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SALFORD STAR MARY BURNS AWARDS WHITE ELEPHANT
 

Star date: 3rd December 2010

THE SALFORD STAR MARY BURNS AWARDS: Day 3

THE ARROGANT RIDERS OF THE WHITE ELEPHANT AWARD

One great big white elephant stuck in the most prominent place in Salford. It's big. It's white. And it's conceived with all the brains of a rocking horse, wiping out Salford's heritage as it stampedes through logic.

Ladies and Gentlemen. THE ARROGANT RIDERS OF THE WHITE ELEPHANT AWARD goes to…

Please do a drum roll and click here…


Central Salford Mission (URC Church) MARY BURNS AWARD
click image to enlarge

SALFORD CITY COUNCIL!

Yes, the arrogant riders of the white elephant are those from Salford City Council who insist on continuing with the much criticised, controversial Oasis Academy MediaCityUK.

Against all logic the Council granted the Oasis Academy planning permission last week. Here's a bit of history, in the longest commendation in the history of the MARYS…It's long but it's shocking!

Oasis Academy MediaCityUK replaced Hope High School and is currently based up on Eccles Old Road. It was due to move to a more "desirable" location at Salford Quays this year but the date has now been moved to 2012. It was granted planning permission to build on the site of the historic Salford Mission (URC Church) which will now be flattened. Here's everything you need to know…

• Oasis Academy MediaCityUK isn't classified as a `faith school', although it's run by Oasis Community Learning, part of Oasis UK which also runs Oasis Church Salford. Its founder Rev Steve Chalke, preaching at the Salford church, stated "we will end up with a church which is also a school…a school that is also a church…" (more details here)

 It's been well questioned whether the Salford Quays site is suitable for a school – it's on one the busiest main roads in Salford (Trafford Road) and new `super crossings' for kids coming from Ordsall have just been cancelled due to spending cuts. 

 There's no playing fields and students will have to bussed out to Stott Lane, 2.5km away.

 The recent independent 21st Century Commission report on the future of Salford's schools noted: "Although the site is situated close to the tram link between Eccles and Manchester, north south transport links are not good. The site is compact and situated between two busy roads. Outdoor space for recreation and sport would be limited and pupils would have to be transported to playing fields."

 The Oasis Academy is all style over content. The 21st Century Commission noted that "The site proposed for the development has been chosen because of its proximity to the Quays and because it is felt it will make an iconic statement about the importance of education in the inner city".

• This backs up Salford Star research which showed that the Academy is being built to fit the image of MediaCityUK rather than as a great place to put a school. A few years ago a Salford Council report looking into possible future sites for the school stated that being near to Salford Quays was "a fundamental priority". The report added that "the most logical options" were the Blodwell Street and Churchill Way sites but both had "image issues". Two sites in Ordsall itself, just across Trafford Road from the Quays, were written off because one was "not as desirable as Salford Quays" and, for the other, "perceptions of the area may affect enrolment" (more details here)

• Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company isn't happy that the school, on an "important gateway site", won't have a "strong building corner feature" and insisted, as part of its planning permission, that the corner site has "strong vertical elements in the form of flagpoles and planting". So much for `the importance of education in the inner city'.

• The Academy is well out of the catchment area for the former Hope High school - according to a 2006 census, over 60% of pupils for Hope High were drawn from the local area. The new school is nowhere near the old site.

• The 900 place Academy (plus a 250 place 6th Form) is also estimated by Salford City Council's own figures to be over 65% empty by the academic year 2014/15. The 21st Century Commission report added: "Current numbers at the Academy are 470 in the main school with 40 students in the 6th form. Projections from the local authority are that this number will fall to 329 in the main school by 2016/17. On this basis, even if the projections are very pessimistic, it is difficult to see the 1,150 places being needed in the foreseeable future."

• A Salford Council report this year revealed that it expects "approximately 300" of the school's places to be taken up by kids from other authorities within the Greater Manchester area. But the 21st Century Commission reports that other schools in neighbouring boroughs have the same idea to provide media skills schools for MediaCityUK, which will provide "competition".

• The Oasis Academy is the least favoured school in Salford, according to figures issued by the Manchester Evening News (see here). This year there were only 87 first choice applications for the school, for 180 places.

 The 21st Century Commission report advised: "Despite the advanced stage of planning, put on hold the building of the new Academy at the Quays and merge the current Oasis Academy with Buile Hill into a new trust school or an Academy on the Buile site."

All this, and yet Salford City Council is ploughing ahead with support for the Oasis Academy MediaCityUKwhich isn't even under its control.

In response to the independent 21st Century Commission report Salford Council states…

"The City Council Cabinet is clear that the Oasis Academy development will continue to go ahead as planned; and therefore as a consequence this aspect of the report is not being put forward for future comment and response."

Arrogance of the highest extreme, we think.

Ladies and Gentlemen. THE ARROGANT RIDERS OF THE WHITE ELEPHANT AWARD goes to…

SALFORD CITY COUNCIL!!!

Applause.

See Mary Burns Awards:

Day 1 click here

Day 2 click here

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

Ed . wrote
at 8:26:33 AM on Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Not surprised this mess is a total failure. The 'input' of the inept Clowncil ensured this was inevitable . Good luck and Best Wishes to the Strikers . Onward to Vicory .
 
