High school proposed for Daisy Mill site

The former Daisy Mill in Ardwick has been identified as the preferred site for the development of a secondary school in central Manchester, to meet the increasing demand for high school places.

Outline proposals are being put to the council's executive on Wednesday, with the committee asked to support plans for a 1200-place eight form entry school. If approved, the council intends to open the school to pupils by September 2016.

The school is set to be either an academy or a free school. Although the local authority could not open the school itself, it would be able to state its preferred provider of the new school, with the final decision being made by the Secretary of State for Education.

The Daisy Mill site has been identified as an ideal location as it is next to an existing primary school, the Ardwick Sports Centre, and a 20-place secondary Pupil Referral Unit. The mill buildings would be demolished as part of the scheme.

If the proposal to support the development of a secondary school at Daisy Mill is agreed, a four week consultation period will begin on 6 October to gather local views on the plans.

The council said it is currently developing a 10 to 15 year school place planning strategy to ensure that future demand can be met.

The council said the need for a new school is on the back of a significant rise in the number of families living and working in the city. With a population of now well over 500,000 people, Manchester is the fastest growing city in the UK.

Over the last six years, more than 1400 extra primary school places have been put into the system, and this year an additional 117 high school places were created at existing schools to meet increased demand for the current academic year. A further 240 places are being put into high schools for next September.

There is an estimated shortfall of at least 135 places expected by 2016 in central and south Manchester if no action is taken.

John Edwards, director of education and skills at Manchester City Council, said: "The continuing popularity of Manchester as a great place for families to live and work means that we now need to do more than just ask existing schools to expand.

"We've worked very closely with primary schools and high schools across the city so far to meet the growing demand for places, but it's clear from the extra pupil numbers coming through that a brand new secondary school is now needed to address the significant extra demand in central / south Manchester – with the former Daisy Mill being the ideal location for this."

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Such a shame to see this local landmark being demolished. Could it not have been reused?

By Maisy Dill

Manchester should make better use of its built heritage to differentiate itself from other European competitors, very few of which have ever been globally important in the way that Manchester was.

By Manchester Man

On the day that MCC are reportedly to launch a second CPO for the London Road Fire Station, and rightly so, we have news that they are looking to demolish a landmark building already in their ownership. Daisy Mill might not be listed but it is a distinctive local landmark that represents the industrial history of the city. It’s also huge, in good condition and ripe to be converted into other uses. Too many of these buildings have been lost only to be replaced with poor quality construction, or not at all; cumulatively this serves to erode local character and identity making for a less desirable place to live. There is plenty of publicly owned open land nearby on which to build a new school. This idea is wasteful, myopic and tantamount to cultural vandalism. The council are proving themselves to be poor guardians of the city’s heritage. Not happy.

By M13

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