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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.”


ok councillor Chadderton. here's the challenge.

can the council please provide full costings for the new diggle site?
full health and safety method statements and risk assesments for the new diggle site?
full logistical layouts for access and ingress of the diggle site during and after construction?

at least the save diggle action group provided some of these for building on the existing site.

the council have provided nothing up to now?

Any building site is a potential death trap and with the number of wagons and heavy lifting gear that will be needed to rebuild a school the last thing you want is several hundred children on the site. Get the school built at Diggle and let the Nimby brigade cry in their tea. Most of them are not Saddleworth people but act as if they have lived there all their lives.Move on the school is being built there.If you don't like it move away and let local people buy your houses

the only thing you people in saddleworth don't appear to have is a massive mosque ! there are plenty popping up in old pubs ,houses etc all over oldham. come on oldham council,fairs fair,lets give saddleworth a lovely mosque with a large unsightly green dome on it. maybe then the school wouldn't have been such a bad idea ! whingeing ten bob snobs of saddleworth and their "not in my garden " pompous outlook.

Typical that people living in Diggle would oppose to this. Usual Saddleworth reaction, 'not on my doorstep' Get over it, or move house!!!!

Would have more respect for OMBC if they were at least honest about the ‘real’ reason why they are so intent on pushing the Diggle site – i.e. that the present Uppermill site is prime development land. Money, as the saying goes, talks.

The "row" isn't growing; it's continuing, sustained by a small band of die hards.

@sean Would you like to explain what would be wrong with the council, on our behalf, realising the value of the Uppermill site as the money goes into the town's coffers to help fund other necessary projects?

The choices are:
plunge the children of Saddleworth into an educational abysss reducing them to mediocre 20th century facilities
put the children's education first

Alternatively close the existing school and send them all to the Waterhead Academy.

Get a grip "EX-OLDHAMER" ..... Move house seems like what you already did,so why not limit your comments to WHERE YOU LIVE NOW ..... or are you afraid of being labelled an "Immigrant Nimby" ? You don't live in Diggle, so keep yer nose out .... and by the way, I do live in Diggle, have two children who go to Saddleworth School and the future site is not fit for purpose.Mind you, watch the price of the properties on the soon to be demolished Uppermill site. Its not about Nimby's, it's about money.

Yes! The Royal George site Greenfield,(affordable Housing promised for locals) Wiggett construction had a "market driven" change of mind despite "assurances" to OMBC!it would not surprise me that profit realised on the Uppermill school site redevelopment will be a massive factor, OMBC seem to promise the earth to push through their agenda then renege when they get their way and are clearly disregarding local concerns and objections to this poorly executed development project.

And what about local opinion, JMTS; the majority of folk in both Uppermill and Diggle oppose a move to the former pallet works. As for “realising the value of the Uppermill site”, one slight problem: it’s not vacant (and if the citizens of saddleworth have their way, it never will be). Just find the arguments presented by OMBC 'apologists' completely disingenuous.

@JMTS it certain seems like a row.

residents against the school have asked countless questions to the council.

the council has answered hardly any of them.

now isnt that how arguments go?

if this subject is to be cleared up the council has to come clean on everything about this project and inform the residents of diggle and the parents of all current and future saddleworth school pupils!

the diggle site has been proven to be unfit for purpose and well over budget!

or tell us otherwise!

@sean Oh dear. You are starting to sound like a true politician and sidestepping the question.

I repeat:what is wrong with the council, on behalf of all of us, realising the full value of an asset for the common good?

@fedupO I do wish you would read my words. I didn't suggest it wasn't a row. I just said that it was a continuing one and not a growing one.

Absolutely nothing wrong the Council "realising the full value of an asset for the common good". But, and I'm in danger of repeating myself here, 'nobody' (underlined several times) wants it! Surely, it goes without saying, that the wishes of the people should be respected?

@Shaun - I recommend you read the letter in tonight's Chron from Brian Lord, the Chair of Governors, outlining why Diggle is the only option. I also suggest reviewing all the old articles on this subject and you will see Diggle residents who are also for this development. Very sweeping generalisation to play the "nobody wants it" card to suit your typical anti council agenda

@fedupoldhamer - as someone who is constantly accusing the council of not answering questions, please could you respond to the queries in Brian Lord's letter published today commenting on major deficiencies within the financial info provided by the save Diggle group? Considering you are the so called technical expert on this group I would interested to hear why the figures appear to be so wrong for the redevelopment of current site?


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