Plans to build up to 690 homes on a golf course in Salford are set to go ahead, after an agreement was reached to sell the land to a developer for nearly £40m.
Bellway Homes will buy Brackley Golf Course in Little Hulton for £39.3m.
Salford Council, which jointly owns the 27-hectare site off the M61, will pocket £18.5m from the sale – the biggest single capital receipt in its 47-year history.
It comes after a deal was struck with Countryside in May 2020, but the sale fell through when the developer tried to renegotiate the price of the purchase.
Planning permission to build 677 homes on the golf course was granted the previous year – but there is no requirement for affordable housing on the site.
Speaking at a meeting on Monday 22 November, Salford Council assistant director Peter Openshaw said the new homes – ranging from two-bed semis to four-bed detached dwellings – will be ‘higher value’ than originally envisaged.
He said: “Whilst there’s no obligation from a planning perspective to provide affordable housing, they’ve said they will sit down with us to see what’s possible.
“It’s not factored into their plans at the moment, but they are willing to talk on a no-commitment basis to us.”
What’s the background to this?
Salford council agreed to work with landowners Avonfield Limited, Pinebrook Limited and MHE Investments Limited to sell the site for housing in 2018.
However, when outline planning consent was granted, the council did not have a policy which requires a portion of new large developments to be affordable.
Openshaw said the previous house-builder which was poised to purchase the land had planned for around a third of the new properties to be affordable.
But the local authority and the other landowners ‘lost confidence’ when the developer sought to renegotiate the price below the offers of other buyers.
Bellway has not factored in affordable housing into its plans as it stands, but has agreed to discuss the matter with the council once the sale is complete.
Salford mayor Paul Dennett said: “It is unfortunate that outline planning consent has already been granted on this, but it’s reassuring that the developer is up for having that conversation with us about affordable housing.
“Hopefully we’ll get somewhere there to further improve all of the metrics you’ve just shared with us.
“As you know, I’m one of those people who likes to have my cake and eat it.”
The local authority is expecting to make more than £1.1m a year in council tax from the new properties together with £4.5m through the New Homes Bonus.
The agreement to sell the land includes a condition which allows the council to buy back the land if Bellway does not build the homes according to the plans.
The house-builder is in the process of becoming a Real Living Wage employer and plans to pay all of its contractors the Real Living Wage within three years.
The development would be made up of 36 flats, 76 two-bed and 250 three-bed semi-detached and 217 three-bed and 111 four-bed detached dwellings.
Amendments must be made to the plans to allow for 690 homes to be built but work is expected to start on site towards the beginning of the new year.
The sale of the site is due to be completed on 1 December.