FEED THE RICH AWARD
Yes, this is always one of the most hotly contested awards in the gong calendar with a host of dodgy developers being nominated to receive the coveted Salford Star Mary Burns Feed The Rich Award. Last year there were two winners – Peel Holdings, for its £6million dodge at Media City, and Scarborough Developments for its £6million fee avoidance at Middlewood Locks (see here and see here).
This year we have a very special home grown odds-on winner in Fred Done, who does so much for the community...even the much publicised, free advertising loaded, charity pie selling at Salford City FC while the BBC cameras were there. A lovely gesture, we're sure you'll all agree.
What Mr Betfred doesn't publicise much is that he and his brother, Peter Done, are, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, the sixth richest people in the North West, with an estimated total wealth of around £950million, a hoard that has risen by £50million over the last year.
The Done bros not only own the Betfred bookie chain but have an empire that spans insurance, sports promotion, a restaurant and a property company called FICM Ltd which is behind plans to build two horrendous 16 and 12 storey blocks housing 380 flats next to the old Black Friar pub in Trinity.
At a Salford Council planning meeting in March this year, FICM stated that it just couldn't afford to pay Salford Council £1,283,970 in planning fees for the development; nor could it afford to provide 76 affordable housing units – because if it did, its profits wouldn't be high enough. Indeed, it couldn't even afford to fund two new bus stops on Blackfriars Road, requested by Transport for Greater Manchester, it stated as the violins wailed and the hankies came out (see here).
Salford Council sobbed along and let the company avoid the planning fees and obligations, with a clawback arrangement so that if profits did mushroom the Dones could pay a few pence back. But the Dones weren't finished there...
With their little Salford caps in hand FICM Ltd went to the Greater Manchester Housing Fund, and got a cheap £17.312million loan towards the building of the two Blackfriars blocks – underwritten in part by Salford council tax payers (see here)
Yep, the Salford gambling king loves a punt on property, without gambling too much of his own coffers. So, that's £1.2million in avoided planning fees, 76 affordable properties not built and a cheap £17.3million loan. A hat-trick heaven for the Dones!
So, ladies and gentlemen, empty your wallets, bet your bottom dollar and back yourselves as the losers for the winner of this year's Salford Star Mary Burns Feed The Rich Award...
Mr Fred Done!!!!
If Fred would like to make an acceptance speech please use the comment box below
The ninth annual Salford Star Mary Burns Awards ceremony will run throughout the festive season
2015 Salford Star Mary Burns Awards...
• The `My old man's a dustman and he reckons the change to three week black bin collections is more to do with a dodgy PFI deal than with saving the planet' Award... Salford City Council – click here
*The Welcome to 1984 Award – Salford City Council – click here
* The `Uncle Joe Stalin Award for Open and Democratic Government' – Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart - click here
*Trevi Fountain Award – Salford City Council - click here