Manchester City Council

Colour and Chemistry

Two very contrasting experiences without leaving my ward boundaries yesterday. In the morning I went to Hexagon Tower in Blackley Village, a striking sixties-built 14 storey tower, once part of ICI's empire that covered a huge amount of the Irk Valley floor in Blackley. The first dye works at the site started in the eighteenth century growing until by 1961 14,000 people worked there. Now all gone apart from this one 200,000 sq.ft building comprising labs and office space. For the last few years it has operated as managed work space and it is 85% occupied, but yesterday was the official launch of Hexagon Tower becoming part of the BEST network of science parks, so North Manchester now has its very own vertical science park.

The labs in the building are top class. There are a number of international companies like FujiFilm located there, and many of the companies are still involved one way or another in colouring processes harking back to the two hundred year plus history of the site. Largely because of graphene, physics has had a lot of attention in the blog, so it's good to be able to give some attention to chemistry and chemical engineering and a top-class employment creating facility in Crumpsall and Blackley Village ward.

In the afternoon I was at Abraham Moss for the official opening of the school's new primary department and the reopening of this refurbished community facility.The complex now has its own tram stop and over the last few years the High School has been entirely rebuilt with a stunning design for the most recent work. But the really interesting stuff has happened in the remaining original CLASP buildings. These system-built buildings are already forty years old and have exceeded their expected life but the quality of the refurbishment and conversion work is such that they are now better than when they were first built and will probably last another forty years. The Library has now been moved into the Leisure Centre with which it shares an entrance. It's a lovely space which opened two months ago and has already seen a large increase in usage. The remaining former college buildings have been converted into a two-form entry primary school, making Abraham Moss a 3-16 school, new accommodation for Manchester Adult Education Services, a base for our Complex Families team in North Manchester and a host of other users. Walking round the primary school classes you wouldn't know it was a conversion - the quality is at least as good as any of our recent new-builds and they're excellent. Crumpsall and Cheetham now have a community hub to be proud of.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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