"I'd like to reassure people that my decision is in the best interests of our young people" Councillor Margaret Morris, Salford City Council's lead member for Children's Services
At the end of the summer 2010 term, three Salford primary schools – Langworthy Road, Tootal Drive and Seedley – were shut down and merged into the new Willow Tree school which opened in September.
The justification for closing the schools was to reduce surplus places but Willow Tree was built too small – over 100 places too small when it was first conceived, and parents complained about lack of choice for their kids' schooling and the distance they would have to travel to other schools (see here).
"Whilst the admission number for the new school will be lower than the combined admission numbers of the closing schools at Seedley, Langworthy Road and Tootal Drive Primary Schools there will be sufficient places for all children across other schools in the area" said Councillor Margaret Morris, Salford City Council's lead member for Children's Services "Lark Hill primary school will be refurbished to take an increased capacity to help with this.
"I'd like to reassure people that my decision is in the best interests of our young people" she added "and will enable us to provide a higher level of education with greater investment into our primary schools."
Meanwhile, Langworthy Road Primary is being demolished to make way for a new school, Holy Family Roman Catholic Primary, to be built on the site, itself a result of the merger between St James and All Souls.
There were moves, three years ago, to get Langworthy Road Primary nationally listed but these fell through because of the alterations done by the Council to the building over the years. The building is also entered in the Greater Manchester Historic Environment Record and Grade B locally listed, which according to Salford Council policy means that it should "be preserved and wherever possible enhanced".
However, the planning application for the new school stated "that the applicants have looked in detail at various options to retain the existing locally listed building. The constraints on the existing building to meet the requirements of at 21st Century School are acknowledged and it is considered acceptable in this instance for the local listed building to be demolished."
And so another piece of Salford's heritage is in the process of being flattened…
"Although not listed this is an imposing building full of character of local importance that has been a significant centre for the community for 110 years" wrote Andrew Myers, Assistant County Archaeologist in a letter to the Council "It is unfortunate that the proposals do not allow for the retention and reuse of such a locally distinctive historic building."
Instead a documentary record of the school is taking place and items of architectural interest, like the entrance plaques, are being salvaged to be incorporated into the new school sites, although they are crumbling as they're being removed.
Meanwhile, Salford Council is not stating the fate of the historic Seedley and Tootal Drive schools…
"Use of the 'old' or now empty primary school buildings will now go back to the council" says a spokesperson "We are currently considering the options for how the buildings can be used in the future."
"R.I.P langy road you brought me my best in life xx cant believe yet another part of our lives is gonna be flattened!" Wam Bam Sam on Langworthy Road School Facebook site