The long running campaign to Save The Crown Theatre Eccles now looks to have run its course with a victory of sorts, as the new proposal is substantially better than the previous one.
Developer, Foregate Limited, has now submitted a planning application to Salford City Council for the former Lyceum Theatre - which became the Crown Theatre and then the Crown Bingo Hall - that intends to save the facades of the building on Church Street and Mather Road, plus some stairs.
The rest of the site will be demolished to make way for 82 apartments (49 one bed, 31 two bed and 2 three bed) to be sold at market rate – average price £143,000 - with no affordable housing – thanks to Salford Council policies...
"The Council's Planning Obligations SPD (adopted June 2015) identifies the site as being located in a 'mid-value' area in which apartment schemes are not required to provide affordable housing nor demonstrate why affordable housing has not been included in the scheme" states the developer "As such, provision of affordable housing is not included in the scope of this viability appraisal."
Nor does the developer intend to pay any Section 106 money for Open Realm Contributions, which would amount to £207,000 for the city. The 'viability' report states that such a contribution would affect the "fixed developers 18% profit" and make the scheme 'unviable'.
"In addition" the developer adds "contributions negotiated based on site-specific circumstances relating to public realm, transport and other site-specific planning obligations would make the scheme even less commercially viable."
Based on the company's own financial statements in its viability report of the market price of the houses, 18% profit would be £2,113,731!
The developer states that "The appraisal has been independently assessed by the council's viability officer, and...whilst certain inputs were queried, the viability
officer accepted the appraisal as being acceptable. The officer commented 'Taking these figures at face value the scheme at the current scale is the optimum design to produce the required level of developers profit'"!!! Nothing about the loss to Salford of the planning obligations!!!
To allay fears of local residents, private parking is to be provided for 44 cars at the rear of the site, while the bins will be emptied by a private contractor to 'remove the need for bins to be left on the street'.
Meanwhile, the building itself is said to be beyond repair*. The developer's report states that "The proposed development has been carefully considered to retain the significant elements of the building, namely the Church Street and Mather Road facades and parts of the entrance and circulation areas on Church Street.
"...The proposed conversion will include some alterations to the façade however these have been sensitively considered to conserve and enhance the significance of the building. There will inevitably be some loss of fabric within the building, albeit a significant amount of this has already been destroyed through fire and water ingress. This loss is however mitigated through areas of loss being located in areas of lower significance (i.e. the interior of the building).
"Care has been taken, working with the design team, Salford Council and Historic England to ensure that the most significant spaces and elements of the building are retained and restored" it adds "On balance, it is considered that the proposed development will result in a 'less than substantial harm' to the heritage asset..."
The Save The Crown Theatre Eccles campaign is currently looking over the application before commenting.
* The report states: "The 2016 survey found that the building had deteriorated further since the last survey, and continues to deteriorate. The third and fourth floors are structurally unstable and water penetration is advancing to the second floor. The front elevation wall on the fourth floor is completely unrestrained and likely to continue movement in a dangerous state. There is substantial dry rot throughout. Further sections of roof have collapsed since the last survey.
"The continued collapse of the roof structure against the façade will gradually cause the disintegration of the top of the internal walls, which provide the only lateral restraint to the façade. The Mather Road elevation is in very poor order with physical movement in the top of the wall and brickwork becoming increasingly unstable. The rear parapet wall is unstable.
"There is extensive corrosion to internal steelwork which is reducing the stability of the Internal ceilings have disintegrated; timber floors have collapsed. The first and second floor balconies are structurally unsound. The first floor balcony has been subject to some fire damage. The ground floor auditorium has completely failed structurally. Lamination to steelwork is affecting the main staircase from ground to second floor and will result in loss of support to the staircase. The staircase to the cellar has collapsed. Internal king post trusses have lost stability and are leaning due to the deterioration in the floor structure."