LOWER BROUGHTON IN ECONOMIC BLOOM?
Read Part 1 here
Read Part 2 here
Last week the Audit Commission produced a report on the Manchester and Salford Pathfinder, the £354million housing programme which has aimed to regenerate Central Salford by pulling existing houses down and replacing them with `nicer' ones.
In Part 2 of the Salford Star call for a Public Inquiry into Pathfinder, we looked at how the programme was merely a free for all for developers' profits. In Parts 3 and 4 we look at how the programme has affected the wellbeing of the community in Salford.
The Audit Commission report tried to `reflect' the economic impact of Pathfinder, focusing on what has been achieved in Lower and Higher Broughton, although it concentrates on Lower Broughton as a case study.
Incredibly, the report states that "Pathfinders have only recently been required to record the economic impact of their interventions. No formal data is therefore available to report the total number of jobs and training places secured since 2003".
Throughout the Manchester and Salford Pathfinder programme, the report quotes "estimates" of thousands of construction jobs based on "1.25 jobs created for every new house built" - but can only point to a case study in Lower Broughton where 28 unemployed local residents were given apprenticeships and work experience in construction. However at the last East Salford Community Committee meeting a formal question was asked as to why no Salford people appeared to be working on construction sites in Lower Broughton. The Committee is still waiting for an answer.
Further proof that few jobs have been created is given in the report as `worklessness' rates in Lower Broughton are now higher than when Pathfinder started in 2003, as are the number of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance. The number of people claiming Income Support is about the same.
Meanwhile, the rate of domestic burglaries has almost doubled in Lower Broughton over the last three years, from 22 per thousand households to 42, although the rate of car crime has fallen slightly.
Average incomes in Lower Broughton, the report states, are £5,000 less than the Salford average, and a staggering £8000 less than the national average. It adds "This is making housing less affordable for local people and increasing the demand for social housing".
Indeed, house prices have all but collapsed in Lower Broughton, with over £20,000 being knocked off the average price of a house since the peak of 2007… "This makes it hard to continue" the Audit Commission report states "without compromising standards or involving public investment."
We reported in Part 2 how Lower Broughton developers Countryside Properties has already been bailed out with £8million government `Kickstart' money. The report adds that the development has had loads of other publicly financed packages chucked at it too, including funding from Salford Council.
The aim for `New Broughton' was "3,500 mixed tenure homes alongside a full range of community facilities and services, including shops and leisure facilities, schools, open spaces and local employment opportunities".
So far, Lower Broughton has seen over £100million of public and private money invested for a return of 685 new houses, a new primary school (that's too small see here and here), an unused field, two shops and increased unemployment.
To say the regeneration of Lower Broughton is failing would be an understatement.
With another eight years to run, `New Broughton' would need a further £400million to complete, and even the Audit Commission report says this is fairyland thinking…
"There are significant concerns for the future phases of the development" it states "Without continued public funding…it will be difficult to complete the development. In particular, there is a danger of significant areas of land being left with little immediate prospect of development."
To put it mildly, some members of Lower Broughton's community are unimpressed…
Read the SALFORD STAR PATHFINDER REPORT PART 4: COMMUNITY IMPACT: What do you think of it so far? `Rubbish!' CLICK HERE
ALSO READ PART 5 HERE
AND CONCLUSION PART 6 HERE
Photo shows a New Broughton house up for sale