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SALFORD EMBANKMENT 101 COULD COST TAXPAYERS MILLIONS
 

Star date: 27th May 2011

SALFORD'S UGLY USE OF PUBLIC MONEY

`I think a few councillors need to have a second look at the crap that they will be hoisting on the good folk of Greater Mancunia...' Skyscrapercity.com 

Plans for two horrid office blocks on the Salford side of Manc town centre have not only drawn scorn from planners and architects, they could also end up costing Salford tax payers up to £2million a year – for the next ten years.

Secret decisions, public money underwriting private profit, the destruction of a listed building and truly horrific architecture all come together under Salford Council's banner of `regeneration' and `investment'

Full story here… Warning: offensive language ahoy!


Embankment 101 and 100 Salford Iron Bridge Greengate Salford Iron Bridge Greengate Salford
Iron Bridge Greengate Salford Iron Bridge Greengate Salford Iron Bridge Greengate Salford
Former Exchange Station Site Former Exchange Station Site
click image to enlarge

Salford is possibly getting two horrid black office blocks, courtesy of Ask Developments and Salford City Council. They are going to be based just opposite Manchester Cathedral on the site of the old Exchange Station, are in the pipeline for planning permission and they already have architecture specialists up in arms. But that's only the start of the story.

First of all look at the artist's impression of the things (main photo) then read these hilarious comments taken from the planner and architects forum skyscrapercity.com

Heatonparkincakes: `Has someone died? Personally think they are utterly and purely ugly pieces of arrogant crap…They stick out like a cancer growth on an albino… It's an affliction and I will blame SCC [Salford City Council]…I think a few councillors need to have a second look at the crap that they will be hoisting on the good folk of Greater Mancunia.'

Seasoned Best: `Gruesome twosome? Two ugly sisters?...Thoroughly horrific.'

Slow Burn: `Truly, truly atrocious! Typical Salford shit…'

Required: `Hypnotically bad.'

Blackfriars (on the `dancing fountains' at the front of the blocks): `It looks like an empty car park where the water pipes have been tampered with by kids during a heat wave'

JRB: `Look at the new Chets Music School. Look at Victoria Station. Look at Manchester Cathedral...Then stick two black glass Milton Keynes office blocks next to them…Fuck Off!'

And if the architecture is bad enough, the process by which these office blocks have come about is even more ugly, if that's possible.

The office blocks, Embankments 101 and 100, are being built by Ask Developments, a private profit making company, but Salford City Council has agreed to guarantee 50% of the rent on the first block for the next ten years.

With Grade A office space of 196,000 sq ft available, commentators (including Estates Gazette and Manchester Confidential) have estimated this will cost Salford Council anywhere between £750,000 to £2million a year if the building lies empty. This money will come from the Council's revenue funds, which means directly from Salford tax payers. And Salford Council doesn't even intend to take any space in the block.

What's more, the decision by Salford Council to underwrite the speculative project was taken by its Cabinet in secret (or Part 2) last October, was rushed through as "urgent and not subject to call-in" and the decision notice was never posted on the Council's website (we certainly can't find it), as is a legal requirement.

Fortunately, the Salford Star, by other means, has managed to obtain a copy of the decision dated October 2010. It's approved personally by Salford City Council Leader, John Merry and states only that there will be a "tiered approach to Phase 1 of the Greengate Regeneration Scheme through…a head lease being taken within the parameters set out in the report". No report is included.

We asked Salford Council if the decision was available on the Council's website, and, if not, why not? We also asked that if this decision wasn't on the Council's website, what other official decisions aren't being posted for the public to inspect. We waited weeks and weeks for an answer. We didn't get one.

Meanwhile, Salford Council's Chief Executive, Barbara Spicer, had gone on record partly justifying the decision to underwrite a speculative, privately owned office block by saying that it "will create 880 jobs".

We asked exactly how an office block will create 880 jobs and whether these jobs would be for Salford people, given that we could be paying up to £2million a year for the privilege. We didn't get a proper answer on this either.

All we got was a standard quote from John Merry saying "We have been working closely with Ask to develop this site. During tough financial times we have to take a decision on whether we invest and plan for recovery, or we freeze development plans. At Salford City Council we feel very strongly that we should continue to invest in the city to bring in jobs and improve our economy.

