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Stockport Council News

Dr Ambrose Smith, Former Principal, Aquinas College

Aquinas College Posted on Tue, October 08, 2013 18:13

Despite Sport England’s stipulations Aquinas College decided to deny local people their right to access to the replacement playing fields. Not very Christian of them, was it, especially after they got £42 million of public money to build their college.

Email sent – 16 May 2008 12:37

Dear Dr Smith

Having now had a chance to read through some of the relevant documents a few questions do spring to mind. I would send this to Greg Hill as you suggested but I don’t have his email and I work in a busy cancer department and can’t really spare the time to phone from work. If you let me have his email address I shall contact him in future.

The questions I have are:-

1) The college will need a sinking fund to pay for long-term monitoring of the contamination. Mr. Lamb would, I am sure, be able to confirm that in 2003 the Council demanded developers put aside £250,000 for longterm monitoring by experts of the Adswood site. Has the college accounted for this expense? Will the college or Government be funding this?

2) At the Adswood site there was concern for the surrounding properties and migration of gases, as I am sure Mr. Lamb would be able to confirm. (If not, then I have the documentary evidence). There would appear to be extremely high levels of CO2 and Methane in Zone A of your site. Has a sum been set aside for this potential problem with surrounding houses? If not I think I had better leaflet or knock on doors of the houses surrounding Zone A to tell local people to contact their insurers regarding possible future claims against the college. I believe there may be problems with migration of gas off-site, contamination of local properties during construction and I believe there are issues with the stability of the ground.

3) Given the very high levels of CO2 and Methane, I presume there will be venting of these gases in the area of the college buildings. Is this a correct assumption? From the contamination report Zone A has:-

Methane levels between <0.1 and 4.2v/v%. Elevated methane in boreholes 01 and 04.

CO2 levels <0.1 and 12.8v/v%. Elevated CO2 in boreholes 01, 02, 04, 05 and 06.

Waste Management Paper 27 recommends that private housing with gardens should not be constructed on landfill sites where the methane levels are in excess of 1% v/v or the carbon dioxide levels are in excess of 1.5% v/v., so the above figures are very high.

4) I note that when the buildings in Zone B are demolished, there may be further contamination discovered and potentially this could be very expensive to deal with. Has a contingency fund been set up for this? If it is included in the £42 million and there turns out to be no major problem, would that contingency fund money be returned to the Government?

I am delighted to note that Sport England insists that the playing fields facilities will be open to the wider community. I intend to work with Stepping Hill Area Committee and Victoria Area Committee to make sure the availability of these sporting facilities is well known to the young people of the area. I find many of the above-mentioned councillors indolent and disinterested in young people, but I am very good at wearing them down until they finally take some action. As I understand it the current facilities should be available for local young people to use.

I suppose you don’t have to answer the above questions, but I would then take the issues to the funding authority.

Please pass on my very warmest best wishes to Domenic, his baby and, of course, his cycling shorts.

Kind regards


Shocking air quality in store if bypass is built

Bypass Posted on Tue, October 08, 2013 18:07

They recorded 73mg NO2 (EU limit 40) on the A555 in 2009 but didn’t make it an air quality management area?

Why did they not continue measuring at these sites?

Email to Aquinas College requesting details of contamination disposal

Aquinas College Posted on Tue, October 08, 2013 17:59

Email sent – 29 September 2008 19:29

Dear Mr Hill

Of course, you don’t have to answer me but I would be grateful if you could confirm that the contamination remediation measures which have been carried out are in accordance with those recommended by Faber Maunsell in their report, who sadly felt it unnecessary to comply with BS 10175 in this instance, but never mind.

Also, I would be grateful if you would let me have details of the contaminated waste disposal facility which has been used for the dumping of the contaminated soils.

Many thanks if you are able to oblige.

Kind regards


Theft of public open space and public playing fields (yet again sigh!)

Aquinas College Posted on Tue, October 08, 2013 17:30

Email sent – 13 May 2008 18:55

Dear FoI Officer

Regarding point 4. below, some of the land was/is playing fields. If Sport England is giving the community rights to it in the new development, then they had rights to it before/currently and point 4. is wrong. Local people would not be trespassing on the land – it would be their right to go on it. So, in accordance with the UDP the replacement open space at the college should be open to the public.

I really don’t think the college would win a trespass case in court given the above.

Kind regards



Thursday, April 24, 2008 12:33 PM

Dear Mrs Oliver,

I am writing further to your request for information below.

For ease, your questions have been addressed in corresponding number order:

1. The application was advertised as a departure in the Stockport Express between 7th and 28th April 2007. Responses to this advertisement and the consultation exercise in general were given due consideration when the application was considered by the Victoria Area Committee and the Planning & Highways Committee.

