www.Poundswick .org.uk

Poundswick to be demolished!

Preface: This page was written in late 2008 when news broke of the planned construction of the Manchester Enterprise Academy and of the ultimate demolition of all the original Poundswick buildings. . . .

No, this is not a joke.  During the summer of 2008 Poundswick's local residents were circulated by Manchester City Council about proposals to build a "Manchester Enterprise Academy", which appears to be a joint enterprise between the Council and local employers.  The primary employer ('lead sponsor') is Manchester Airport.  Presumably employers are weary of having to recruit people who can't read or write and would like to have some say in what youngsters are taught in order to make them vaguely useful as employees.  Perhaps it will soon be possible to take an 'A' level in Baggage Handling or Air Traffic Control, and if this is the sort of thing they have in mind it's probably better than they've got now.  Perhaps the principle will be extended to train plumbers, electricians, carpenters, bricklayers, turners and fitters, you know, the sort of things that used to be taught in Technical Colleges.  Yes, I can feel myself positively warming to the idea.

Sadly, one of the letters contains the following 21st century-speak which doesn't fill me with much confidence:

"Manchester Enterprise Academy will connect business and education within an Enterprise Learning Journey which offers choice and opportunity for all students, as the hub of the community, providing new opportunities for the residents of Wythenshawe and beyond"  I promise you that I have copied these words accurately.  The letter goes on to say: "The Academy will have a strong business work ethic, providing students with practical and relevant work life experience, with technologically driven  learning opportunities. . . . . To support the Academy, a new Academy building, is to be constructed which will replace the existing Parklands High School. . . . .  The building works will involve a package of new build, refurbishment and demolition to deliver an inspirational learning experience. The building programme is anticipated to start in January 2009."

A second letter relates to the actual planning application, which is summarised as: "Redevelopment of school, involving erection of three storey building to form 750 place academy plus 120 place Sixth Form facility including demolition of existing school buildings, retention of sports hall and community building, and associated car parking and landscaping works."

The Planning Application and supporting plans can be viewed at
www.manchester.gov.uk/planning/publicaccess and the application number is 087475/VO/2008/S2.  It's clear from the plans that all the original 1956-vintage buildings are to be demolished.

Demolition timetable

The Academy is being built on the existing site in the corner bounded by Greenwood Road and Simonsway.  The only parts of the school that got in the way were the old sixth-form centre (more recently used for teaching music and arts) which was built in the early seventies, and the original 1956-vintage caretaker's bungalow.  Towards the end of January 2009 the area containing these was fenced off and demolition commenced immediately.

The new building is not expected to open until the autumn of 2010.  Parklands High School closed at the end of the summer term 2009, so it survived for just ten years.  I never liked the name anyway.

The Academy as an institution opened for business in September 2009 using all the original Poundswick buildings and this arrangement will continue until the new building is complete in 2010.  Poundswick proper will then be demolished, probably commencing in the autumn of 2010.

For more information it's worth doing a Google search for 'Manchester Enterprise Academy'. That's how I found this artist's impression of the completed building and also discovered that  Principal of the MEA is a Ms. Marie Quayle who was previously Head Teacher at a school in Liverpool.

As works progress I will endeavour to take photographs, but living over a hundred miles away it's quite possible that I might miss important parts of the action.  I would therefore encourage any fellow Poundswickians (or others!) to take photos if you happen to be in the area and to e-mail them to me.  You can view the results of our combined efforts using the link below: