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Lib-Dems resign in school-move row

Date published: 03 January 2014

TWO Liberal Democrat members of Saddleworth Parish Council have resigned over Saddleworth School’s proposed move to Diggle.

Councillor Mike Buckley, leader of the Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG), and Councillor Lesley Schofield have both campaigned for the new £17million school to be rebuilt on its existing Uppermill site.

They claim local Lib-Dems have joined Labour and actively support the move.

Councillor Buckley, of Dobcross, said: “We have always campaigned locally with this as one of our main manifesto pledges, recognising the people of Saddleworth want to see its green countryside and villages maintained and passed on, unspoiled, to future generations.

“The planned move of Saddleworth School will destroy the character of a beautiful valley. Acres of farmland will be sacrificed for no good reason other than it’s easier to build on open countryside than on an already-developed site in Uppermill.

“An open valley will give way to a three-storey glass block, a huge new sports hall and two large playing fields created by bulldozing the natural contours of the valley. It will be surrounded by an oppressive two-metre high metal fence and extensive highway engineering of the only access road will destroy its village character. The rural setting of the canal and its popular towpath walk will be lost forever. This is too high a price to pay for convenience and expediency.

“I expected that the Lib-Dems would have challenged the decision by the council to relocate the school.

Instead, ignoring local opinion, they have closed ranks with their Labour colleagues. I do not wish to remain in a party that has closed its ears to local views and has cast aside its principles so conveniently.”

He intends to continue on Saddleworth Parish Council as an independent.

Councillor Schofield, a mother of two, who lives in Uppermill, said: “My allegiances have always been with the people of Saddleworth — I am determined to do what is in the best interests of the district.

“The Liberal Democrats have shown they are willing to ride roughshod over the views of local people.”

Saddleworth Lib-Dem councillors and parish council members Alan Roughley, Derek Heffernan and Garth Harkness said: “We are disappointed Mike has chosen to leave the Liberal Democrats. We respect his desire to preserve Saddleworth’s heritage and anticipate being able to collaborate with him on many aspects of parish council work.”


At last! Local politicians with integrity! They put their former colleagues to shame.

I think this man just about sums up how detached from reality Saddleworth residents have become.

Mass immigration has led to such a shortage of homes, school places, hospital beds etc etc. As the party which most supports unrestricted immigration Buckley should realise that there is a cost, and why should Saddleworth be expected to avoid it?
Many open valleys will have to be built on, as will much of the countryside.
Take a look at the Frankfurt Marxist's design for destruction of the West!

Did he jump or was he pushed, could the real reason for Mike Buckley's resignation be that he was asked to step down from his position as Liberal Democrat Leader on Saddleworth Parish Council. Could he confirm he was aware that the Lib Dems on the Parish Council were actively seeking a new leader.

Will these two parish Councillors now stand down from the parishas they were elected on a Libdem ticket people voted for them on that basis stand as I dependants now and see if you are re-elected oops sorry you won't as it will cost money will be the cry.

So he hasn't resigned then, just left the Lib Dems. He will be back with the Lib Dems when this has blown over.. Why do we need a parish council when we already have NINE borough councillors for Saddleworth?

Could Parish Councillor Mike Buckley explain why his last Oldham Council election address showed him standing outside the buildings of the former Shaw Pallets works at Diggle. He stated under the photograph "this should be the site of the new Saddleworth School". So much for his integrity that he now resigns from the LibDems because his party agree with Labour that the present School ste in Uppermill is unsuitable.

How can we take Mike Buckley seriously when he featured in Elwyn Watkins Lib Dem electoral literature supporting a move to the Diggle site? Typical double standards

Was cllr Buckley asked to step down or not? Surely common sense would tell you that if you leave any group the honourable thing would be to leave completely you can't have your cake and eat it. In this case perhaps you can

What is this chap Flake talking about? Does he think it's either a school in Diggle or no school? It's simply a question of where, not if, and anyone who's ever driven down Huddersfield Road in Diggle will know that building a school on the Diggle site will create an access nightmare. For heaven's sake get off your blinkered anti-Saddleworth horse and look at the facts of the matter.

