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SALFORD PLANNING COUNCILLORS TOLD NOT TO QUESTION POLICY ON DEVELOPER FEES
 

Star date: 6th June 2018

AS DEVELOPERS AVOID MORE PLANNING FEES COUNCILLORS TOLD TO SHUT UP

At yesterday's Salford City Council planning panel, four councillors questioned the "derisory" fees being paid by Urban Splash and Outwood Developments 2 to build blocks of almost five hundred unaffordable apartments at Springfield Lane and in Ordsall.

They were told by panel chair, Councillor Ray Mashiter, that "This room is here to apply policy" and the place to question it was elsewhere.

Full details here...


Last minute Salford Council Section 106 breakdown
click image to enlarge

On Monday, the Salford Star ran an article slamming the 'transparency bypass' at Salford City Council, particularly over the latest planning applications from Outwood Developments 2 Ltd and Urban Splash which sought to build 460 unaffordable apartments in Ordsall and Springfield Lane.

On the Ordsall development the article was particularly damning ... 'So, let's get this right about the transparent Salford Council...Three massive blocks of 296 apartments and townhouses, with payment for just three affordable properties (not specified) and education payments (not specified), and reduced planning fee of £864,000 (no breakdown), with these payments going to non-specified projects at the discretion of Councillor Mashiter…' (see previous article – click here)

At yesterday's planning panel, the Council did respond. A yellow sheet was tabled at the last minute with a breakdown of the £864,000 Section 106 payments which would go to... 'Public Realm/highways work along Oldfield Road...Public realm/highways work along The Crescent...The delivery of a new Meadows Bridge... Off-site affordable housing'...

Panel chair, Councillor Ray Mashiter, also added in the meeting that the Council report about him personally agreeing to these projects was "factually incorrect"...

Meanwhile, bemused councillors themselves, from both Labour and Conservative parties, responded to the article with a barrage of questions...

It kicked off when Urban Splash reps wheeled in a Lego-style model of three, five to eleven storey, blocks of 150 apartments it wants to build as an add-on to its Springfield Lane development of houses on the Irwell waterfront in Trinity – described by Tory Councillor Bob Clarke as "three concrete storm clouds" that current residents would be waking up to through their windows.

The flats would be for market sale with a £150,000 Section 106 payment and a 'clawback' arrangement, so that if profits exceeded those stated in the company's 'viability' assessment the Council would be able to claim some more money.

Labour Party Irwell Riverside Councillor, Jane Hamilton, raised the issue of the lack of affordable housing in the area and whether any of the money would go towards this...

Councillor Mashiter responded that the finance would be "distributed as they see fit", although he didn't say who 'they' were.... "It will not necessarily go to affordable housing, that is just one of the schemes" he added, explaining that it could go towards a toucan crossing on Trinity Way.

Labour Councillor, Peter Wheeler, described the £150,000 as "derisory...it wouldn't even pay to sort out the roads...", and asked how 'clawback' works...

Chris Findley, Assistant Director of Planning at the Council,  explained that at the 'clawback' stage, when 90% of the properties are sold, the real finances are seen as opposed to projections, and gave the example of No 1 Greengate where the Council 'clawed back' £1.9million. This is the only scheme out of hundreds the Salford Star knows of where there was any significant 'clawback'.

If there was no 'clawback', the Council would receive just the original £150,000 in Section 106 payments. Labour Councillor, Charlie McIntyre, asked about 'viability' and how the officers came up with that figure of just £1,000 per apartment.

"It's pretty complex and pretty robust" stated Findley "We look at all the costs the developer puts forward and even a slight change has a huge impact on Section 106...values change after construction".

The panel voted in favour of the Urban Splash development, with only Councillor Clarke voting against.

Next up was the application by Outwood Developments 2 Ltd to build 296 townhouses and apartments in three blocks, up to 23 storeys high, in Upper Wharf Street in Ordsall.

Councillor Clarke again questioned the lack of affordable housing, and the rationale of claiming just three affordable houses from the development "somewhere in the city, off-site...People should be able to have social housing in their area..."

Panel chair, Councillor Mashiter, snapped back that "This room is here to apply policy", and that the place to take these arguments was the Council chamber or the Executive... "We're wasting our time" he added.

Meanwhile, Labour Councillor Margaret Morris asked why the Council was bringing more residents into an area that already exceeded air quality pollution levels, to which she was told there would be a 'training session' on the issue; and Labour Councillor Tanya Burch asked why there were no apprenticeships for local people tied in with the development...

"That's not a material consideration" said Councillor Mashiter, even though Salford Council used to tie construction training into these conditions. The application was approved, with Councillor Clarke voting against, and two abstentions from regular panel members.

The two new councillors on the planning panel, Sophia Linden and Stuart Dickman, looked totally bemused and confused throughout, and abstained on everything.

Following the meeting there was more training sessions for all planning panel councillors – obviously getting them to 'apply Council policy', rather than question it...


Felsey wrote
at 18:12:01 on 09 June 2018
I voted for Councillor Mashiter. He has my full confidence as a confident representative of my ward and of Salford. I believe he is correct in his committee leadership. I would like to see Ray as City Deputy Mayor if I was Mayor.
 
redit wrote
at 11:39:06 on 09 June 2018
Cllr Mashiter is the pet of Cllr Antrobus, both with heavy connections to Salford Uni. They are intoxicated with the feeling of power they have as they our manoeuvre the City Mayor.
 
Alice wrote
at 17:59:50 on 08 June 2018
I sense there is a confused and dissatisfied stirring in the ranks! Great to know some councillors are questioning but they must not be bullied by some other councillors who think they are the only ones with power......are these responding to the non elected money makers with no social conscience ?
 
David wrote
at 17:59:11 on 08 June 2018
An obvious example of yet another shady Salford Council meeting and an even shadier Councillor Mashiter.
 
bla bla bla wrote
at 17:58:58 on 08 June 2018
Is this the same Cllr Mashiter that spoke up yesterday against Salix.......double standards or what
 
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