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:
 
 
 
Giraffe
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
advertisement
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: COMMUNITY GREEN SPACE CAMPAIGNERS JOIN DEMO OUTSIDE SALFORD CITY COUNCIL MEETING
I think Gareth is right on this. If you enlarge the pictures a bit you can see most of them have this "Labour voter" look about th... [more]
article: ECCLES HOMELESS SHELTER COURT CASE SET FOR END OF JANUARY
Wow, so the homeless and unemployed have better chance of access to a dentist than the average taxpayer. Wow.... [more]
article: ECCLES HOMELESS SHELTER COURT CASE SET FOR END OF JANUARY
The Salford Unemployed and Community Resourse Centre must be complimented for its caring and advocacy services. Alex Mcfaddon and ... [more]
article: GRADE II LISTED CROWN THEATRE IN ECCLES TO BE CONVERTED FOR APARTMENTS
I don't mind housing, I just mind the way they are going about it. respect the listing, make it shorter, provide enough parking, o... [more]
article: COMMUNITY GREEN SPACE CAMPAIGNERS JOIN DEMO OUTSIDE SALFORD CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Felsey,the lesson to be learnt from the recent events at Westminister is that the birds are finally coming home to roost on lyi... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

SALFORD LADY MARGARET MCHALE TURNS ONE HUNDRED AT THE BROUGHTONS

Star date: 20th January 2019

FROM HANKY PARK TO LITTLETON ROAD VIA LANCASTER BOMBERS AND THE 'MONKEY RUN'

Salford's Margaret McHale turned one hundred this week as her six children and relatives gathered for a huge party at The Broughtons Care Home. Born in Hanky Park, Margaret moved around central Salford, to Ellor Street, Warburton Street and finally to Littleton Road, as part of the slum clearances.

A proper Salford lass, Margaret worked on Lancaster Bombers during the war and as a machinist in Strangeways, and, as the family partied with residents and staff, there were a zillion anecdotes that will echo with loads of local families.

Full details here...

NEW SALFORD APPRENTICESHIPS AT ELECTRICITY NORTH WEST

Star date: 20th January 2019

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

Electricity North West, the region's power network operator, is looking to take on young Salford people and has places for craft apprenticeships, which include overhead line workers and cable jointers, and higher level apprenticeships, which include roles such as design and control engineer.

Full details here...

ECCLES HOMELESS SHELTER COURT CASE SET FOR END OF JANUARY

Star date: 18th January 2019

TOOTHBRUSHES AND SOCKS FOR THE HOMELESS

On 9th January at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre, the judge allowed an eight day extension for those homeless people currently occupying the old doctor's surgery in Eccles. The case has now been set for the end of January, giving them an extra two weeks to prepare a legal defence.

Meanwhile this week, the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre, which is helping the Shelter, took delivery of loads of pairs of thick winter socks and around one hundred toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes donated towards its new Medical and Dental Surgery for the homeless and ex-offenders.

Full details here...

SALFORD GRADE II LISTED VICTORIA THEATRE STEP CLOSER TO BEING SAVED

Star date: 17th January 2019

NEW OWNER CONSIDERS RESTORATION PLANS FOR LOWER BROUGHTON THEATRE

After Lower Broughton's 'at risk' Grade II listed Victoria Theatre was sold last year, there were fears that it would be pulled down for development but the Salford Victoria Theatre Trust has today announced that its new owner "has engaged with the group to seek out a way forward, even vowing to consider plans to restore it for its original purpose".

The Trust is now putting together a business plan and pitch to present to the owner at the end of the month, with a meeting planned with Salford City Council next month to discuss the theatre's future.

Full details here...

COMMUNITY GREEN SPACE CAMPAIGNERS JOIN DEMO OUTSIDE SALFORD CITY COUNCIL MEETING

Star date: 16th January 2019

'IT'S THROWING RESIDENTS TO THE WOLVES OF RAMPANT DEVELOPMENT'

Before a full meeting of Salford Council this morning, residents campaigning against development on green spaces in the city held a demonstration outside the Civic Centre.

Representatives of campaigns including from Campbell Road, Duncan Matheson, Walkden and Buile Hill Park then went into the meeting to hear City Mayor, Paul Dennett, say that the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework was "protecting green belt and green spaces", after Carol Boyce of Saving Our Neighbourhood had accused the Council of "throwing residents to the wolves of rampant development".

Full details here...

 



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