A court case set for March between Salford Council and Stama Developments, surrounding planning refusal for the old Police HQ on the Crescent, looks set to be postponed, after a decision published by the Council states that it is “Applying to vacate a High Court hearing for a period of 6 months” for “further discussions and negotiations”.
The refusal to grant planning permission to Stama, to develop the Old Police HQ, was dubbed the “local government scandal of the decade” by former Labour councillor Stephen Ord, who also said: “There is no doubt in my mind that criminal offences have been committed…”
It was back in 2019 when Stephen Ord, then a Labour Party councillor, told a full meeting of Salford Council that the refusal of planning permission for Stama Developments (Salford) Ltd to convert the old Police HQ on the Crescent into flats and houses was the “local government scandal of the decade”; that “there is no doubt in my mind that criminal offences have been committed”; and that there was a “multi-million pound lawsuit being compiled” against the Council.
That lawsuit was due to be heard at the Civil Justice Centre between 4th and 19th March, with councillors and ex-councillors being called as witnesses.* Now a decision by Deputy City Mayor, John Merry, taken outside of any committees and not subject to ‘call-in’, has been published, with the Council “Applying to vacate a High Court hearing for a period of 6 months and agree to undertake further discussions and negotiations as detailed in the confidential report considered on 11th January 2021…”
The decision notice adds that “The application to vacate a High Court hearing has emerged to seek to resolve litigation before going to court, potentially avoiding a lengthy trial at public expense”…and any embarrassing details which could emerge from such a case.
Indeed the Council has already tried to head off a court case with an offer to settle “up to a maximum figure” during mediation, which was ultimately unsuccessful. It is not known whether Stama, which was about to bring the case, has agreed to the six month ‘vacation’.
Meanwhile, at next week’s Salford Council Property and Regeneration Briefing, the final Development Framework for the Crescent will be discussed. The 131 page Framework mentions the Police HQ briefly, stating that “The re-purposing of the building and extension to the rear for use as a hotel to cater for visitors will be supported, subject to being supported by appropriate technical information…”
The Salford Star has contacted the solicitors acting for Stama Developments for a comment…
First Published in the Salford Star, 19 January 2021
* For a full background see previous Salford Star articles…
Salford Council’s ‘Scandal of the Decade’ Set For High Court – click here
Salford Councillor Blows Lid On Scandal of the Decade – click here