Saturday, 29 March 2014


Salford Star story:
Salford's old Town Hall at Bexley Square, previously the Magistrates Court, has been flogged off to X1 Developments for just £256,000 – and now, almost one hundred one and two bedroom apartments in the complex are being marketed to buy to let landlords and `young professionals' for up to £120,000 each.
To add insult to financial injury, our former Town Hall has been retitled X1 Town Hall, Manchester.

At the end of November, the Salford Star revealed how `Developers are taking the piss in Salford' and used the example of the Grade II listed old Salford Town Hall to illustrate the point (see article – click here).

The city's old Town Hall on Bexley Square, previously Salford Magistrates Court, is being converted into 122 apartments by Liverpool's X1 Developments. Normally, to build such a complex the developers would have to pay Salford City Council around £300,000 in planning payments for infrastructure, construction training, open space, climate change and more…

…but X1 put in a `viability assessment' stating it couldn't afford such payments, and that if it had to hand over such a sum it would `threaten' the development. Salford Council officers agreed… "The expert assessment of the appraisal is that there is insufficient profit in the development to warrant the requirement of an obligation to be entered into".

Instead, X1 agreed to make a contribution of just £50,000 which the planning report stated "could possibly be used to provide gas lamps to the public realm in the local area and to reinstate the roll of honour that was removed from the building some time ago".

The Salford Star can now reveal that, according to the latest Salford Council financial report, the old Town Hall was flogged off to X1 for just £256,000. And X1 has starting selling 93 one bedroom flats and six two bedroom flats for up to £120,000 each. These flats alone will rake in almost £8million, and then there are 23 penthouse apartments which aren't on the open market yet.

X1 would argue, we're sure, that there is the cost of converting the building into flats to come off these payments, but for an initial cost of just over £300,000 to Salford Council, the developer stands to make millions of pounds off the back of Salford's unique heritage. Even the car park spaces, sold to X1 for £80,000 by the Council, are being flogged for £10,000 each, which will also bring in a hefty profit.

The flats are currently being pushed by X1 partner, Knight Knox International, to buy-to-let landlords "With the developer offering an assured rental yield of 6% for the first five years", promising residents a "high-end lifestyle at affordable prices".

The old Salford Town Hall, scene of the Battle of Bexley Square and current traditional May Day rallies in Salford, has also been re-titled X1 Town Hall, Manchester on the X1 website, while Knight Knox drools "X1 Town Hall is located in a highly desirable area of Manchester"…

Yet more insults on top of financial injury for Salford people…

See also previous Salford Star article Bexley Square Town Hall Horror as Heritage Disappears – click here


Councillor John Merry - the only person on the Council with the guts to communicate with the Salford Star - has been in touch via Twitter to say that the figure quoted of £256,000 is only the receipt that Salford Council received. Another payment was made to the Ministry of Justice. The actual sale of the old Town Hall was £800,000 - still way low considering the profits that will be made by X1. And that £50,000 gas lamps payment remains as the sole `infrastructure' contribution to Council.

There is also the little matter of a bill owed by Salford Council to the Ministry of Justice for the old Town Hall, totalling £578,468 dating back to 2010 (see previous Salford Star article - click here). Did this ever get paid?

No comments: