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100-home plan for Willows rugby ground goes before council

Plans to build 82 houses for rent and 21 shared ownership flats on the former Willows rugby ground in Weaste will go before planning officers in Salford this week.

Housing association City West will manage all 103 properties, with Watson Homes slated for the build.

The plans include options for 55 two-bed houses, 23, three-bed houses and four two-bed bungalows, which City West will put up for ‘affordable rent’.

Willows CGI City West

The home of rugby league side Salford City Reds – now Salford Red Devils – for over 110 years, The Willows ground was left derelict when the team moved wholesale to the AJ Bell Stadium at Barton.

Housebuilders Godliman Watson Homes Ltd were due to build on the demolished stadium, but the project stalled when the firm went bust in December 2013.

It left the area around the ground in a terrible state, attracting flytipping, youths breaking through fencing and setting fires and leaving local residents in despair.

By Ian Wilson via Flickr

By Ian Wilson via Flickr

The designers, Manchester-based Gray Architecture, show a new access lane into the estate from Willows Road, with 106 car parking spaces on the plans.

A statement for City West says around 25% of the total cost of the build  – around £2.8 million – is being subsidised by the Homes and Communities Agency.

It adds that “the insistence of any contribution at any level would seriously jeopardise the viability and delivery of the project.”

Immediately to the north is the former Weaste cricket club development of 67 homes on Edward Avenue by MCI and Great Places Housing Association, which was passed by Salford Council’s planning committee in November 2013.

Previously classed as ‘protected recreational land’, the site had been empty since the cricket club merged with Monton  in 1998.

Salford City Council announced plans to slap an ASBO-style Public Spaces Protection Order on land bounded by Edward Avenue, Weaste Lane, Tootal Road and Tootal Drive, with the streets affected including Kennedy Road, Barff Road, New Cross Street and Willows Road.

The PSPO would ban anyone from gathering in groups of three or more people “acting in an anti-social manner”.

All of the homes will be affordable housing to be managed by City West Housing Group, with a mix of affordable rent and shared ownership tenures.

Council planners have recommended to approve the plans, with a decision due on Thursday 3 September.

Main image by Joe Collins via Flickr

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.