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SALFORD COMMUNITY MEETING LOOKS TO POSITIVE FUTURE FOR BUILE HILL PARK MANSION
 

Star date: 13th June 2018

AFTER SALFORD MAYOR U-TURN ON PARK HOUSES COMMUNITY GETS INVOLVED

Yesterday, hours before a public meeting of residents, Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett dramatically did a u-turn on building houses in Buile Hill Park as part of a restoration deal for the Grade 2 listed Mansion. It was a huge victory for community campaigning

At the meeting, residents learned what has been going on behind the scenes and set up a working party to look at ideas for a more positive future for the Park and Mansion.

Full details here...


Buile Hill Park Mansion
click image to enlarge

"Now you've got the public involved we can help" local resident

Last night, a public meeting was set to angrily oppose any plans to build houses in Buile Hill Park as part of a deal with Salford Red Devils Foundation and developer Capital and Centric to restore the Grade 2 listed Mansion for community use.

Just hours before the meeting however, Salford Mayor, Paul Dennett, dramatically u-turned on the idea...

"...A private housing development will not be built in the former depot area at Buile Hill Park" he said in a rushed statement "There were never any solid proposals on the table to build homes on the park, despite open-ended speculation..." (see previous Salford Star article Ė click here)

However, the meeting learned that building houses was very much on the cards... John Blackburn, from the Salford Red Devils Foundation, confirmed that Capital and Centric had the plans when he spoke to them eight months into the Foundation's bid to restore the Mansion...

"I thought 'Building houses in the park? That's contentious'" he said "Since then I've been down to Smithills Coaching House where they've done the mansion up and the outbuildings have become properties and it's brought it back to life. There would be more security in the evening when you're walking around..."

With the Mayor now vetoing such plans after a public outcry that has seen over 2,700 people sign a petition, John Blackburn insisted that "There's no Plan B, unfortunately..."

He gave a full history of the bid, the plans for the Mansion, the £3.5million redevelopment and fit-out costs quoted, and likely sources of finance, including a £1.7million Lottery bid, World Cup 2021 legacy funding from the Rugby League which has a £12million pot...and he revealed that two big commercial companies might invest without looking for a return.

Weaste Councillor, Paul Wilson, added that the Council was also looking at a possible patient hotel in the depot grounds funded by the NHS, and spoke of other developers interested in schemes for the depot area..."Capital and Centric is also keen to see what ideas this meeting comes up with" he added "It's about generating ideas and getting a working party together..."

While former councillor Mary Ferrer, who called the meeting, insisted on keeping ideas from the community positive, many residents also criticised the secrecy surrounding the project...

"A lot been going on that we don't know about but now you've got the public involved we can help" said one resident, while Beryl Patten, who is involved with the Agecroft Chapel restoration group, which publishes minutes of its meetings and full updates, added that "Part of the problem is that the wider community don't know what's going on". She asked Blackburn "Are you willing to have input from this meeting?"

"We we need everyone involved" he responded, naming the Irwell Valley Mining Project and Sounds of Salford Radio as community groups that are on board..."We've not tried to hide anything...We're proud of what we're doing..."

Other residents questioned the Council's priorities on parks, which has seen Victoria Park look immaculate and millions of pounds pumped into Peel Park, while Buile Hill has 'degraded'...

"Buile Hill is supposed to be the premier park in Salford, so if they can't do it for Buile Hill there's something very wrong" said one speaker "The Council has allowed it to degrade and, I think, has some responsibility to put some money into it...they've slowly but surely taken every amenity away and all we're left with is a tennis court that you can't play on..."

Another added "People think that the Council is not interested...", to which Councillor Wilson  responded; "Paul Dennett is willing to work with the community, so we need to come up with ideas and generate things that are going to work and move forward positively..."

Indeed, initial ideas from residents for the Mansion included uses as a registry office, cafe and a community hub, whereby charities that currently have rent for premises funded by the Council would be re-located to the Mansion providing an income and a saving.

Other proposals included using the Mansion as a training project for apprentices to learn specialised construction skills; school projects where pupils come up with their own ideas for the Mansion and park use; a staged redevelopment to provide income as the restoration progresses; and a land swap deal with developers, where the Council provides a plot of land for building houses with the Section 106 money going direct to the Mansion.

