Row over school site grows
Date published: 20 January 2014
CAMPAIGNERS have blasted Oldham Council’s decision to buy land in Diggle on which to build a new Saddleworth School.
The council is in final negotiations to acquire over 13 acres at the former WH Shaw Pallet Works off Huddersfield Road, to relocate the school.
Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Cabinet member for education, employment and skills, insisted the decision is unanimously backed by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and Saddleworth School Technical Group.
She said campaign group Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG) proposals to rebuild the school on its existing site were incorrectly costed and created safety issues and a lack of car parking during construction.
But SDAG spokesman Councillor Mike Buckley said this was “misleading”: the technical group has no qualifications, is self-elected, not representative of the community and its decision was not unanimous.
“This is nothing but pure propaganda in favour of relocating the school to Diggle. Like previous statements by the council, it is short on fact but high on rhetoric.” he said.
“The safety issues are clearly a red herring. The lack of technical and financial information on both proposals brings into question the rigour and objectivity with which the decision to move to Diggle has been made.”
“I am amazed the council is close to signing a deal. Surely they should first wait for planning permission to build on the Diggle site — by no means a certainty in view of the number of national and local planning policies with which the proposals will conflict.”
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