Yet again, Salford Council is set to waive £millions worth of fees and obligations for affordable housing at its planning panel meeting next week, if councillors approve proposals for hundreds of flats and houses in Walkden and Ordsall.
On Woden Street, by the riverside in Ordsall, Villafont Ltd and Simandhar Swami LLP are aiming to build 372 apartments, plus a resident's gym, cafe, shops and offices in eight blocks up to fifteen storeys high.
The flats are all for the Private Rental Sector (PRS) and, if Salford Council policy was followed, 20% of them, or 75 properties, would have to be set aside for affordable housing. Instead, following a report which stated the scheme wouldn't be `viable' if the developers had to provide these, the condition is set to be dropped – with the now-usual claw back arrangement for the money if the `viability' of the development improves in the future.
If a scheme isn't `viable' it means that the developer's profit isn't high enough.
The Ordsall developers should also be paying a total of £1,221,278 in planning obligations (Open Space: £648,718, Public Realm, Infrastructure and Heritage
£572,560) but again these payments are set to be waived due to `viability' issues and the fact that the scheme will include some work on the riverside footpath, although not to the size `envisaged in the guidance'.
Meanwhile, in Walkden, Countryside Properties - which has already avoided £1.5million in planning fees in Broughton - is set to avoid a further £467,670 worth of payments.
Countryside wants to build 181 two, three and four bedroom houses on Linnyshaw Industrial Estate around Manchester Road and Moss Lane, despite residents' complaints about the impact of traffic.
Countryside should be paying £1,167,670 (Open Space: £463,450; Public Realm, infrastructure and heritage: £271,500 and Education: £432,720.75) – but has offered to cough up just £700,000 (£428,041.46 towards the expansion of St Paul's CofE Primary and £271,958.54 towards a cycle path between Walkden and Windmill Road) due, yet again, to `viability' issues.
Countryside should also be setting aside 20% of its development, or 36 properties, for affordable housing but this condition is also being waived, with a claw back arrangement in place should the developer hit maximum profits on the scheme.
Both applications are set to be discussed at Salford Council's planning panel next with recommendations to approve...
• See also previous Salford Star articles...
Salford Council refuses to reveal planning viability figures - click here
Public Scandal as community robbed to line developers' pockets - click here
Graphic by Steven Speed