Specialist FE college on site

Work has started on the new £6.9m Bridge College in East Manchester by Manchester College, Manchester City Council and educational charity the Together Trust.

The further education college will cater for students with learning difficulties, disabilities and complex needs, and is arguably the first of its kind in the region.

The 28,000 sq ft building is being delivered by Wates Construction and will also contain speech, physio, hydro and occupational therapies. Construction is due to complete in September 2012.

The Pottery Lane site formerly housed Rolls-Royce's Crossley Works, named after the Crossley brothers who founded the gas engine company in 1867. Coincidentally, the Crossleys were heavily involved in the establishment of the Together Trust's first refuge homes in the city centre in 1870.

"The start of the construction work is a real landmark for the project and means we're one step closer to bringing first class educational facilities to East Manchester and the surrounding areas," said David Marriott, chief executive of the Together Trust. "By sharing knowledge and expertise, the Manchester College and Bridge College have created a project that will give regional and local residents with complex needs access to some of the best, most innovative services in the UK."

The development is funded by Barclays Corporate. The deal was arranged by Andy Ingham, education relationship director at Barclays Corporate in Manchester.

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"Coincidentally, the Crossleys were heavily involved in the establishment of the Together Trust’s first refuge homes in the city centre in 1870" What a fascinating and poignant bit of detail about this project. Just a shame that no fragment of the original factory was retained and incorporated into the project, demonstrating once again how little regard the city has for its own industrial heritage.

By Cross Lee