Concerns relating to MCC’s proposals to build an academy school for 1,800 children on the former deep landfill site at Nutsford Vale in Gorton fall mostly into three categories:
1. Ecological. The loss of green space and details of what areas of the Vale will be lost considering the existing layout, which trees will be lost and so on, depending on where the buildings and parking are situated on the chosen site.
2. Local. Can nearby roads deal with the predicted traffic and how such predictions and conclusions have been arrived at.
3. The suitability of the Mathews Road site for a school, or indeed any construction, given the Environment Agency record ( https://goo.gl/HfgkZn ). The record indicates that the site contains amongst other things Industrial Waste from factory processes, Special Waste that has hazardous properties and is defined in the Special Waste Regulations 1996 (such properties may be flammable, irritant, toxic, harmful, carcinogenic or corrosive) and Liquids/sludge Waste like Industrial wastewater, sewage sludge and chemical wastes mixed with municipal solid waste.
Anybody taking time out of their day to do some public duty by participating in the consultation were left disappointed, asking themselves why should they bother participating in a consultation that denies more information than it reveals. There was no data on expected levels of traffic, no details of local infrastructure enhancements and improvements that will help deal with whatever their predictions might be and there was no information to indicate how they’ve arrived at the specific conditions they have calculated, nor were there any best and worse scenarios for local tenants in a very densely populated area that already has existing traffic issues. The fact that local families had endured decades of living next door to an industrialised clay pit, saw the vast cavity turned into an unregulated local authority landfill for industrial and household waste, only to now see their property values dive again beyond their control as the plan to bring hundreds of extra vehicles twice a day to the district proceed regardless of the localised environmental impacts.
The builders Laing O’Rourke have carried out a desk top exercise to ascertain which soil contamination tests they should carry out but are unwilling to share the content, result or even a summary of that exercise – it will remain secret. I wonder why that is? Samples have recently been taken for some contamination tests on behalf of Laing O’Rourke, not on behalf of MCC. – that’s right, the company that stand to profit from the construction of the school are being asked if it’s safe, how likely do you think they are to give unbiased and independent advice?
We don’t know how they’ve decided which chemicals to test for, we don’t know what chemicals they’ve tested for and we don’t know what the results are. Furthermore, there’s only one more ‘consultation’ before it goes to planning (Chapel Street Primary School, 9th March, 4pm – 9pm) and the results may not be available for that.
When is a consultation not a consultation? It’s when a large swathe of concerns expressed by those attending do not even enter into conversations, they refuse to discuss them. Those concerns were known but completely ignored, the council and Laing O’Rourke have found a way around discussing some legitimate and serious concerns relating to the health of 1,800 children. If MCC will not enter into an informed and civil debate about the future health of 1,800 kids, then what is it for, really? They might as well discontinue all consultations if they are not meaningful at all, they’re fake. Merely manipulated, strangulated conversations with a scope so narrow that they are practically pointless. They’re just using the number of people that attend as a stat to illustrate interaction regardless of the fact that the majority of those that did attend left entirely uninformed and unsatisfied.
The entire left hand side of the large green area below the pin will be built upon if the planned 1800 pupil academy is given the go ahead.
The gap between Manchester City Council and Manchester citizens is getting wider with each passing planning application. MCC are disregarding the many increasingly agitated voices that are all concerned with our built environment, and our right to be properly consulted about developments that will have a direct influence on our city and on our lives.