Upon full consideration, the proposed development was not considered to be contrary to the UDP and as such, there was no requirement for it to be referred to the Secretary of State. The reasoning behind this is provided in the analysis of the application which is contained in the attached committee report.

2. This is explained in the attached report but there is no net loss of open space.

3. The response of the EA is explained in the attached report and the permission will include a condition to ensure that appropriate remediation of contamination is undertaken as part of the development.

4. The allocation of land as public open space in the UDP should not be confused with ownership. The UDP allocation is to protect open space for recreational and amenity purposes from a planning perspective; however much allocated open space is in private ownership (clubs, educational establishments etc.). Land can therefore fulfil an open space function in planning terms, yet remain in private ownership and therefore be subject to trespass. In this particular case the issue was not a substantive planning consideration.


Clare Naven
FoI Officer

Enforcement doesn’t exist in Stockport except against the little people

Aquinas College Posted on Tue, October 08, 2013 17:20

Email sent to SMBC – 24 August 2008 13:23

Dear Ms Naven

I learn from local people that Aquinas College is massively ignoring the various planning conditions placed upon their new college development. This is making the lives of local people misery and is also causing damage to trees. Councillors and planning officers have been informed.

Please may I see any correspondence/communications between SMBC and Aquinas college regarding these infringements.

I also am told that work has started on the new college before the replacement land has been purchased from Stockport Sunday School. This should not have happened and we would need to get a story on Channel M and in the Manchester Evening News as to how this has been allowed to happen if this is indeed the case.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards


They got everything wrong, as usual

Aquinas College Posted on Tue, October 08, 2013 17:11

Email sent – 29 September 2008 19:23

Dear Ms Chase

I thought I was right that evidence regarding the disposal of the contamination has to be sent to SMBC. Please see the following from the EA:-


Prior to the commencement of development approved by this planning permission (or such other date or stage in development as may be agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority), a scheme to deal with the risks associated with contamination of the site shall be submitted to and approved, in writing, by the local planning authority. That scheme shall include all of the following elements unless specifically excluded, in writing, by the Local Planning Authority.

1. A desk study identifying:

· all previous uses

· potential contaminants associated with those uses

· a conceptual model of the site indicating sources, pathways and receptors

· potentially unacceptable risks arising from contamination at the site.

2. A site investigation scheme, based on (1) to provide information for an assessment of the risk to all receptors that may be affected, including those off site.

3. The results of the site investigation and risk assessment (2) and a method statement based on those results giving full details of the remediation measures required and how they are to be undertaken.

4. A verification report on completion of the works set out in (3) confirming the remediation measures that have been undertaken in accordance with the method statement and setting out measures for maintenance, further monitoring and reporting.”

I shall ask the FOI Officer, who will ignore me, and then get her legs slapped again by the Information Commission.

Lots of love


LibDem Council abuses planning law, yet again!

Aquinas College Posted on Tue, October 08, 2013 17:03

Email sent – 26 September 2008 17:25

Dear Ms Chase

Many thanks. According to Mr. Schulz you are supposed to go through the FOI Officer, which is illegal because planning matters have to be open anyway.

The Council is refusing to acknowledge any FOI request, which is illegal, and has today had their legs slapped for that from the Information Commissioner. If they persist in what is, in fact, criminal activity, who knows where Mr. Schultz might end up.

I said that the certificates had to be shown to SMBC not the EA, but will check my facts.

Kind regards



Friday, September 26, 2008 1:39 PM

Oops! I’ve just realised that I sent this last e-mail to you in error rather than to Steve Lamb – sorry! I wasn’t sure if I was meant to correspond with you directly or go through our FOI Officer. I hope, however, that you received my earlier e-mail addressing the points you raised below.



26 September 2008 11:18

Ditto my last e-mail – shall I respond? I am only aware that this could be the start of quite an extensive dialogue…..



Email sent 25 September 2008 18:20

Dear Ms Chase

I think you might be wrong here – I think they do have to show SMBC the certificates. I shall check my facts and get back to you.

I would be obliged if you confirm that I have the following facts correct:-

Aquinas commissioned a contamination survey from Faber Maunsell paid for by the taxpayer. It was inadequate but never mind.

Once the application was through planning stage they then employed Greater Manchester Geological Unit (owned by Stockport Council) to commission another survey (paid for by the taxpayer) which demanded less stringent contamination remediation measures. Just trying to check the facts.

I shall cc this to the local press again.

Kind regards



September 25, 2008 1:41 PM

Dear Ms Oliver

In response to your e-mail dated 25th September, I can advise that the College are not under any obligation to provide the Planning Authority with contamination disposal certificates. I suggest that you contact either the Environment Agency or Urban Vision to ascertain if such certificates are required by them. As I stated in my earlier e-mail, conditions on the planning permission require the submission of a Validation Report to confirm that the remediation required has been carried out. This report will be submitted to this Planning Authority in due course.


Jane Chase
Planning Officer