Candidate claims Jewish areas are unfairly favoured
The Lib-Dem candidate for Salford's first mayoral election has claimed that Salford Jewish neighbourhoods have been favoured for millions of pounds of investment while other local areas remain derelict.
Criticising the "willy nilly" regeneration of the Jewish area, Norman Owen said the situation had caused resentment among other communities. "Millions have poured into Broughton at the expense of areas like Langworthy, which is derelict."
Even so, Mr Owen alleged that the Labour-run council had "not given the Jewish community what it deserved", maintaining that the Broughton Green housing project in the Jewish heartland had been carried out with little consultation and that the homes were low quality.
He branded the council-funded Beis Yaakov Jewish High School campus and the Hershel Weiss Children's Centre as "facelift" facilities that were not part of a coherent strategy.
Labour rejects any suggestion of preferential treatment
"I'm saying we have to be inclusive. I'm not segregating the Jewish community from any other and we should have far wider consultation with the Jewish community.
"We have had just a slipshod development here and there. There needs to be stronger consultation with everyone. The last thing you want is divisions.
"That's when you get the likes of the BNP coming in and people saying: 'Why are they getting this and that?' That has been said to me. We could have avoided all of that by developing areas so everyone gets their own input."
Peter Kopphenheim, a local Jewish resident who has advised on council regeneration, said Mr Owen "has got it quite wrong.
"The council have done a tremendous amount of work, especially the redevelopment of 88 houses [with 'kosher' facilities] about to be built in Broughton. The council has redeveloped other parts of Salford and hundreds of houses have been built elsewhere and have not gone to the Jewish community. I'm sorry he's got the wrong end of the stick."
Labour's candidate for the May 3 election, Ian Stewart, declined to respond to Mr Owen's claims.
However, Salford Labour councillor Peter Connor rejected any suggestion that regeneration was poorly planned or favoured certain areas.
"We have to establish where the biggest needs are for housing and investment. The government have to agree with the areas the council and independent investors select in order to attract public money and enable redevelopment.
"Broughton Park has large families and particular housing needs and the Jewish community have the right to be considered. Mr Owen is either not fully understanding the regeneration process or it's just election time."