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Fresh twist in school site saga

Reporter: ALEX CAREY AND KEN BENNETT
Date online: 22 July 2014

THERE has been yet another twist in the new Saddleworth School saga as Oldham Council Cabinet members last night proposed a new site option after “listening to the community’s concerns”.

Land at the back of WH Shaw Pallet works in Diggle is now being reviewed as a possible site for the new school — rather than at the front, adjacant to Huddersfield Road. In April, the council had completed legal agreements in principle to potentially buy land at the former WH Shaw Pallet Works if it was confirmed as the selected site.

The council last night approved a new option to complete legal negotiations to purchase a different plot at the rear of the site, if selected by the Education Funding Agency (EFA).

The new proposals in Diggle would provide a bigger site of around 18 acres, it would see industrial buildings cleared to make way for the new school, sports hall and ancillary buildings, and be more sympathetic to the local environment.

Green-belt land at the site would then only be used for sports pitch provision.

The new Saddleworth School project is being managed by the EFA on behalf of the Department for Education.

Oldham Council must identify potential site options and negotiate any necessary legal agreements to enable the delivery of whichever site is chosen.

The EFA is currently undertaking its feasibility study before choosing a site later this year.

It is now considering four different schemes for the new school — two using the existing Saddleworth School site and the two options in Diggle.

Oldham Council leader Jim McMahon said: “To achieve the best outcome for everyone we know the concerns of local residents have to be balanced with the need to deliver a new school.

“We’ve listened to the community’s concerns about the earlier Diggle proposals and are proposing a scheme here that would mitigate the potential impact.

“Buying the rear site would mean additional costs for the project. However, as a council we are prepared to contribute towards funding that gap. We also remain 100 per cent committed to the works and associated costs we already know would be required to address people’s concerns about highways, parking and access issues.

“The EFA has been informed of our position. They confirmed they will consider this option as part of their feasibility study which is evaluating all the site options in terms of location, size and suitability.

“They will now undertake the further survey work required to consider this option and hope to report back in September with a decision on which site to take into the formal planning process.”

Comments

well at least the council have realised that their original idea was completely flawed and gone back to the drawing board.

but yet again the residents opinions have still be ignored.

the development of greenbelt land at the side to become the sports pitches is still not good enough.

why have the front brownfield plots not been allocated for this purpose. I wonder? £££££££££

the people of diggle want the traditional openness of the valley to remain. its one of saddleworths key features.

They should build the new school on the existing site. I have heard that Wiggett construction want to build on the Saddleworth school site. I think this is ridiculous.

Wow. When looking at the proposed site plan this solution looks obvious. There will still be concerns about access which will need addressing but replacing the existing messy industrial buildings with a state of the art educational facility for our children looks like a proposal Diggle will have to accept. Bring it on asap.

Green belt land used for sports pitches does not serve any of the purposes for which green belt land is intended to serve. It might just as we'll be used for building development for all the environmental use it would be

The Council must be deaf as villagers and other locals dont want the school there at all and not just in a different spot .

So, Like a rabbit out of the hat there is now another "plot" and a very belated reference to the issue that most Digglers over 50 knew already, That the land was and is GREEN BELT! Mr McMahon, wherever you move it the access issue remains utterly Acute, The only way this can Fly is if the redeveloped Engineering Factory is purchased and a School access road is factored in from the Bus Turning Circle, Its not Rocket Science.Strictly Local Resident only parking on Marshlands from junct to Chippy!

Here we go again with the Nimbis. Either a school or a hundred houses , take your pick. If you don't like it then move out to where ever you came from. saddleworth needs a new school due to the incomers. Please shut up and let what will be will be.

"You can please all of the people some of the time; and some of the people all of the time. But you can't please all of the people all of the time." Then there's Saddleworth and Shaw where, it appears, you can't please any of the people any of the time. Maybe there are some sensible people up there who are not keyboard jockeys and who don't dash to their laptops in order to whinge, moan and complain about everything. Let's hope so.

I know some people want the school built on the existing site in uppermill, but if that happened, where would all the children go whilst the surely extensive work was carried out?

Here we go again OMBC once again trying to push through a plan that will appeal to their financial supporters.Just a shame that some of the people who comment on this story reply with their pathetic you are a Nimby response.

@effteeuk - you clearly can't read, article clearly says the choice of site will be chose by the EFA. All the council is doing is proposing alternative sites. There are a lot of people, including me, who just want a new school building and don't want to risk losing potential funding due to sad, pathetic infighting amongst publicity seeking "independents". It is pathetic.
@John Price - there are lots of locals and other Saddleworth residents who do want it in Diggle. We just don't make a fuss

If the school is moved to Diggle the only winners will be Oldham Council and Wigget.

Develop the existing site in Uppermill. Not the easy option - the best option!

This is because the Tories took the freak two-year lull in school admissions as an pretext to quickly give away (Not even 'sell') school properties all over the country to companies which had supported them.
Children all over the country are crowded into the remaining - often under facilitated - schools, too small to accommodate them.
This makes teaching in those schools a problem, lessens the places for sports and lowered the kids quality of school experience.
Now, they lose the clean air too.

@Bramble-The EFA are putting up some of the money which certainly wont be enough to cover the cost of rebuilding the school .They have already stated the the choice of the new site is up to OMBC. Now the real problem starts with regards to you scratch my back etc. OMBC as put itself in a position where politics and Business interests have created a real problem--Perhaps you should read into things a bit more.

This is because the Liberal Democrats were thrown out FACT!! the Lib Dems only care about power not people, Nick Clegg handed power to the Tories to hell with his voters as long as he was deputy prime minister, what about the metrolink no one wanted it the Lib Dems were in power & went ahead with it to hell with the voters concerns, same with Saddleworth school all i can say is congratulations to the Lib Dems you have thrown yourselves back into the 1980's you are a waste of a vote again.

Well thank you to youcouldntmakeitup, I've been saying this for months that the only solution to the access issue is to buy and bulldoze the old Morton's site and run a road right up the side of the canal, Shaw's pallets owned the land between the two when I worked for them in the 80's and the total site amounted to 26 acres. And I suspect blue blue is correct as Mr. Wigget has an share in Shaw's site.

 

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