The MMU Proposal – Making It Happen

The MMU Proposal

Members will recall that ARAG has developed a proposal to create a University Technical College in Alsager on the MMU site. Our proposal is in line with both the Town Plan and the Cheshire East Local Plan in proposing mixed use. Consequently, the proposal allows for a fair and reasonable level of residential building on the brownfield footprint of the site in a way that preserves the sports facilities. Demanding significantly higher levels of such residential building than is indicated in the adopted Town Plan represents corporate greed prepared to sacrifice the sports and other facilities at the expense of the community, especially it’s younger people.

The details can be read here:

Also some additional information on UTCs is given at the end of this post.

ARAG presented these ideas to the Town Council at a meeting on Wednesday 3/4/2013, together with Steve Wade who represents the Alsager Sports and Recreation Association and their campaign to protect the Sports facilities of the MMU. The response from the Town Council was mixed but generally positive towards the ARAG proposal.

Councillor David Brown was also present at the meeting and he requested that the Town Council gets back to him to let him know what it wants him to do.

While there is clearly a lot of detail to be sorted out and a lot of work to be done, ARAG believes that this proposal is the only current proposal which will retain the sports fields and recently constructed buildings. ARAG also believes that it is the only strategy which will achieve the stated aspirations of the Town Council.

We think it is very important for residents to express their views to their elected Town Councillors. In this way, when the Council does meet, it will have an informed view of Community aspirations.

DTZ wants to destroy these facilities and build 500+ houses. This is a one off opportunity to resist that commercial pressure and bring something really worthwhile to Alsager.

Please contact your councillors so that they can take your views into account.

Telephone contact details for the Alsager Councillors can be found here:

You can e-mail the Town Council at:

clerk@alsagertowncouncil.org.uk

and request that the mail is passed onto your councillor and taken into account in their deliberations. Town Council support is essential for the success of this proposal.

David Brown, the Deputy leader of Cheshire East has been supportive of the proposal and is also essential to the success of this proposal.  He can be contacted at:

david.brown@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Fiona Bruce, our MP has already given consistent public support to this proposal.

Additional Information about the UTC.

UTCs are funded by the Government (Department for Education) and supported by the Baker Dearing Charitable Foundation. Given the previous level of public investment in this site, there is a clear case to be made for that investment to be ‘recovered’ for the public purse.

The University Technical College (UTC) would be a collaborative educational initiative involving a University and Alsager School. It is very important to stress that the purpose of a UTC in Alsager is not to compete with existing provision but to complement and enhance it. The kind of vocational programmes on offer would allow additional choices to be made by young people in the 14-19 age range as well as providing work experience with major employers in the sub-region. The UTC would have a distinctive identity in relation to professions in engineering and new digital technologies.

The proposal could also draw in other educational partners so that some of the programmes could be offered at other sites such as, for instance, South Cheshire College of Further Education. It is known that there is some interest at CheshireEast Council in the establishment of a UTC for the region; the question, therefore, for the Town Council and others to address is whether this is established in Alsager or elsewhere? If the latter, it could not be guaranteed that the UTC would not provide competition for existing educational provision in the region.

A clear benefit for the Town and the community is that the infrastructure necessary for the UTC would provide the basis upon which the sports facilities could be both retained and managed for community use. while also allowing the School to expand its provision and offer different kinds of programmes of study.

It is not implied that the process of establishing a UTC in Alsager would be a simple matter. It will require political will and a commitment to open and transparent consultation with all potential partners in the enterprise in order to make it happen. The point that needs to be addressed by those who are opposed to the proposal is: What alternative do you have to offer that will lead to the preservation of the sports facilities on the MMU that have cost the taxpayer milions of pounds? And once the sports fields and buildings have gone they will not be replaced. This is a one-off chance to do something bold and ambitious for Alsager and its community.