15 October 2008 20:35
Thank you for your message – we will ensure that we monitor your areas of concern.


Jane Bracewell


Email sent 15 October 2008 19:37

Dear Ms Bracewell

Many thanks for your reply – it is much appreciated.

I am glad the LSC will meet regularly with the college to keep an eye on things. £42 million of taxpayers’ money is a huge sum. I will keep checking under the FOI as to the outcome.

The areas of concern are:-

1) Contamination

I believe £1.65 million was set aside to deal with this. If things aren’t done properly, then the LSC will have paid a huge sum of money for a college in which parents will not have confidence to send their children. This is why at this stage the contamination issues have to be closely monitored. I am afraid things are done very badly in general in Stockport and it is up to council taxpayers such as me to keep an eye on contamination issues – the Council doesn’t bother (documentary evidence available on request). The planning committee document dated 13/3/08 states:

“A geo-Environmental Report has been submitted with the application ……..The report also asvises that there is contamination above Human Health assessment criteria throughout the site with the most significant hazards being within the existing area of open space to the west of the site. In order to remediate this area it is recommended that the site needs to be excavated to levels of up to 4m below ground to remove the contaminents and then refilled with imported material.”

Local people tell me, and indeed I have seen for myself, that this has not been done. The ground certainly wasn’t excavated to up to 4m below ground.

I have asked for the contamination disposal certificates from SMBC. These should have been in the Council’s possession before building work started. I am not confident that Stockport Council will be able to provide these.

The LSC might like to check for itself at this early stage that contamination remediation has been carried out to the required level to avoid potentially embarrassing facts being revealed in the press at a later date, as mentioned, which might destroy confidence in the safety of the new college.

Of course, everything might have been carried out perfectly correctly, but given that building workers on this site have not had any protective clothing, this is something I have reason to doubt. As I work in a busy cancer centre, I know the misery that cancer can cause and to expose people unnecessarily to risk is unforgivable.

2) Local Open Space

The ground the College is taking is Local Open Space. It states in the town’s Unitary Development Plan that replacement open space will have to be provided for current users. It states in the documents produced by the College for the planning application that there was dog fouling on the land, which indicates the land was being used by dogwalkers. I believe the College fenced it off to prevent people using it in the past, but it didn’t stop them and as this is the only local open space in a very built up area – why should it have done? So, my feeling is that when the college is built, some open space will have to be set aside for the use of local residents, which is not featured in the current plans. The College could face repeated instances of mass trespass of local people and would face huge legal bills in prosecuting them with no guarantee of success, given what is stated in the UDP about replacement open space having to be provided. I think this replacement local open space should be negotiated with the College to avoid future expensive legal disputes or local people simply using the land with the consequent security issues for the college.

3) Playing Fields

Again from the planning committee document 13/3/08:-

“The playing field or playing fields which would be lost as a result of the proposed development would be replaced by a playing field or playing fields of an equivalent or better quality and of equivalent and better quantity, in a suitable location and subject to the equivalent or better management arrangements, prior to the commencement of the development.”

Again, this is not the case and we cannot rely on SMBC to enforce planning conditions. Local people tell me that the College has prevented the public having access to the playing fields in the past. I do not know if this is true or not but have no reason to doubt local people.

4) Sports Hall

I note from documents seen under the FOI from the LSC that the sports facilities are to be a Stockport resource. Could you please, if you have time, let me know which citizens are likely to be able to use these facilities?

5) Increase in pupil numbers

Apparently because of past planning abuses, the College will not substantially be allowed to increase its pupil numbers. I know from documents seen at the College under the FOIA that the College is struggling financially. I think everything needs to be sorted out at this early stage, as expensive costs to deal with future problems is something the College would appear to have no funds to deal with.

If you have been, thanks for listening.

Kind regards