Star date: 5th January 2018


Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 11th annual Salford Star Mary Burns Awards, which are given out to honour the most deserving individuals and organisations in the city for their stupid statements, dodgy dealings and iffy activities over the past twelve months.

The Our Friends In The North Memorial Prize harks back to the brilliant classic drama series about regeneration gone rotten, starring Salford's own Christopher Eccleston; and this year's award goes to Salford City Council for letting developers avoid over £7million in planning fees and the provision of dozens of affordable houses...

Full details here...

Fortis Salford Quays Erie Basin X1 Salford Skills Centre
City Suites Greengate Salford Star Mary Burns Award
click image to enlarge


Goes To...


Ladies and gentlemen, if you've never seen the classic BBC series Our Friends In The North, buy it, borrow it, just find it – the first few episodes almost seem like a transcript of real council meetings. It's all about regeneration gone completely rotten, and stars Salford's own Christopher Eccleston, plus James Bond Daniel Craig and a host of top, top actors in probably the best drama ever to be broadcast.

The Salford Star Mary Burns Awards have honoured Our Friends in The North with a special memorial prize given out to those who have excelled in, er, regeneration gone rotten. And this year's winner has to be Salford City Council for allowing developers to avoid £millions in planning fees and the provision of desperately needed affordable housing.

During 2017 the Salford Star documented £7.358million of planning fees avoided, estimated from official Council tables, taking the total avoided over the last four years or so to almost £50million and the loss of affordable housing to well over one thousand properties (see here).

There are two reasons for the avoidance of fees by developers. The first is via the Tory Government's National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF), which allows developers to make a 'reasonable profit' as part of their costs. The profits can be up to £24million which, when taken into account, make schemes 'not viable' if the full fees have to be paid.

The problem is that these 'viability assessments' are never made public in Salford so are not open to scrutiny, and planning officers appear to just roll over and agree with the figures, while developers cash in. The avoidance of planning fees is now a whole industry, with virtually ever developer in the city crying poverty in their planning applications.

The second reason why developers avoid paying up is Salford Council's own cock-eyed policies, introduced only a few years ago, that saw developments in certain areas in Salford completely free from having to pay fees or provide affordable housing.

In 2016, the Council admitted that it had got it horribly wrong and that "in response to changing levels of viability" it would change its policies – in 2019!!! By which time there won't be a scrap of land left in Salford without planning permission (see here).

So, 2017 saw developers again avoiding payments to the cash-strapped city...

In January 2017, Fortis Developments avoided £1.8million for huge blocks of apartments and houses in Salford Quays (see here). In February, Hampstead Investments avoided almost £445,000 in fees for 92 unaffordable properties at Clifton Business Park (see here); while in March, Glenbrook SQ avoided £804,000 for apartments in Erie Basin; and Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd and Sigma Capital Group avoided £657,000 in Little Hulton for 73 houses (see here).

Meanwhile, in June, X1 Developments avoided £988,000 in fees for 178 apartments and 13 townhouses, on the site of the Salford Skills Centre, while Vermont Property Development avoided £330,000 for 76 units of student accommodation at Irwell House, Frederick Road (see here).

October saw an estimated £452,000 in planning fees avoided by Caspia Management Ltd and Robinsons Brewery for its Brown Cow pub development near Eccles (see here), while, in November, Forshaw Land and Property Group avoided £600,000 in fees for building 219 apartments and 13 'duplexes' in Worrall Street in Ordsall, and Select Property Group avoided £1.18million in payments for its extension to the City Suites block at the back of the Greengate fountains (see here).

Some of these schemes have 'clawback' arrangements whereby if huge profits are made Salford Council can retrieve some of the money – but the Salford Star knows of only one development where this has happened. Many don't even have the 'clawback' clause inserted into planning agreements.

While the above schemes total around £7.3million lost to the cash-strapped city, July also saw Euro Car Parks, which had already avoided over £1million in planning fees for three blocks of apartments on Gore Street, go back to planning to demand a further £100,000 reduction in the fees it did have to pay, plus the removal of its 'clawback' clause (see here).

October saw the controversial English Cities Fund (ECf), which had already avoided around £93,000 in planning fees for its luxury Carpino Place development, actually get paid £175,000 by Salford Council to do 'public realm enhancements' next to its site (see here). And December saw Salford Council launch a consultation on its future 'vision' for Greengate, with boulevards, new parks, blocks of apartments...and not one single word about affordable housing (see here).

