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NINE YEAR WAITING LIST FOR SALFORD AFFORDABLE ONE BED FLATS
 

Star date: 21st July 2016

WHILE BEDROOM TAX VICTIMS SUFFER, THERE'S LOADS OF FLATS FOR THE RICH

Salford City Council has revealed that there is an 8.7 year `queue' on its social housing register for a one bedroom flat, with demand rocketing "in the light of the Bedroom Tax".

Meanwhile, the number of unaffordable one bedroom flats in the city has been mushrooming, with Salford planning councillors, Antrobus and Mashiter, partying recently at CitySuites' 17 storey Greengate tower containing 244 `luxury' apartments. CitySuites avoided almost £500,000 in planning fees and the provision of affordable properties.

Full details here…


In the recent Salford Council report which confirmed the demolition of 149 affordable homes on the High Street estate near Salford Precinct, with a further 152 to follow, it added that Fitzwarren Court was being saved from the bulldozers.

The reason given was that Fitzwarren Court contained 45 one bedroom flats, which would help cope with the rocketing demand from people desperately trying to downsize as a result of the Bedroom Tax (see previous Salford Star article for full details – click here).

The report stated: "The introduction of the Welfare Reform Bill has seen changes to the demand for one bedroom housing in the light of the Bedroom Tax…

"When analysing the supply of existing affordable rented stock against demand, the Salford Local Authority Housing Statistical returns show that if the housing register was purely a queue, waiting times for a one bedroom property to be 8.7 years, compared to 3.2 for a two bedroom accommodation" it added "Pendleton Together and Salix Homes have also identified increased demand for its one bedroom stock in Pendleton…"

Indeed, Pendleton comes under the Langworthy ward, which has 800 residents, the highest number in the city, hit by the Bedroom Tax. Meanwhile, before Salford changed its housing allocations policy in March this year (which effectively kicked thousands off the register) there were over 14,000 people on the Council waiting list.

All this while the city has experienced its biggest property building boom in a generation. The Salford Star recently documented how a woman in Ordsall, desperately trying to downsize as a result of the Bedroom Tax, was told there were no available social rent properties – while blocks of luxury apartments were being erected all around her (see previous article – click here).

The Star has also charted how developers have avoided and evaded the provision of over 1,000 affordable properties - which formerly was a compulsory requirement of Section 106 agreements – by claiming that their projects would not be `viable' if they had to comply ie that the massive profits they are allowed to write off as costs wouldn't be big enough.

Through using Salford Council official figures, the Salford Star has calculated that developers and speculators have avoided and evaded over £42million in planning fees and obligations in the last two years alongside the non-provision of affordable homes (see previous article – click here).

One of the companies highlighted was Select Properties and its CitySuites development in Greengate - a 17 storey tower containing 244 one and two bedroom `luxury' serviced apartments in Greengate, aimed, the company states, "at young professionals, executives and business people".

At the time of the Salford Council meeting which gave Select planning permission for the `young professionals' tower, the developer avoided paying £476,781 of the £826,781 total it should have been handing to the city, and provided no affordable properties, due to the viability get-out clause…

"The reasonable developer return…is not currently delivered by this development" stated Council officers in their report to the planning panel, of which Councillor Ray Mashiter is Chair, and Councillor Derek Antrobus is Lead Member.

Both were partying at CitySuites recently, in a `topping out' ceremony for the block of `first class' unaffordable `luxury' apartments. A press release put out this week by the company also quotes Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, who says "The scheme contributes to the continuing regeneration of Greengate …where new residential, commercial and leisure developments are converging to create an exciting new city centre neighbourhood."

Unfortunately the `exciting new neighbourhood' will exclude Salford's most needy residents, who will be celebrating, no doubt, the saving of 45 one bedroom affordable flats at Fitzwarren Court…


* See also previous Salford Star article: Film reveals image obsessed Council while community chokes - click here

Alice wrote
at 12:27:59 AM on Friday, July 22, 2016
I have just got home from the East Salford Cummunity Committee. We were addressed by an officer from Planning and another responsible for private landlords. When asked about the failure to get 106 money and planning fees from developers we were told that new rented property would not release a profit for a number of years and then a claw back amount would be received. This was then to be used for affordable houses. I want to know why the affordable houses couldn't be built immediately. It seems these new apartments are for the young professionals who can pay a higher rent therefore more profitable. The more needed with less money can wait. This seems like social engineering to me. It was also stated that Salford is the most transparent council on Planning matters. In fact one of the most transparent in the country. Interesting claim so more questions can be asked and we will be told everything truthfully!
 
N Mucklow wrote
at 12:40:15 PM on Thursday, July 21, 2016
This is becoming increasingly regular when local government officials seemingly put the interests of themselves first in the favour of urban regeneration, whilst it's the local residents who inevitably suffer.
 
Alan wrote
at 12:39:46 PM on Thursday, July 21, 2016
The Bedroom Tax issue proves the uncaring Conservative party and their lack of hindsight into such a devastating policy. The Salford Labour Council and Sailix Homes are equally to blame for evicting people who can't pay it. A lack of smaller properties, the need to have to bid and, not to mention, be successful in securing one, shows how unfairly those deemed with too many spare bedrooms are being punished. How can they - whether Salford Council or Salix Homes - charge people for extra rooms when there isn't much hope of finding a smaller house or flat? It is like having your dole money stopped because you didn't apply for that job that wasn't really there.
 
shirley jones wrote
at 12:39:19 PM on Thursday, July 21, 2016
Absolutely shocking, but not surprising! The phrase 'Let them eat cake...' springs to mind.... whilst they hob nob with the wealthy developers & scoff canapes & bubbly perhaps! Salford Labour are so out of touch with the majority of the citizens of Salford it's unbelievable! They no longer seem to identify with the core values of the Labour party. They don't seem to understand the basic concept of what affordable housing is all about. Salford Labour Councillors do a better job of upholding Tory values in our city than the Conservatives do!! Keep on delivering the truth guys! We rely on you for it!
 
Michael James Felse wrote
at 12:39:08 PM on Thursday, July 21, 2016
Salford's no social housing plan must end. Labour has deserted its grass roots. I want an alternative to be a match for match guarantee plan; one social home for each private home built. Labour in Salford shows they favour new private housing with developers not paying into our social support pot. Commercialised communism proves Labour is not worthy. If we care about people we must rid society of the Cancer that is the Labour Party. J Corbyn nor O Smith with save our Salford.
 
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