Hydrock nets geo-environmental and geo-technical role on multi-million-pound Belle Vue Academy site

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14th September, 2021

We’ve been appointed by Sir Robert McAlpine to provide ground investigations and remedial designs ahead of the delivery of the multi-million-pound Belle Vue Academy, a 92,000 sq. ft. secondary school planned for the site of a closed down cinema in East Manchester.

For more than 140 years, the site was home to Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, which included various buildings and a boating lake in the south of the site, before it was infilled back in 1968. Due to the site’s history, our geo-environmental specialists will be making sure there are no concerning contamination issues, such as ground gases or asbestos containing materials.

Richard Hyder, Senior Design Manager at Sir Robert McAlpine, said:

“We’d like to thank Hydrock for helping us unlock the complex ground conditions at this site to allow this much-needed school development to progress. We look forward to completing the project which will create an excellent facility for the local community and bring a dilapidated brownfield site back into beneficial use.”

Our team is currently undertaking risk assessments based on soil and water samples from the site investigation. Ahead of construction, we’ll also be providing the contractor’s civil and structural engineer with the geotechnical assessment for the design of the foundations and pavements.

Danny Hope, Regional Director at Hydrock, said:

“We’re delighted to work with Sir Robert McAlpine on this key transformation project. At Hydrock, we believe in creating places, communities and infrastructure that people can be proud of. This excellent education facility is typical of a project that generates long-term social value, promising to meet local community needs with more secondary school provision and making a difference for people in East Manchester.”

The seven-hectare site is now owned by Manchester City Council and this redevelopment will meet the need for an additional secondary school in East Manchester to serve the area’s growing population.

Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine has been appointed to build the 1,200-place school facility, designed by Space Architects. Work commenced in Spring 2021 with a targeted completion date of late 2022.

When complete, the new school in Gorton will be operated by the Co-op Academies’ Trust, a high-performing multi-academy trust sponsored, and later accelerated by, a £3.6m investment by the Co-op Group.

Under plans lodged in January, the development will include a three-storey main school building linked to a sports hall block of two-storeys, a 93-space car park, a drop-off area, grass football pitches and tennis and basketball courts.

Built in 1989 as part of the Belle Vue entertainment complex, the 14-screen cinema closed permanently last year at the start of the pandemic.

Images courtesy of Space Architects