So, ladies and gentlemen, pack up your Poulsons, fester on your housing waiting lists and break out your box-sets for the winner of the Our Friends In The North Memorial Prize...

Salford City Council!!!

If someone from Salford Council would like to make an acceptance speech, please use the comments box below...

Winners of 2017 Salford Star Mary Burns Awards...

Feed The Rich Award (part 1) – Fred Done – click here

Disappearing Salford Award – Villafont – click here

Dick Turpin Award For Services to Bridge Hold Ups – Peel Holdings – click here

Carly Simon Award For Vanity – Councillor Derek Antrobus – click here

Feed The Rich Award (part 2) – Conservative Government and the HCA – click here

Corbynista Council of the Year – Salford City Council and Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett – click here

Grenfell Tower Urgency Award – Salford City Council – click here

Uncle Joe Stalin Award for Open and Democratic Government – Salford City Council – click here

Shameful and Unacceptable Practices Award – Greater Manchester Police – click here

Award For Self Destruction – Salford UKIP – click here

Biffo wrote
at 07:48:33 on 10 January 2018
Yesterday I was taking a leisurely cycle ride down the canal bank between Sale and Eccles and I found myself thinking about certain things. Things like how stupid Salford City Council are. I'll give you an example. They want all these new flats in Salford, tens of thousands of them, and they give sweetheart deals to the super rich developers, letting them off with millions of pounds in planning fees, all the while rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of all that council tax coming into the town hall coffers, and council tax coming in from economically viable citizens no less, and this is all well and good, but none of the brains at the Civic Centre seem to have realised that the type of people who spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on a luxury apartment are most definitely not the type of people who vote Labour. And there are thousands and thousands of these new apartments, and the tenants, by and large will not be voting for the Labour Party. So there you have it, in about ten years time there will no longer be a Labour run council in Salford. They are like turkeys voting for Christmas and their foolish endeavours are actually speeding up their own political downfall. They are so penny wise and pound foolish. One last thing. Viva Michael James Felse! Only he can save us!!!
at 07:46:02 on 10 January 2018
Felsey must be the most hated man in the country by Labour. It is disgusting how they keep bashing him with hate and abuse. We need ia game changer. Is this cash back visionary the one?
Rayofsunshine wrote
at 17:00:21 on 09 January 2018
Toby. Fact:False is a far right groupie. Fact: Felsè has In the past,I.e, during tbe EU Refeŕendum Campaign,maďe inflamatory and hate filled statements about migrants. Fact:Felse is only interested in running for top political posts, GM Mayor òr MP. When UKIP failed to select him for GM Mayor , Felse suddenly became a tory! Fact: Felse is an attention seeking egotist!
at 05:54:11 on 09 January 2018
Does this sound like anybody we know? Talking about "OUR" (Subtitute Doncaster for Salford). "Go and see your local councillors and ask their kind help. I met some councillors during this mayoral election and can say they really do. care about our Doncaster. Doncaster borough belongs to you and to your family. Protect and enjoy. God bless you. Michael James Felse. (Independent mayoral candidate).
Toby wrote
at 17:58:24 on 08 January 2018
At last the voice of Salford Labour Rayofspunshine confirmed assets are held by Labour socialist Corbanistic Salford council. Tories clapping applause at the profit making socialist council. His further attempt to bin Mr Felse is fake news. As another from Yorkshire I know Felse was a lead in getting a dozen Labour men on Doncaster council sacked. He wrote the Health and Safety at Work Act drafted as the MPs personal secretary. Was founding member of the Racial Harmony Group and he won the Technical college graduate prize before going onto Oxford University. Will RayofSpinshine please check facts before spouting fake news. As each post goes by it seems Salford Labour is running afraid.
Rayofsunshine wrote
at 15:24:47 on 08 January 2018
Janice, Michael False is a fantasist,charlatan and far right provocateur to boot! You may not know this but he was a Labour Councillor in Doncaster -- he totally tanked in office. When called to account, he ratted on Labour and moved to The English Democrats, a far right cesspit. His proposal to liquidate Salford's Airport Holdings is nothing but out and out asset stripping!
at 11:42:04 on 08 January 2018
Harvey Milk was a great politician and superb film. Is there any book on Felsian Politics? It sounds an interesting read bringing hope and ideas into creating a much needed change. Milk was attacked but kept on going. Likewise it took determined spunk.
Labour Voice wrote
at 07:56:58 on 08 January 2018
Felse must be stopped. He would destroy your caring council. He would plunder all our assets. He is a vindictive parasite. Better to trust your Labour Councillors' standing successful record. Salford heritage is put into real danger if you back the Tories' mad Felse.
Janice wrote
at 21:17:28 on 07 January 2018
Is it only Ray who does not get it. Free money is our money we pay all Salford Council bills which means the things it owns are ours. I want my share back. I realise if Mr Felse had been made our Mayor instead of Stewert our Council Tax would be below £500 a year. Cheapest in England. Well he can't do any worse than the current shower of Councillors can he. Who made you the voice of Salford Mr Ray. Do one.
Biffo wrote
at 21:17:12 on 07 January 2018
