"This will be Fred's legacy" Director of FICM
Plans are being submitted to this week's planning panel at Salford Council for two massive blocks of private rented apartments sandwiching the listed Black Friars pub in Trinity. The two ugly blocks, 16 and 12 storeys high, will house 380 flats plus commercial space and are being developed by FICM, of which Fred Done's brother, Peter, is a director.
The planning application notes that the company should be providing 20%, or 76, affordable units in the blocks but adds that "the development would not be financially viable if affordable housing was provided on site or off site, or if a commuted sum equal to 20% on site provision was provided...This position is accepted by the City Council".
Done's company should also be paying £1,283,970.35 in Section 106 planning fees and contributions (Open Space £664,874; Public Realm, Infrastructure and Heritage £587,780 and a 2.5% admin charge £31,316.35) – but again this has been waived, in line with virtually every single planning application over the last few years, because of `viability' issues ie that the developer's profit won't be high enough.
Incredibly, these contributions look likely to be avoided, even though no actual figures appear to have been provided to the Council showing that the scheme wouldn't be viable if Done and co had to pay the fees!
Documents going to the planning panel state: "The applicant has not submitted their viability appraisal for the PRS [Private Rental Sector] scheme and therefore has not provided details of their expected minimum profit. For this scenario the District Valuer has adopted a minimum profit of 10% as appropriate, which is in line with other significant PRS schemes in Salford and Manchester.
"The District Valuer has advised that...the requirement for any Section 106 and affordable housing contributions would result in a developer profit significantly less than would be considered as 'industry standard'" it adds "Furthermore, without the provision of any contributions the scheme would still deliver a profit below 'industry standard'. The City Council accepts the District Valuer's advice that the provision of Section 106 and/or affordable housing contributions would render the scheme unviable and therefore cannot be sought in this case."
Given that the developer seems set to be let off with £1.28million in fees plus the provision of 76 affordable properties, Transport for Greater Manchester requested that Done and co at least fund two new bus stops on Blackfriars Road `to improve the public transport accessibility of the site'. Again, Salford Council planning officers have recommended rejection... "due to scheme viability the application is not able to provide any Section 106 financial contributions, therefore the bus stops cannot be funded by this scheme".
The Council has merely inserted a `claw back' agreement stating that should profits be higher than expected the company should pay something back.
When interviewed about the plans for this development last October, FICM director, Simon Ismail, said: "Trinity is the heart of the original Salford, it is where we are all from and we all feel a sense of responsibility to create something very special that we can be proud of. This will be Fred's legacy."
Fred's legacy looks like being that he wouldn't even pay for a bus stop!
Meanwhile, Salford Council's Assistant Mayor for Planning, Derek Antrobus, when interviewed last Friday about Private Rental Sector developments in Salford, said "A lot of other authorities I talk to are doing their best to stave off developers from their areas. But we see it as our job to make sure the city gets developed."
Salford residents might well be asking `At what price?'
See also previous related Salford Star articles
* 50% of Salford People Can't Even Afford A Low Cost House and 30% Can't Afford to Rent Privately - click here
* Salford Council Waives £1.5m Planning fees for Countryside Properties - click here
* Salford Planning Mayor's `Immense Public Scandal' - click here
* Salford Council Refuses to Reveal Developer Viability Figures under FOI - click here
* Salford Council Rolls Over for Investors, Speculators and Peel Holdings - click here
* Salford Council Loses £4.4m in Huge Apartments Developments Scandal - click here