car park…
Anyone can pop in, view the plans and have their say on a state of the art makeover of the Precinct which includes new entrances and meeting spaces, a new outdoor and indoor market, and sites for quality shops and a restaurant.
The project looks great but it's all based on the closure of Pendleton Way – the four lane road that currently separates the Precinct from the proposed new Tesco superstore.
While the Council has stated that it would like to see Pendleton Way closed and the Precinct integrated with the Tesco store, we can reveal that this option was rejected in 2009 in a row over finance and costs. The original plan to integrate the two schemes was estimated to bring in a profit of over £8million for the Council – but just a year later this had turned into a potential loss of over £1million.
The Salford Star has seen confidential Salford Council documents which show…
• Tesco dropped its price for land on the proposed superstore site from a "previously agreed" £18.6million, to £16million.
• That to close Pendleton Way and divert traffic and buses would include a `relocation' cost to GMPTE of "up to £500,000"
• That Salford Shopping City's previous owners, Prime Commercial Properties (PCP), would have been entitled to around £4million in compensation from the Council to fulfil Tesco's demand for a petrol station on PCP land.
Financial projections for the original masterplan in January 2008 which integrated the Precinct with the Tesco store showed a profit to Salford Council of between £8.3 and £8.9million. By May 2009 this had turned into a loss of £1.1million, with a "worst case scenario" loss of £2.5million.
Over those 16 months, Tesco had dropped its offer by £2.6million, the value of All Souls school site had dropped by £0.5million and £1million income from PCP had been lost. Meanwhile the cost of getting the site ready for Tesco had risen by £2million, the relocation of the school had risen by £0.5million and PCP were entitled to a minimum of £4million compensation.
The plan for a stand alone Tesco store, the report states, would bring in a profit of between £2million and £3.4million (depending on a `claw back of up to £1.4million' by NWDA `in respect of the new school on Glendinning Street'). This would be possible because no compensation would be payable to PCP and there would be no fee to GMPTE if Pendleton Way remained open.
Salford Council opted at the 2009 meeting to "authorise the entry by the Council into a conditional contract with Tesco Stores Ltd in relation to the sale of the land and the development of a `stand alone' superstore" – this despite a a paragraph in the report which clearly states Salford Council's own planning guidance "specifically requires that any such proposals are…well integrated with the existing centre". This guidance was never even brought up at the subsequent planning meeting for the Tesco store (see here).
Since this 2009 report, Salford Estates has bought Salford Shopping City from Prime Commercial Properties (PCP) and has now taken over the fight for an integrated Precinct with court cases and document leaks flying all over the place.
Salford Estates is already embarking on a judicial review over Salford Council's land deal with Tesco, arguing that it undervalued the land at £16million, "when independent valuations have since put the value at between £26 and £33 million". Someone connected with Salford Council has now, we understand, leaked Salford Estates' offer for the Tesco land which stands at a mere £10million.
We also believe that Salford Estates is taking the Council back to court over discrepancies in the official planning permission notice released by the Council regarding the Tesco store.
In the middle of these store wars stand the shop and stall holders at Salford Shopping City who just want reassurances about the future security of their businesses and jobs – and, of course, Salford people who want a proper shopping centre…
The new plans for Salford Shopping City are on display today (Friday) at unit 92, Sutton Way, overlooking Pendleton Way car par park 10am-3pm. Or online at www.savesalford.com – you can also give your views on the new plans via the website.
For the history of this ongoing Tesco and Salford Precinct battle see STORE WARS here and follow the links
See also Salford Council Leader John Merry's take on the schemes here