Rayofsunshine, Why do you feel the need to constantly belittle Michael Felse? You say, in yet another of your Anti Felsian comments that he, Mr Felse is making promises that he can't keep, and thus, in effect, offering false hope; or as some Pseudo Wits would undoubtedly quip, Felse Hope. The thing is, we will never know whether this is the case as Michael has not obtained any political power. Yet. Maybe if he does, he will make things better. I personally would vote for him. I see him as a potential cross between New York City's legendary Mayor La Guardia, and San Francisco's Harvey Milk. What are the alternatives currently out there in Greater Salford? Labour, and I have my suspicions that you are Labour, have shown themselves time and again to be useless. They are both inept, and distant from their people, this is why their vote is disapearing faster than an endangered bird. Labour have become unfit for purpose. They have no principles any more, they instead are now in the pockets of the very people who view them with nothing but contempt, i.e, the developers and big business. Local Labour, especially local Labour who view themselves as being hard left or so called Corbynista, should be filleting these mega rich developers and business men, instead they are fellating them. To add insult to injury, Local Labour even swallow. It is disgraceful. Salford City Labour Council are a disgrace, and have only themselves to blame for the low turnouts and voter apathy that reign supreme in this English City that is run more like a Banana Republic in some corrupt Third World Latin American nation.
Rayofsunshine wrote
at 13:42:41 on 07 January 2018
Michael,it is very much the case that a leopard cañt change its spots - by promising free money to Salford Citizens you are perpetuating your dishonest and cynical brand of politics.
George ex Labour wrote
at 12:18:50 on 07 January 2018
When Wirmashame goes head to head with Marxist Felsey in Langworthy this May the Labour loyalty will be tested. I was a Labour member but no longer. Everyone is rejecting them. The membership stands at an all time low. Average age is 76.
at 10:17:49 on 07 January 2018
It is true. Penetration Damp spores are more dangerous than ya smoking according to google search, what is Salford Council not telling residents about health risk linked to cladding part removal. Hate to say it but Felsey is right about claiming compensation in this latest bomb shell. Could bankrupt Salford Council you know. Will Councillors get surcharged for the millions this is gunna cost.
no democarcy wrote
at 10:17:31 on 07 January 2018
@bob @felse, people are not voting for libour in Salford anymore, the people have rejected the whole political swap in Salford, oh by 93%. No trust, no respected, it's not about changing a few crooked councilors anymore, its full rejection of their system.
at 10:17:18 on 07 January 2018
Broughton,Irlam and Ordsall also has rising damp and black spore water heath problems. Has Felsey discovered why the death rate in Salford is higher than national or manchester's average. I hear the Salford Quays and Labrador Quays are getting these damp black spores. Is it Salford contaminated waterways or rising water table. Will Fracking make it all the more worse for Salford's doomed death rate.
Bob wrote
at 07:01:58 on 07 January 2018
Remember you the Voting public keep voting these same councillors in time and time again. when will you have the courage to vote for somebody different. Some councillors have been in over twenty years. time for a drastic change NOW.
Michael James Felse wrote
at 07:01:49 on 07 January 2018
RayofS be sure I have never wanted austerity. My last stand in Salford Mayoral had me ready to cut Salford Council Tax by 50% to advance the interests of Salford Citizens. My fight continues to get the best deal for all Salford. City Independence from Greater Manchester is the best way to future protect against austerity as it allows us to liquidate the shares and assets our money bought but would now be better put back into all our pockets. What home does not prefer £thousands of cash back than have their Council sit on the Manchester Airport shares and bank locked assets?
biffo wrote
at 15:57:15 on 06 January 2018
It should be Our Friends In The East, as most of the money will be coming from China. Twenty years from now, if you're a Red's fan you'll be going to Old Trafford to watch Manchina United, and your prawn sandwich'll probably cost twenty quid. By then we'll all be living in Greater Manchina and life'll be sweet, really sweet. If you're a member of the Peoples Republic of China Communist Party, and are connected with some Chinese trillionaire who's gobbling up the world's resources with his bundles of yen. Yes, life will be sweet, living in Greater Manchuria with the likes of Comrades Dennett and Burnham doing their aparatchik best to be good puppets of the future....
Rayofsunshine wrote
at 15:57:12 on 06 January 2018
So, is Tory Boy,Felse,now against austerity ? Wonder s never cease!
Michael James Felse wrote
at 15:57:04 on 06 January 2018
Alice thank you for your comment. I feel the need to point out a further problem with the removed cladding that leaves properties at risk of penetrating damp. Google and read the health dangers associated with damp and damp spores and mildew caused by penetrating damp. I must urge all High Rise dwellers at risk to bring this to their local Councillors attention in writing and copy to their housing association management. Also any other homes in a similar risk of black spot mould can complain. If it affects your health then someone is to blame. Where there is a blame there is a time to complain. Please do not risk your family or your health.
Alice wrote
at 08:42:22 on 06 January 2018
When will some national paper pick up this scandel and shame the Salford Council? The fact that the need for affordable houses has been ignored is a disgrace and the lack of planting fees insults Salford rate payers who watch these plans being put into being. On top of this social mismanagement there is another issue. High rise blocks are NOT architecturally attractive, have been proved to be socially damaging for heathy living and are potentially less safe. We have just witnessed the death of over 70 people in a high rise block. The Salford Star 'Mary Burns Awards' are a cynical attempt to draw attention to some of the decisions made by people with power in the Salford area. Why don't these people defend their behaviour?
Michael James Felse wrote
at 08:42:17 on 06 January 2018
I think the Awards bring home the need for us to draw a line at the past and work together for a better Salford for all. I appreciate the better side of local Councillors who have tried to serve in the face of austerity. It is a thankless job but I thank them and urge our Mayor Dennett to bring all activists together. North and South Korea shows it can be done, let us make 2018 the year to put all Salford citizens first.
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@Wrote,when determining whether cladding was safe or not,the crucial test would be whetheŕ the work done was FULLY compĺ... [more]
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Star date: 18th November 2018


