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 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: £7MILLION CYCLE AND WALKING ROUTES FOR SALFORD ANNOUNCED
Let's have some green space to cycle in!!!... [more]
article: SALFORD COUNCIL TRICKS
When are going to find the litter louts around Blandford road near Cromwell roundabout... [more]
article: SALFORD HAS LOST ALMOST 4,000 SOCIAL RENT PROPERTIES IN LAST FOUR YEARS
It is sad this this loss of council houses, very sad, but the thing is, the ones that disappear, are the ones that Tosser Dennetts... [more]
article: CLADDING AND WINDOW SAFETY SCARES AT SALFORD BLOCKS
I listen to what Bob says, and there is merit in what he says, but the thing is, you cannot leave that stuff on the outside wall, ... [more]
article: ST GEORGES RC HIGH SCHOOL SALFORD TO CLOSE
Reading all this for the first time in 2018. Heartbroken to hear my old school has been closed. I went there from 1967 to 1972. Wi... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

£7MILLION CYCLE AND WALKING ROUTES FOR SALFORD ANNOUNCED

Star date: 20th September 2018

MONTON, SWINTON AND TRINITY WAY TO GET NEW CYCLE PATHS

Transport for Greater Manchester has announced a plan for £7.1million worth of cycle paths and walkways in Monton, Swinton and Trinity Way, with Salford City Council contributing £1.2million towards the total cost.

"The people of Greater Manchester will soon have a genuine choice in how they travel, ensuring that they and their children have a viable and attractive alternative to the car" says Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester Cycling and Walking Commissioner.

Full details here...

HARROP FOLD HEAD SLAMS ‘PERSONAL VENDETTA’ OF SALFORD CITY COUNCIL

Star date: 19th September 2018

DREW POVEY ACCUSES SALFORD COUNCIL OF 'HEAVY HANDED' 'VENDETTA'

"I'm speaking up for myself but also all the leaders who have been in touch to say the same happened to them #TakeAStand..." Drew Povey

Drew Povey, the Executive Head of Harrop Fold in Little Hulton, has resigned from his post, slamming Salford Council's "heavy handed approach" while investigating 'administrative errors' at the school and accusing it of a "personal vendetta".

In an open letter to the school's governors, Drew Povey writes that he refuses to walk away from the school with a settlement and accept a gagging clause.  So he's gone public...to #TakeAStand.

Full details here...

SALFORD BIG HEALTH DAY FOR ADULTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES

Star date: 18th September 2018

BIG HEALTH DAY AT SALFORD CITY FC

Big Health Day
Thursday 20th September 10am-2:45pm free
Salford City FC Moor Lane

This Thursday there's the 9th Annual Big Health Day for adults with learning disabilities, their carers and support staff at Salford City's ground on Moor Lane, with  workshops, activities, information stalls and mystery prizes.  

Full details here...

CLADDING AND WINDOW SAFETY SCARES AT SALFORD BLOCKS

Star date: 18th September 2018

WHY ARE PENDLETON RESIDENTS NOT BEING LISTENED TO?

"The housing provider has lost the good will of residents through their many failings and deafness when it comes to the residents' concerns..."

Windows about to fall out...dodgy cladding...secret safety reports and loads more going on at the Pendleton Together blocks near Salford Precinct.

Here, in the first of a two part feature, Graeme Langton, the suspended but elected chair of Malus Tenants and Residents' Association, writes about multiple problems residents are facing and suggests some solutions for Salford City Council to ponder.

Full details here...

PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS IN SALFORD WOULD HAVE TO SAVE FOR 17 YEARS FOR A DEPOSIT ON A HOUSE STATES UNISON REPORT

Star date: 17th September 2018

HOME OWNERSHIP JUST A PIPE DREAM FOR NURSES, TEACHING ASSISTANTS AND OTHER PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS

A new report from public sector trade union, UNISON, concludes that low paid public sector workers like nurses, teaching assistants, PCSOs, cleaners and librarians will almost never be able to afford to own a home.

The shocking report produces figures for Salford that show these workers having to save for 17 years just to get a deposit together for a first time house.

Full details here...

 



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