Archie is right, anyone who has had first hand experience of the actual (not made up) wool road nightmare would seriously resist this farcical inept decision. The best performing school in greater Manchester tried a stunt like this only a few years ago, re Heaton Park and also ended up redeveloping the existing site sucessfully, I could understand putting it on Robert Fletchers old site access great scope superb, Diggle a big no no, Oldham Council planning another "Royal George" perhaps!

Very confusing Didn’t the Lib Dems just support a new school and this is more important than some land that will have houses built on it? I cannot understand the aggression if Diggle is the only option then they need to support it or have no school. How can you have a go at people for supporting a new school? People can keep saying it is a matter of where the school goes but if it is only Diggle that meets the criteria then that is where it will have to go.

Archie. Did it never cross your mind that women might be allowed to have opinions too?
To make matters worse you haven't read my post which talks about the necessity of building - not necessarily the school, and how the Lib Dems policies have led to it.

Long before the site of a new school in Saddleworth was discussed, it was clear that a replacement building would be needed. At that point the site in Greenfield [where Tesco is now] ought to have been earmarked. The playing fields are behind the site, it has rail and bus links and would have been in the centre of the area. Why this was not done? Are more shops or business premises are needed on the site of the present school? Does the Council own the old pallet works? If not, who does?

Earth shattering news! I couldn't sleep last night.

cllr Buckley has tried his hardest. but its clear the decisions have been made a long long time ago and no one is going to stop ombc from getting their own way.

cllr buckley was all for the school on shaws pallet works.

but the new school isnt even on this site! its the green field site at the front (industrial use only under udp) and green belt to the side.

shaws pallet works itself is not being built on at all!

so potential other developments in the future.

like 150 - 200 houses perhaps?

so now that the school is almost a certainty,

i suggest that oldham council begins starting on the road improvement works they say they will do to huddersfield road in diggle where all the residents have had concerns.

the common sense approach would be to sort out all these problems firstly before any construction traffic begins to trundle into diggle.

but then again just looking at ombc's record on maintaining the roads properly and safely, its apparrent this wont happen any time soon!

It's always funny reading the Saddleworth crowd complaining about how "the green fields" "our unspoilt valleys" are being changed or developed.

Look at all the roads, the houses, the pylons, the stone walls, the field boundaries, the railways, the viaducts. Do you think they always existed too? THEY WERE BUILD ON GREEN FIELDS!

Do you think the existing Saddleworth school land was always used? No, it was once green fields.

Sure, OVER-development can be bad. Just be realistic for once!

@fedupoldhamer - why do you persist in suggesting this is solely a Council decision? The move to Diggle is supported by Head Teacher, School Governors, local Parish councillors, parents and residents. Councillor Buckley himself supported this site when Elwyn Watkins was standing for Parliament. Sad that you try and twist something to support your anti Council agenda

@Bramble. No it's not. feel free to produce one Diggle resident who is in favour. The views of anyone else are irrelevant.

on dear bramble! do keep up! i thought you lived in saddleworth after all!
cllr buckley was not in support this site.
he was in favour of the mill site.

the current proposal is on land adjacent to the mill.

its rather interesting after i have discussed the financial and suitability issues of the new site based on my experience of school construction projects i have worked on with mr milburn and cllr lord they both seemed quite concerned with my points.

yet still they support it? strange

@ProDriver - that's a very misguided and childish view. Why should a new school for all of Saddleworth only be decided based on views of people who live in Diggle? As a Saddleworth resident with a child who may one day go to this school I should be allowed an opinion as should governors and staff who work there!

@ProDriver - see article on school move dated 19th December. There was a post on 1st January by Moondog who describes themself as a local resident in favour of the move. There you go, one resident produced for you

@bramble. What right have you or anyone else who doesn't live in Diggle got to foist this development upon them? The answer is of course NONE whatsoever.

