Way back in Issue 8 of Salford Star, we reported that, despite opposition from local residents, the Council was determined to site the new Walkden High School on a quiet estate, right next to a huge mobile phone mast and the busy A580.
Outline Planning Permission papers from last year stated that "The assessment found that the southern area of the Playing Fields Site adjacent to the busy A580 East Lancs Road is within a designated Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) for Nitrogen Oxide and given the existing high levels of traffic…the need for adequate ventilation is stressed to adequately mitigate the impact of air pollution on end users."
It also stated that there should be "measures needed to bring noise levels down to an acceptable level, including the provision of acoustic barriers along site boundaries and around play areas".
Over a year later and the final planning permission papers for the school submitted today contain all the Council's answers…
When the school windows facing the East Lancs are shut the noise level is acceptable, however "when open the internal noise levels would exceed the standard set out in Building Bulletin 93". In other words, `Shut the windows!'
The same with that pesky Nitrogen Oxide and the shocking air quality…The Planning Papers state… "The A580 East Lancashire Road is a clear source of both noise and air pollution, therefore the building has been designed to include a fully sealed faēade to reduce the impact…" You what? A `faēade'? It appears to be a poncy word for `façade' but it's not in any dictionary that we know, so we'll take it as being that the `state of the art' school will be sealed up to prevent any noise or air pollution?
Parents shouldn't worry, though, because "the internal ventilation system would allow for classrooms to be cooled and ventilated without the need to open windows".
Brilliant!!! These planners have got it all sussed!!! Er, what happens at playtime? Are kids going to be sealed up and not allowed to play out? The Planning Papers don't mention anything about this…