HOME   ARCHIVE   GALLERY   SHOP   ABOUT US      
 

 
UNDER FREEDOM OF INFORMATION SALFORD CITY COUNCIL FINALLY RELEASES VIABILITY ASSESSMENT – WITH EVERYTHING REDACTED!
 

Star date: 11th January 2018

AFTER MONTHS OF WAITING, BROWN COW PUB VIABILITY RELEASED – WITH EVERYTHING BLANK!

After waiting months for a response to a Freedom of Information request to see the full viability assessment for the Brown Cow pub development, Salford Council finally released the documents today – with 99.9% of information blanked out!

The Salford Star originally estimated that developers, Caspia Management Ltd and Robinsons Brewery, had avoided £100,000s in planning fees through the loophole that their profits wouldn't be big enough if they had to cough up. The Star wanted some transparency in the process...er...

Full details here...


Brown Cow pub Salford viability assessment Brown Cow pub Salford viability assessment Brown Cow pub Salford
click image to enlarge

"You will notice that substantial redactions have been made to the documents..."


Back in October, the Salford Star revealed that Caspia Management Ltd and Robinsons Brewery had avoided £100,000s in planning payments for their development of the Brown Cow pub on Worsley Road.

The developers submitted a planning application to build 21 flats and 28 houses on the site but the Council agreed that they should only pay £185,000, instead of an estimated £277,000 for Open Space, Public Realm and Education mitigation, plus a conservative £360,000 for 20% affordable housing (see here).

A few days later, the Star reported that Portsmouth City Council was forcing developers to publicly reveal the 'viability assessments' that are used to avoid or evade planning fees... "We want to stop developers that are out to deceive people" said Portsmouth Councillor Steve Pitt (see here).

'Viability assessments' are documents that show costs taken from allowed rates of profit (up to 20%) and usually end up 'proving' that if the developer has to pay the full amount of planning fees, or provide the full amount of affordable housing, their profits won't be big enough.

Salford Council inevitably rolls over and usually either reduces the fees or cancels them altogether, sometimes inserting a 'clawback' clause whereby if profits are huge the city can get some money back.

With Portsmouth, in line with some other boroughs, attempting to force these viability assessments into the open, we thought we'd try to get the Brown Cow assessment under Freedom of Information.

The Salford Star had requested viability assessments for other sites previously but had always been turned down under the guise of 'commercial confidentiality' and, strangely, the 'public interest' (see here).

Today, after ten weeks (it's supposed to be twenty days) Salford City Council finally responded, sending the full viability report – all 22 pages of itwith every single figure, from the percentage of developer profit to costs and payments, redacted under huge blocks of black ink.

The only figures on show in the whole document were a £306,357 Section 106 contribution figure requested for Open Space and Education, with nothing about Public Realm or affordable housing; and an actual Section 106 figure of £195,000, plus a Section 278 payment of £12,000 (by the time it got to planning, the figure was £185,000).

Even without the Public Realm and affordable housing payments this still leaves a loss to the city of £199,357 – although how the developer got off with this payment is anyone's guess because all the figures are blanked out!

In the Freedom of information response to the Salford Star the Council wrote, without any hint of irony, "You will notice that substantial redactions have been made to the documents..."

It adds that disclosure would "adversely affect the economic interests of both the council and the developer".

The Council then, incredibly states that "Disclosure of this information would also damage the council's economic interests. Developers may be reluctant to develop in Salford if there is a very real risk that their critical commercial information may be disclosed and accessible to competitors.

"This would have very damaging financial and social impacts" it adds "for example the loss of section 106 monies, insufficient new housing, social housing and affordable housing to meet the needs of a growing population..."

You what? The whole point of making viability assessments public is to stop 'the loss of section 106 monies, insufficient new housing, social housing and affordable housing to meet the needs of a growing population...'!

The Salford Star estimates that almost £50million and over one thousand affordable houses have been lost to the city through developers avoiding planning fees via these assessments. There's now a whole industry of consultants helping developers avoid fees, and virtually every single developer in Salford gets their violins out at planning meetings pleading poverty...

And until these viability assessments are made public there's no way of knowing whether there's anything dodgy going on...


* The Brown Cow pub is currently being demolished to make way for the new development

down but not out wrote
at 1:50:39 AM on Sunday, January 14, 2018
So how can this be freedom of information if most of it is redacted? what does .?!~~ mean?. They have done exactly the same with a report I asked for when I asked for an independent report. So what is the point. Is this not against the law, would this stand in Court????
 
