A planning application has been submitted for a new 1,200-place school to be built by Laing O’Rourke on Nutsford Vale in Gorton, despite objections from local residents and councillors.
Manchester City Council is proposing the school in Gorton as part of its Educational Basic Needs Programme to address a shortage of school places across the city.
The project will include the construction of a steel-framed three-storey school building, a sports hall, parking, and sports pitches on the site off Matthews Lane, which was formerly a landfill and is now a park and community woodland space.
Laing O’Rourke, which is attached to the project as main contractor and principal designer, will construct the majority of the main school building using “off-site construction techniques”, according to planning documents.
Subject to planning approval, Laing O’Rourke aims to start on site in early 2018, and complete in summer 2019.
Previous schools built in this way by Laing O’Rourke in Greater Manchester include the 1,200-place Deans Trust school in Ardwick.
The professional team includes Ellis Williams as architect, Turley as planner, Ramboll as structural engineer, and Mott MacDonald as services engineer.
Following three public consultations, the size of the school has been reduced from 1,800 places to 1,200, and the height of the main building has been reduced from four storeys to three.
However, local residents are still aiming to halt the construction of the new school, and have launched a petition against developing on the land. The school is estimated to take up roughly one-third of the Nutsford Vale site.
Residents argued that the site, as a former landfill, was home to “domestic, commercial and industrial waste including hazardous chemical waste that may be carcinogenic, corrosive, and poisonous”, and said the site would be “unsafe” for children. there are also objections due to the loss of green space.
Local councillors, including Gorton representative Julie Reid, have also argued against the proposal.
According to planning documents and a remediation strategy prepared by Ramboll, Laing O’Rourke plans to replace top soil in soft landscaped areas with clean imported materials.
Laing O’Rourke added: “Mitigation measures for each environmental risk identified will be developed in a collaborative way, including relevant subcontractors and individuals carrying out the works to ensure suitable and practicable measures are put in place.
“Environmental performance will be continually assessed and improvements will be undertaken as required throughout the duration of the project.”
The school was approved by the council executive in December 2016, which had argued the site was the only council-owned land in central or north Manchester capable of providing the necessary number of school places for local children.