"This scheme is expected to bring 880 new jobs to Salford, which will benefit local residents, as well as those from across the region" he adds "The rental guarantee we have put in place is there to give developers the confidence to invest in our city and we are happy we will be able to recover this rent when this much needed office space comes to market."

Time will tell. But Salford tax payers will be pleased to note that Salford City Council is also going to be financially supporting Peel Holdings (owned by John Whittaker, whose wealth has almost doubled to £2,075million over the last year, according to Sunday Times Rich List see here), next in its Port Salford venture, having already provided £22million towards the Peel joint venture community stadium.

"We will play a role in that and take some of the risk" Barbara Spicer told the Manchester In Business event a couple of weeks ago "Port Salford is seen as critical infrastructure for Greater Manchester and is part of the carbon economy local plan."

She added that Salford Council will be taking the risk in a lot more private profit making schemes…

"Where we were in terms of development five years ago and where we are now dictates a different role from the local authority, and actually we've got to get into that space a bit more."

Ever wondered why your recycling bins are only being emptied every month? Maybe it's because Salford Council is gambling public money on an increasing amount of private speculative schemes...

 AND THERE'S MORE...

* As part of the construction of the two office blocks the Grade 2 listed iron bridge on Greengate is to be demolished and they talking about `relocating' it. The document doesn't state where exactly they would put a massive iron bridge...

* The `vision' and `strategic objectives of what Greengate can become' include...

"Create a land use pattern which significantly enhances the profile and environment of the area...Build on the diversity of the area's historic waterfront and urban environment including imposing railway viaduct, to create places which are lasting and memorable and where people want to live, work, invest and visit...Promote a well-conceived movement pattern and structure, urban in scale and of exceptional design quality, with flexibility to change over time."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Just a Thought... wrote
at 16:00:51 on 08 June 2011
Isn't a local knight of the realm on the board of development regarding this area? I am of course referring to Sir Richard Leese, leader of Mcr Council? If so, and if residents of our sister city are so against these towerblocks - Why hasn't he been vocal about it? - Answers on a post please!!!!
 
Lennard Sands wrote
at 16:00:14 on 08 June 2011
The unhealthy relationship between the council and big business chums , developers , architects and planners should be thoroughly investigated .
 
Ickle wrote
at 15:34:28 on 06 June 2011
Just as comment to Mary Ferrer: I can vouch for the fact the no, there is no money for coffee!!!
 
jim devine wrote
at 15:34:06 on 06 June 2011
When I now think of Salford Council my mind jumps to a four letter word....FIFA.
 
I B Wilson wrote
at 15:32:02 on 06 June 2011
The betrayal of the Salford people just continues .
 
Mike Skeff wrote
at 15:31:39 on 06 June 2011
Say goodbye to another piece of Salford's history. Greengate and the Victoria end of Chapel St are the oldest part of the original Salford, but alas, it is doomed. The shortsightedness and quite frankly the lies told by the council come as no surprise to us anymore, but they were voted in again. People are furious about what is happening to Salford, but while this council is in power they will continue to deceive and carry on regardless of the wishes of the people of Salford. Let me make one last comment: these grossly overpaid, less than honest council members, planners and architects don't always know best, they just think they do.
 
Steve wrote
at 21:18:23 on 29 May 2011
The developer is a donor to the Labour Party. The developer's Chairman is a Labour supporter. The developer's investors donate to the Labour Party. A Labour Council gives them loads of tax-payers' money to build utter shit. Anyone spotting a pattern here? I leave you to draw your own conclusions about whether this is a corrupt scheme to recycle money from tax payers' to the Labour party.
 
