Fears for traffic chaos in Saddleworth villages

Date published: 11 September 2019

VILLAGERS living in a community which saw their iconic memorial wrecked by  a wayward lorry, are bracing themselves for increased traffic problems.

They fear scheduled long term drainage work nearby will push even more traffic onto their already overcrowded roads and create bigger hazards for locals.

Essential work laying new road drains to stop homes flooding in Delph is scheduled to begin on the main A62 Oldham-Huddersfield road on Monday until next April. 

But now Dobcross Village Community executive is writing to Oldham Council asking their highway experts to visit to hear first hand long term traffic issues. 

Locals  in the picturesque community say key roads are already  at “breaking point” with speeding traffic. “We are facing 21st century travel problems with 18th century roads,” said one.

And they argue problems  could accelerate with the onset of even more traffic, including lorries using a route through the  village square a short cut to deliver materials when building the new Saddleworth School at Diggle gets underway.

Paul Clegg, who has lived in the village square nearly 30 years, said: “in the last 10 years the  village’s traffic problems have become almost impossible to live with. 

“We are all aware the monument in the Square has been seriously damaged by goods vehicles twice within a five year period and delays caused by converging traffic, especially in and around the Square, are becoming a regular and frequent occurrence.

“With the new school slated to be built in Diggle, this can only get worse.  There will be heavy goods vehicles driving through Saddleworth villages during the building phase and no matter what any council maintains, traffic during term time must and will increase.  

“Solutions to this problem are readily forthcoming from passers by and villagers alike and vary from mounting a machine gun on top of the monument, always assuming it is reinstated, through parking restrictions, pedestrianisation with signs banning HGVs from entering the village except for deliveries, to one way traffic systems.

“There does not appear to be a “one size fits all” solution but it is now imperative Oldham Council  Highways department, along with planners, get a real grip on this situation.

“I realise that OMBC will make the final decision on what happens in Dobcross and the other Saddleworth villages, but there must be real and sympathetic consultation with residents before any decision is made.

“For our part, as residents, we should consider any and all possibilities but above all, we must be very careful what we wish for,” he added.

Terry Lawless is president of the Dobcross Band and  social club. He said: “Traffic and parking are the biggest problems  exacerbated by the spiralling number of cars in  the area, with many households having two or more vehicles and most properties having to rely on on-road parking. 

“The band club are fortunate enough to have a car park, but space is limited and visitors often have to resort to parking on side roads. 

“There’s no easy answer and the problem is destined to get worse as older residents, often with no car, give way to multi vehicle families.

“Historically Dobcross was on the old pack horse route to Yorkshire and the way things are going that may soon be the only way to get around...”

Last week, a giant articulated lorry got jammed in the square  toppling a memorial to Saddleworth’s  first medical Officer of health.

An Oldham council spokesman said: “We are currently working with contractors to establish a specification and costs for the re-erection of the memorial which we are trying to do as soon as possible.”

Meantime, two petitions highlighting speeding and road safety concerns are circulating in the village.


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