Fred and Peter Done's wealth rose by £30million over the last twelve months, to £1.33billion, according to the latest Sunday Times Rich List, making them the 97th richest people in the country (see here)
This wealth, however, hasn't stopped the Salford brothers from getting cheap public money loans and avoiding planning fees to Salford City Council.
In March this year, Fred Done's company, FICM Ltd, was awarded a further cheap loan of £5.2million, on top of £17.3million already loaned by the Greater Manchester Housing Fund. That took the total public money subsidy to £22.5million, to build unaffordable apartments on the corner of Blackfriars Road and Trinity Road (see here).
When the two blocks of 380 apartments originally came up for planning, Salford Council waived £1.28million of planning fees plus the need to provide 76 affordable properties because the development wouldn't be 'viable' if the Dones would have to pay the fees ie that their profit wouldn't be high enough (see here).
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'. This was rejected, with Salford Council planning officers stating; "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".
Now that the blocks are under construction, they are being marketed to Hong Kong investors by 'global real estate enterprise', Colliers International, acting for Fred Done's developer company, Salboy.
Colliers, which invites punters to "Secure your investment portfolio" and "take the next step towards a sound property investment" also markets 'premium properties' in London for investors where nothing costs under £1million.
For the Hong Kong market, the Blackfriars blocks, which boast a concierge service, cinema room, bistro, bar and gym, are being hyped as 'A spectacular development' and 'Local, luxe city living...'. There are no public price tags on the flats.
Before he was elected Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham slated the £300million Greater Manchester Housing Fund, from which the Dones got their cheap loans, promising to 'renegotiate' it...
"There are concerns that the fund has been used to provide loans to large companies, which should have used their own finance instead, and that is too focused on city centre and luxury schemes" Burnham said. (see here)
This was backed up in May this year by Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, who is now also Burnham's Greater Manchester housing lead...
"The beneficiaries of some of what we've been doing in Greater Manchester haven't always been the people of Greater Manchester and I think we have to be honest about that" he said "But moving forward, when we recycle this £300million we can actually use it to meet some of our aspirations around social housing, council housing and truly affordable housing..." (see here)
The Blackfriars blocks are definitely not aimed at the 'people of Greater Manchester' – yet have been backed with £22.5million of public loans, £1.28million of avoided planning fees, and waiving the need to provide 76 affordable properties and two bus stops.
When interviewed about Blackfriars development FICM director, Simon Ismail, got the violin out...
"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" he spluttered "This will be Fred's legacy..."
See also previous related Salford Star articles...
* Fred Done Wins Feed The Rich Award - click here
* Fred Done Honoured for Services to Heritage Destruction - click here
* With thanks to Manchester Shield for passing on the photos