Heaton Parkincake wrote
at 21:18:17 on 29 May 2011
I hope your article brings this issue further and allows SCC to review this somewhat foolish proposal. Thanks for quoting me. In hindsight I was a tad angry that day and I'd like to retract any suggestion on my part that any Salford employee owes their job because they are related to any elected member. And I would be grateful if it could be culled from the article as it distracts from the essence of the story. Nevertheless this is a crap plan that hopefully is sharply rejected.
 
mary ferrer wrote
at 07:12:17 on 29 May 2011
I like the comment from Ms Spicer "the council will be taking the risk in a lot more private profit making schemes" Now I am worried, our council don't have a good track record of making a profit. They buy the Langworthy hotel board it up for years now they are knocking it down at a cost to us.they hold events ie Proms,Ice rink and each year they run at a BIG loss. They get a loan to build community stadium and the only way they get the money back is if the retail part takes off. look around at the retail parks they all have closed units, why will this one take off. I wonder how much gets passes under PART TWO. Come on CALL IN now that is a laugh. Give the poor sods the chance to challenge OUR decisions and we will still pass it anyway at Full council down at the funny farm.The people of Salford have and are being taken for a load of fools and it will go on and on till one day the voter wakes up and smells the bloody coffee (if there is any money left to buy it that is)
 
Harry Toon wrote
at 07:11:13 on 29 May 2011
Something seriously very wrong in all this ...
 
D Clemo wrote
at 07:11:05 on 29 May 2011
These idiots should be working for FIFA .
 
Izzy Wilson wrote
at 22:06:56 on 28 May 2011
NO WONDER THESE PATHETIC CLOWNS HOLD MEETINGS IN SECRET .
 
Brian Francis Kirkham wrote
at 16:59:34 on 28 May 2011
Having read the article, A few questions for our council chums to consider. Point 1 - Peel and their partners are getting loads of council taxpayers money and supposedly giving local people opportunity with these grand schemes. Is there any valuable info from Mr Whittakers company who they are taking on? Point 2 - given that The Mediacity project hasn't been completed yet (I'm still seeing orange jackets in that area) shouldn't we finish something before applying for planning :) (Actually, scratch that - despite the fanfare its Typical powers that be...it wont go to planning, it'll be passed by the executive because of 'private' deals, meaning peel can plant what they like on the land whatever the objection!) Point 3 - apart from the apparent business rates, what are we the humble council tax payers getting out of this ? (Apart from the sight of two monstrosities on the way the 'regional centre'???) If Messrs Kingston or Pivaro wish to put these points to the powers that be - feel free, (I'll just wait for hell to freeze over while you wait for an accurate and proper response)
 
Nachtsclepper wrote
at 08:31:40 on 28 May 2011
Just when you thought the brains trust down at the funhouse couldn't cock up any further they come up with this. I don't really care about how these buildings look, the whole city is a mess & another heap wont make much difference. It would be funny if it was not such a serious matter. Cuts here & cuts there yet a private company can benefit from the ordinary people of Salford. I just wonder how much council tax payers money was 'invested' in the bookies last year.
 
Bob Flowers wrote
at 08:31:22 on 28 May 2011
THE BETRAYAL OF THE SALFORD PEOPLE BY THIS LUNATIC COUNCIL IS BOUNDLESS .NO WONDER COUNCIL TAX IS SO OBSCENELY HIGH IN THIS DREADFUL LIVING -HELL CITY , WITH WASTE AND SQUANDER LIKE THIS .
 
rita wrote
at 08:30:53 on 28 May 2011
This comes as no surprise to me...but what does suprise me is on the 5th may the good people of salford once again voted for these councillors again!!! when will they learn???
 
Merry and Warmisham wrote
at 20:49:12 on 27 May 2011
Merry and Warmisham would be good names for the blocks. Big,chunky,no style and F-ck ugly. I wonder why Merry thinks we need to plan for recovery? Surely the Condems have not undone all the good work of 13 years of the New Labour government and generations of the Labour council? Stop spouting sh-t and admit your "Wegeneration" has failed for the people of Salford and has only been any good for your "businesss partners"
 
Fadge wrote
at 18:28:03 on 27 May 2011
Who woke Scary Spicer up ?
 
ant wrote
at 15:50:25 on 27 May 2011
Well there it is in black and white.T the real reason behind the chapel st fiasco. Traffic calming? more like provoking roag rage. Workers being late for work, teachers late,stuck in hot sweaty traffic even on a sunday, kids late for school.So were gonna get a load of shops bars and restaurants on chapel st. what for, peoplel are losing jobs, pubs, bars,restaurant, and shops are closing daily. John Merry stop fiddling whilst Rome burns.
 
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