The National Theatre is bringing its award winning play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, to five Salford secondary schools this week, which will be accompanied by a learning programme and Q&A with the cast and creative team.

The play will be shown at Harrop Fold, All Hallows, Oasis Academy, St Ambrose Barlow and Moorside.

Full details here...


Star date: 18th November 2018


From Thursday 22nd November until 6th January, there's going to be a free Walking with The Snowman sculpture trail at Media City, featuring twelve giant sculptures inspired by the song The Twelve Days of Christmas.

There'll also be a collection of smaller snowman sculptures, designed by local young people, displayed inside venues. The event celebrates the 40th anniversary of Raymond Briggs' book The Snowman, and there'll be an auction of the sculptures for Children In Need.

Full details here...


Star date: 18th November 2018


The Walkden In A Winter Wonderland Christmas events programme kicks off on Saturday 24th November, with performances from Harrop Fold School, AK Theatre Arts and many others, free children's events, a thirty stall pop-up market, Santa and lots more.

Full details here...


Star date: 17th November 2018


Young Once
Saturday 24th November
The Greyhound, Boothstown free

From Dirty Old Town to Ed Sheeran songs, Young Once do great covers, original tunes and jokes, as Ian Leslie discovers.

Full details here...


Star date: 16th November 2018


In a new City West Housing report for Salford City Council, it is revealed that, in Salford, the percentage of tenants on Universal Credit and in rent arrears is over double that for tenants who are not on Universal Credit. The figure is 78% compared to 37%.

City West currently has 1109 tenants claiming Universal Credit, and the company states that "The overall rent collection rate for these tenants for 18/19 is 93.05%, which is significantly lower than our collection rate for all tenants." It's yet another shocking indictment of the controversial benefit system.

Full details here...


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