Caroline Gray wrote
at 2:27:20 AM on Saturday, January 13, 2018
It would fit they wont to build lots of high tower flats..b.b.c...i.t.v..???????????
 
Please enter your comment below:
 
 
 
Salford Star Hoodies
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
advertisement
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: PEEL HOLDINGS SALFORD BUILDING SQUATTED BY HOMELESS
Squats conjure up all sorts of images in peoples minds and generally people tend to think of them as scruffy, needle ridden and fi... [more]
article: SALFORD HOMELESSNESS CONFERENCE EXCLUDES HOMELESS AT OVER £325 PER TICKET
What a two faced shirt front.... [more]
article: SALFORD HOMELESSNESS CONFERENCE EXCLUDES HOMELESS AT OVER £325 PER TICKET
The argument that "service users" need to be at a professional conference about homelessness is ridiculous. Whilst I have sympath... [more]
article: ‘NO COMPASSION’ AS MANCHESTER HOMELESS SQUAT EVICTED
Joe is bang on. If you left your dog outside all night in this crap weather the rspca would prosecute you. And rightly so. The thi... [more]
article: ‘NO COMPASSION’ AS MANCHESTER HOMELESS SQUAT EVICTED
Andy burnham as head of GMP should withdraw police support attendance for evictions immediatly. bernard priests vendetta against ... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

SALFORD HOMELESSNESS CONFERENCE EXCLUDES HOMELESS AT OVER £325 PER TICKET

Star date: 16th January 2018

SALFORD UNIVERSITY CONFERENCE PROMISES 'UNIQUE INSIGHT INTO CAUSES OF HOMELESSNESS' – WITH NO HOMELESS PEOPLE PRESENT

A University of Salford conference which promises to "provide unique insights into the underlying causes and potential solutions to the homelessness crisis" is charging £325+VAT per ticket, thus excluding not only the homeless but also grass roots housing organisations.

One of the speakers is Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, while a panel will ask 'How can we most effectively improve services to vulnerable homeless households and individuals?'...without any 'vulnerable homeless' people there to share their views.

Full details here...

‘NO COMPASSION’ AS MANCHESTER HOMELESS SQUAT EVICTED

Star date: 16th January 2018

BETFRED SQUAT EVICTED AS 17 HOMELESS PEOPLE BACK ON STREETS

Yesterday's early morning eviction of a squat above the BefFred shop opposite Manchester Town Hall has been roundly condemned by housing campaigners, as 17 homeless people were put back on the streets.

Greater Manchester Housing Action stated "shame on whoever it was that made the decision to evict"; while Angela Barratt, of Salford Manchester Street Support, who was volunteering at the squat's night shelter as the eviction happened, told the Salford Star that "There was just no compassion..."

Full details here...

PEEL HOLDINGS SALFORD BUILDING SQUATTED BY HOMELESS

Star date: 15th January 2018

PEEL OFFICES IN ECCLES SQUATTED

As the Manchester squat above BetFred in the city centre was evicted this morning, homeless people in Salford have occupied an office building owned by Peel Holdings near Eccles.

Peel recently received a cheap public money loan of over £8million for its Lightbox apartments in MediaCityUK, where flats cost up to £400,000... "This was our only option" says John who has been homeless for almost five years.

Full details here...

80 YEAR OLD SALFORD PERSON WANTED TO PLANT 80TH ANNIVERSARY TREE IN BUILE HILL PARK

Star date: 14th January 2018

BUILE HILL PARK CELEBRATES 80TH ANNIVERSARY

This month, it's the 80th anniversary of Buile Hill Park since it was inaugurated at its present size. And to celebrate this oak anniversary, the Friends of Buile Hill Park are looking for an 80 year old Salford person, preferably born in January 1938, to help plant a tree.

The Friends are also searching for any living relatives of John Thomas Harrison, who was Chairman of the Parks Committee in 1938.

Full details here...

THOMAS PAINE TO BE CELEBRATED AT SALFORD WORKING CLASS MOVEMENT LIBRARY

Star date: 14th January 2018

A PAINE IN THE DEMOCRACY FARCE

Celebrating Thomas Paine
Saturday 27th January 1pm free
Working Class Movement Library

The Mary Quaile Club and the Working Class Movement Library are to hold a celebration of legendary Brit radical Thomas Paine, whose ideas on democracy and more still hold major relevance two hundred years on. Top tv and film writer Trevor Griffiths will be one of the speakers.

Full details here...

 



written and produced by Salfordians for Salfordians
with attitude and love xxx