Matthew wrote
at 10:05:27 AM on Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Steve, I really hope you are wrong about the potential for accidents on Trafford Road, but I suspect you won't be. Hundreds of young people crossing Trafford Road at one of the busiest times of the day could potentially cause a huge problem and is an issue that will have to be looked at in detail between now and the opening of the new building. Personally, I would like to see a bridge put across Trafford Road, but that is never going to happen. As for the multi-use games area, the organisation running the school calls itself Oasis COMMUNITY Learning. Therefore the school's facilities should be open to the COMMUNITY when not in use by the school. That is not an unreasonable position to take.
 
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 10:04:46 AM on Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Hi all, as you all know i've been following this story for a bit now. I cannot help feel that this development on the quays (neatly labelled to tie itself to the BBC move), is nothing more than a pawn in another mass land grab by the council - The RC Component of Building Schools for the Future was put on hold because it mean't closure for a successful school, in part the land Hope High (Now the MC:UK Academy) will be sold for development to pay for it - as All Hallows wont be moving there Having seen the development of the All Hallows site since 1990s...wouldn't it make more sense to leave the school where it is? I say this because most of the RC schoolkids from Broughton, Ordsall, Weaste, Kersal, Langworthy and Pendleton and go there? And given the fact that most (if not all) of Ordsall has been handed over to the developers, isn't it time the council mandarins started emphasising the positives rather than the negatives of the area?
 
Steve Middleton wrote
at 6:39:44 AM on Tuesday, December 7, 2010
By the far the biggest problem with moving the former Hope High School to the proposed site is the safety of the children. At the time of the planning meeting, the Pupil Travel Plan had not been approved by Urban Vision. Planning should not have been granted on this basis alone - it should have been deferred until the Pupil Travel Plan was approved and in place. Further, while phase II of the Quays Gateway project (aka moving the 2 blue cranes to the M602 roundabout) will now go ahead - one important element of phase II, the 3 "super crossings" outside the new Oasis Academy, will NOT be funded by the Council. Instead, the responsibility will fall on the Ordsall & Langworthy Community Committee to exhaust it's road safety budget to pay for these super crossings. I believe these crossings should be funded by Oasis. GMPTE expressed concerns in their response to the planning application that there were not enough bus services to cope, nowhere for buses to wait, and that pupils will have to alight on bus stops located on Trafford Road. Yes, at the height of rush hour, your kids will be trying to cross one of the busiest dual carriagways in Salford. Mark my words, there will be accidents. I could go on about the fact that the multi-use game facility will not be available for community use, but I'm sure we all agree that children's safety comes first...
 
Nachtschlepper wrote
at 6:39:02 AM on Tuesday, December 7, 2010
I see Matthew is still working for the Oasis PR company. This is really just another example of the Council ignoring the people it should be representing. They ignore all evidence that does not support what they deem to be the correct path. Is this because they are to stupid to graps what is being said? Is it because they have already made up their minds with the help of the vested interest involved? Whatever the reason one thing is clear; this so called accademy will not be used by the people of Salford to the extent it should be & would be were it placed in a more suitable location. I know that those at the funhouse have decided not to enrich our lives by commenting on this particular site. Though being invertebrates what should one expect?
 
Matthew wrote
at 6:38:44 AM on Tuesday, December 7, 2010
I suppose the Council didn't choose a site in Ordsall because the school is associated with MediaCity, and they therefore wanted to locate it as close to the MediaCity development as possible. Other sites closer to MediaCity were considered, but a combination of land values and safety considerations made them prohibitive. At the end of the day, Ordsall is about to get new, modern school and community facilities. Why can you not be happy about that instead of finding reasons to criticise?
 
Salford Star wrote
at 2:43:47 PM on Monday, December 6, 2010
Just one point Matthew (see below) - if the new school is to "provide the Ordsall community with a secondary school within walking distance" why did they not put it in Ordsall - and why did the Council report state that "perceptions of the area may affect enrolment" if it was in Ordsall?
 
Matthew wrote
at 10:13:07 AM on Monday, December 6, 2010
A few points: The Salford Central Mission may well be historic. I do not deny that it provided a great many social services to the people of Salford in the past. The important question is whether it is doing so at present or is likely to do so in the future. The answer to both questions is no, at least not without massive internal reconstruction which would fundamentally alter the building's character (and which the Salford Star would no doubt complain about). The building in its current form is useless, so it should therefore be demolished with something useful built on the site. I agree that the Trafford Road/Broadway site is not the ideal location for a school. However, the Blodwell Street site is also located close to a busy main road, commonly known as the M602. The great advantage of the chosen site is that it will provide the Ordsall community with a secondary school within walking distance, which it has not had since the closure and demolition of Windsor High School. Merging the Oasis Academy with Buile Hill on the Buile Hill site would not solve this problem. The lack of on-site playing fields is not an ideal situation, but a great many schools have the same problem and they cope. There is no reason why the Oasis Academy cannot do the same. The lack of demand for places at the Oasis Academy may, in part, result from negative impressions of the school in its current accommodation. When the school moves to the Quays, the quality of education is likely to improve as a result of the superior facilities provided, leading to increased applications. The development of the Oasis Academy on the Quays site can only be a good thing for the local area. It will provide educational and community facilities that the area does not currently have, and as such, I welcome it, even if the new building comes at the cost of a century-old building which has reached the end of its useful life.
 
Fred wrote
at 7:24:56 AM on Monday, December 6, 2010
Another excellent article highlighting the dysfunctional Children's Services and council. SCC going against good expert advice and common sense to pursue it's own agenda. Also worth noting that; a lot of the accomodation around the Quays is 1 & 2 bed apartments, ie. NO KIDS. The shortage of space and playing field was one of the reasons the council said St George's should be closed, but doesn't seem to be an issue here
 
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