Those who didn't want to publicly air their ideas were invited to jot down ideas on pads provided which were collated at the end of the meeting. A working party was also set up to take the community ideas forward...

One thing that all these developments do show is that when Salford people get together and campaign it does get results. The u-turn by the Mayor is a massive victory for people power...


The date for the next public meeting was set at 3rd July.

For a full background see previous Salford Star article Ė click here

Philip Giuseppe Rossi, The Broadwalk ... wrote
at 20:01:52 on 16 June 2018
PEOPLE!! The only viable alternative for The BUILE HILL MANSION, is my suggestion that it be turned into a short term hostel/training centre for Asylum Seekers and homeless gay youths. Face it PEOPLE, We ain't NEVER getting out of the E.U. Thank God. So my idea could be funded by The E.U. Think about it PEOPLE. Salford could become a City of Excellence in its work with Refugees and homeless Gay Youth. These people, being sheltered in the sanctuary of the mansion, and being housed there for six months, and given training and other help ... would remember Salford with fondness ALL the days of their lives. I'm serious PEOPLE. I just hope that MAYOR PAUL can see the wisdom of my suggestion, and that HE can roll with it. If he does His legacy will be GREAT, spanning the decades. I would even go as far as to say that He will be remembered with all of the fondness that New York City Mayoral Legend Fiorello LaGuardia is remembered with by native New Yorkers EVERYWHERE.

Rayofsunshine wrote
at 16:54:25 on 16 June 2018
So,Felsey, you plan to turn Buile Hill into "a profit centre" - it will sžnk or swim, depending on the income it brings in! This isn't a strategy to protect Salford's Heritage - it's out and out Thatcherism.

Karen wrote
at 22:47:04 on 14 June 2018
its got to be a community hub to appeal to everybody, registry office nice idea and upmarket cafe, visitor centre could be a real pull for the area, Salford gets such bad press. Tale of two cities for sure, lets drag it up not continually drag it down. Raise, not dampen spirits. Its got to wash its own face so to speak too though yes, but look at how others have done similar stuff elsewhere and replicate that model. Ask them to help even.Very doable! Not a place for housing, dangerous precedent.Parks are a vital public amenity we need for us and nature. Certainly not for private opportunist gain or greed.

Felsey wrote
at 22:46:40 on 14 June 2018
Sorry do not want to risk being off topic and get barred. Let me just say to Ray no surcharge as I favour no increase in Council Tax and to Bob no it is not cash for the Mayor simply a sensible income plan based on unique credibility of Buile Hill able to give opportunity for sustainable annual income. And before anyone says it No it does not involve fracking. Together I know Salford can be tremendously successful looking after our vulnerable and care sector as reborn socialist whatever our religion, orientation or ethnicity. Salford for everyoneís wellbeing is the best plan of all.

wrote
at 14:22:10 on 14 June 2018
I know I shouldnít but; this week our revered political butterfly has ďif I wasĒ the city mayor and also Labour lead member for City Learning and Development. What next?

Bob the regular wrote
at 14:20:08 on 14 June 2018
What is the pot that needs £2million a year or £40,000 a week? Is it Mayor Dennetts waste money pot that he keeps under his bed. Will Felsey please tell me where this £40 000 a week will be spent and who will be getting it?

Rayofsunshine wrote
at 14:19:50 on 14 June 2018
Felsey, would you support an additional surcharge on the Council Tax to fund protection of parks and heritage in Salford?

Felsey wrote
at 08:43:22 on 14 June 2018
Thank you Linda but it needs to generate sustainable income. Your idea can be augmented by adding a simple income plan bringing £2million a year into the pot. As if blown in by Hector I call it the Horace plan after a departed loved one. If I was Labour lead member for City Learning and Development this plan would secure an environmentally green friendly future for Salford.

Linda Thompson wrote
at 22:25:43 on 13 June 2018
A registry office, an information/advice centre and a cafe would benefit the area. Also a Salford souvenir shop too.

Felsey wrote
at 11:56:34 on 13 June 2018
Thank you to everyone taking part. This important approach by the caring public should be replicated in every ward with a local Councillor in each ward reporting back to Mayor Paul. Great.

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