The new school is not going to be on the brownfield footprint of the old pallet works. It is not going to be accommodated without significant loss of land & change to infrastructure that will ruin the village.

There is no reason why the current school site cannot be re-developed.

funny how the subject matter of the new school extends as far as lees.
and even that far away from diggle residents with future saddleworth school pupils are against the new site.

many are ex pupils who realise that the proposals dont stack up.

i've done a estimated figure of how much the school will actually cost based on area of site, building type & number of pupils. it comes out at nearly £20 million and that doesnt include the road improvement works either.

and we only have £17 million!

@fedupoldhamer - clutching at straws. What is the distance between the mill and this adjacent land? It's the same location and you're being petty. Most of the reporting and comments are based on the mill site. I imagine Mr Milburn and Mr Lord were humouring you as this is apparently another example of your expertise that you have passed on after a decision is made

if its clutching at straws they why do all three sites have different classifications under the councils own unitairy development plan.

the mill site is brownfield. this should be easy to develop on. this is remaining in ownership of the site owners.

the front fields are classed as greenfield. these can be developed on for the classification set out by the udp. in this case industrial use only.

the side fields are greenbelt. these cannot be developed on inless a valid reason is made.

its the councils own rules and its breaking them.

if the council had the best interests in the area and its residents it would be only building on the brownfield site.

that site is remaining under the current ownership.

so potential new developments will be cropping up in the future i predict.

if Mr Milburn and Mr Lord were humouring me then im concerned if thats their attitude on such a serious matter as childrens education.

i say build it. if the money runs out mcmahon should resign.

@ProDriver - I see you have ignored the proof there are people in Diggle who welcome the development. Why should some unhappy residents of one village potentially cost the rest of the people in Saddleworth the chance of a new school? This is for the whole area not just Diggle. There have been reports stating redevelopment is not viable on the current site which is why the move is happening.

Flake, where in your post does it mention that you're a woman? And I did read your post, which came over as nothing more than a thinly disguised anti-immigration rant, which has nothing to do with building a school in Diggle, which is the subject of this debate.

Two Saddleworth toy-town Parish councillors have resigned from the LibDem Party. The rest of the Borough's residents are quaking in their shoes.

and as for the proof of people in diggle who are for the new school. elsewhere these people have been proven to be just mischief makers who have other agendas. they are not the true representation on diggle residents.

i as yet have to see any of these documents stating the redevelopment on the existing site is not viable.

bearing in mind im a member of the technical group involved in the viability proposals of the existing site.

does this document actually exist?

make it public if it does!

@fedupoldhamer - at last you show your true colours. How can anyone be expected to take your comments on board when you have confirmed you have a personal involvement in the process. You can't offer any unbiased opinion if you're working on the current site project. Very naughty to suggest anyone from Diggle who claims to welcome the school is a "mischief maker". Very one sided, blinkered and sweeping generalisation as usual

True colours? Hahaha!
The true colours of a person who joined a voluntary technical group who offered their technical expertise to find a suitable solution to the area that I live in, the secondary school that I went to and helping the borough of Oldham get value for money.
The same person that has time and time again offered their advice voluntary to the current council only to be ignored or fobbed off.
Manchester st roundabout, New Oldham sports centre and town hall project just to name a few

not naughty at all.

the residents who i've spoken to who where originally in support of a new school have changed their minds now.

mostly based on the actual facts presented to them by the hard working councillors who have been against the new plan.

which is more than the lack of information thats ever been publicly given to the residents from the council.

and more importantly the very naughty leaflets being handed out by libdems based on nothing but fiction.

now that is naughty!

@fedupoldhamer - yes, true colours. Nothing you say about this proposal can be viewed objectively if your feet are in one of the camps. Can't believe anything you say about Diggle site as you've already picked the side that will do anything to stop it happening. It's funny how you only mention your "advice" after a story appears in the paper unless of course it's just a huge coincidence but you do seem to have the best ideas for every project across Oldham

It even more of a coincidence though that any road, construction or civil engineering project that involves the council ends up being a complete mess.

That's the real funny side of it!


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