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 it with 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 07:50:39 on 14 January 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 08:27:20 on 13 January 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: DEMOLITION TEAM MOVES IN ON SALFORD DIRTY OLD TOWN GASWORKS
No Comment. Rossi's comments are not worth it.... [more]
article: COMMUNITY HAMMERS SALFORD CITY COUNCIL OVER BUILE HILL PARK HOUSING PROPOSALS
This building has tremendous potential. Why is Salford's Registry office not housed in this building rather than at the institutio... [more]
article: DEMOLITION TEAM MOVES IN ON SALFORD DIRTY OLD TOWN GASWORKS
What does it matter, so what if a defunct old gasworks is being bulldozed? Does anybody really care? Is this really heritage tha... [more]
article: COMMUNITY HAMMERS SALFORD CITY COUNCIL OVER BUILE HILL PARK HOUSING PROPOSALS
So, Mary, we can suŕmise because f our reference to Salford Ŕeds,RHS Garďen,et, you have no solid means to fn... [more]
article: COMMUNITY HAMMERS SALFORD CITY COUNCIL OVER BUILE HILL PARK HOUSING PROPOSALS
Rayofbullshit, why dont you just f**k off, all you contrabute is negativity, nothing positive. Id rather have one mary ferrer, t... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

DEMOLITION TEAM MOVES IN ON SALFORD DIRTY OLD TOWN GASWORKS

Star date: 25th May 2018

MORE HERITAGE TO DISAPPEAR AS EWAN MACCOLL GASWORKS DEMOLITION BEGINS

A demolition team has moved onto the site of Salford's iconic gasworks on Liverpool Street, made world famous by Ewan MacColl's Dirty Old Town anthem.

Ewan MacColl's wife and songwriting partner, Peggy Seeger, slated the 'land grabbing' move and proposed an alternative use that could be "somewhere unlike anywhere in the world" when news first broke of the demolition last year. This has been ignored  and now another slice of Salford's dwindling heritage is set to disappear...

Full details here...

SALFORD CITY COUNCIL SACKS URBAN VISION

Star date: 24th May 2018

SALFORD COUNCIL ENDS CONTROVERSIAL URBAN VISION CONTRACT

Salford Council is to end its controversial contract with joint venture company Urban Vision, after years of accusations that the company was grossly profiteering from public money projects.

Salford Council has a 19.9% stake in Urban Vision but up until recently never even got a dividend from the profits. The Council is set to end the 'joint venture' when the current contract runs out in 2020.

Full details here...

COMMUNITY HAMMERS SALFORD CITY COUNCIL OVER BUILE HILL PARK HOUSING PROPOSALS

Star date: 23rd May 2018

COUNCIL UPS PRICE OF BUILE HILL MANSION PROJECT TO OVER 20MILLION AS PLANS MET WITH SCORN FROM COMMUNITY

Last night, a packed stormy meeting of the Claremont and Weaste Community Committee left Salford City Council in no doubt that any plans to build houses in Buile Hill Park as part of a deal to restore the Grade 2 listed Mansion will be met with fierce opposition.

Salford Council's Assistant Director of the Environment revealed to the meeting that Salford Red Devils Foundation, one of the driving partners of the project, hadn't even signed the controversial Memorandum of Understanding yet and that the 1.6million cost of restoring the Mansion would have to be met with 1million a year to sustain it, giving a figure of over 20million.

Full details here...

SONGS AND CEREMONIES AS MANCHESTER REMEMBERS ARENA ATTACK

Star date: 22nd May 2018

ONE YEAR ON...

One year on from the Manchester Arena attack, today sees the Manchester Together With One Voice event this evening in Albert Square from 7pm to 9pm, and Remembering Together, a civic reception this afternoon at Manchester Cathedral.

Meanwhile, local band Prose and the Manchester Survivors Choir have teamed up to raise money for those affected by the Manchester Arena bomb, with the track A City United.

Full details here...

ROLLERBLADING IS TEST OF MANCHESTER AND SALFORD SUCCESS SAYS COUNCIL STRATEGIC DIRECTOR

Star date: 21st May 2018

FORGET ABOUT JOBS, HOMELESSNESS AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING ROLLERBLADERS IS WHERE CITIES' REGENERATION IS AIMED!

'Jobs priority "just doesn't echo in the room any more"...'

Never mind jobs, homelessness and affordable housing, all Manchester and Salford regeneration is, apparently, aimed at attracting rollerbladers, Eddie Smith, Strategic Director at Manchester City Council, told a Built Environment Network conference last week; and that the jobs priority "just doesn't echo in the room any more". At the same conference, the Development Manager for Salford City Council echoed the similar sentiments.

Full details here...

 



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