Over the last few years the Salford Star has documented in great detail every single planning application passed by Salford City Council where developers have avoided paying planning fees and providing affordable houses.
When developers want to build, they have to make Section 106 payments to mitigate the impacts of their developments and provide a percentage of affordable housing.
But Salford Council has persistently allowed them to avoid these payments, either by its own planning policies based on the 'value' of areas or by rolling over while developers use 'viability assessments' to avoid coughing up.
The Government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) allows developers to make up to 20% profits as part of their costs, and they keep producing 'viability assessments' to show that their profits won't be big enough if they had to pay the planning fees.
There's now a huge industry full of consultants showing developers how to avoid the fees and the Salford Star estimates that over 1,000 affordable properties and over £42million has been lost to the city by developers using these means.
Up and down the country, dozens of petitions have been launched via 38 Degrees to 'Require developers to make their viability assessments public if they claim they cannot meet council targets of affordable housing in new developments'.
"Leaked documents from several developers have shown that the maths they use to work out their profit margins are purposefully misleading, allowing them to claim they will make less than 20% profit on a development by undervaluing the prices of the houses they will sell and over-costing the labour" the petition states.
"To combat this Islington, Greenwich, Lambeth and Bristol councils have introduced a policy that forces developers 'viability assessments' to be made public" it adds "By bringing these dodgy maths into the public domain, councils, campaigning groups and individuals will be able to hold developers to account and force them to use more honest maths."
While the petitions have been signed by almost 40,000 people nationally, Salford itself didn't have one – so we've launched one and urge everyone to sign...
Make Developers Be Transparent In Salford – sign the petition – click here
See these Salford Star articles to read how Salford Council cocked it all up:
See also: Salford property 'gold rush' sees only two affordable properties out of 751 in new Ordsall planning applications - click here