A site in Salford, set to be bought by Urban Splash earlier this year, is instead likely to be retained for community use after the city council pulled its support for the developer’s purchase.
Salford City Council is set to sign off plans to give the site over to community use for the next 12 months, after rescinding an agreement to sell the land to Urban Splash earlier this year.
This gives the local community an opportunity to draw up alternative plans for the plot, which is owned by the council and had previously been used as a community garden until 2015. However, since then, the site has become significantly overgrown and subject to fly tipping.
The council’s sale to Urban Splash for the plot opposite Paradise Works was approved by City Mayor Paul Dennett on 25 March this year; the developer had planned to build nine modular homes on the site, but following technical advice, Urban Splash decided its modular product, House, would not be viable due to flood risk.
Urban Splash also owns Paradise Works, and had been exploring reviewing its landholdings to bring forward a more “comprehensive” solution to the site, which could have seen significant redevelopment around East Philip Street, given the difficulties of developing the site in isolation.
However, although the land sale was agreed in March, the decision to offload the plot to Urban Splash was subsequently called in by the council’s growth and scrutiny panel and was reversed in April following a community backlash.
While a local groundworks company, North and South Services, had expressed an interest in expanding its business to the site, the council said this was “unlikely to be supported”.
Since this decision to sell was reversed, community groups – many of whom want the space to be maintained as a garden or orchard – have undertaken a clean-up operation of the site, and will now have the opportunity to draw up proposals for the plot after being backed by the council.
The site is known to have issues with contamination and a site investigation is expected to cost £10,000; community groups are looking to drum up funding to pay for this investigation along with drawing up proposals for the site’s future use.
While the council admitted it would receive no capital receipt from maintaining the site for the community, members are set to sign off community use for the plot at a meeting next week.
The plot will be initially maintained for community use for a year, providing groups the change to draw up a vision for the site and secure funding. The council will then look to review its options.
Salford City Council has been recommended to sign off the proposals on 28 October. Urban Splash has been contacted for comment.