78% in an independent poll said build Saddleworth School on the existing site in Uppermill

(source: Saddleworth School Poll on Saddleworth News)

90% of those asked are signing our door to door petition

Over 3000 people have signed a door to door petition asking for the EFA and OMBC to build new Saddleworth School on the existing site in Uppermill and it's growing

Come and JOIN THEM
Sign our online petition TODAY

Council Questions

At the recent Council Meeting on the 18th December 2013, we know of 46 emails and 15 tweets containing over 100 questions that were sent into the Council but were never answered.

We publish some of those questions here to give you a flavour of what issues Saddleworth residents have that are not being answered by Oldham Council.


@OldhamQT How do you intend to involve the people of Saddleworth in planning process for new school?

@OldhamQT @Debbie_abrahams is supporting small businesses.If school moves, Uppermill how will Council help replace adhoc business lost.

@OldhamQT The daily impact of 1700 pupils/staff will have a massive detrimental effect on the village of #Diggle - How will you help #Diggle

@OldhamQT Oldham has a surplus of c1100 secondary school places - Why increase the capacity of Saddleworth School by 150 to 1500?

@OldhamQT Public consultation re school has been described as un-democratic,and hugely arrogant - What is the Council going to do to redress

@OldhamQT Why has almost no public consultation taken place regarding the site of the new Saddleworth School?

@OldhamQT Many of the new schools built under Priority Schools Building Programme have been rebuilt on original sites.Why not Saddleworth?

@OldhamQT Why are Council ignoring their duty to conserve biodiversity in Oldham,under Section 40 of the (NERC) Act 2006 re: new Sadd school

@OldhamQT Why was the 'Voluntary Technical Group' of 'experts' used to decide school site hand picked by the school & Oldham Council?

@OldhamQT When will Oldham Council release the costings they have referred to for the proposal made to re build on the existing site?

@OldhamQT When will Oldham Council release information regarding the 'land-swap' deal which is being used to fund the new school move?

@oldhamqt Why are Oldham Council using the Headteacher Matthew Milburn as their spokesman for the move of the school.

@OldhamQT Why are the Council ignoring the wishes of Saddleworth Parish Council who voted to oppose the move to #Diggle for the new school

@OldhamQT Why is the Council proceeding with the project to build a school at #Diggle without having undertaken a proper traffic survey?

@OldhamQT Has the Council considered the environmental impact of moving the School to Diggle & if so what has it considered

Emails to localdemocracy@oldham.gov.uk

As a parent of a child at Saddleworth school I am dismayed and disappointed to have to explain to my child what Oldham Council have done to be open, honest and transparent in this whole 'new school' process. He asks me these questions & so I now ask you:

We are taught at school to protect and understand our local area giving consideration to others and to explore ways of reducing our impact on the environment. Why are the Council going to take away a beautiful green area which is home to endangered birds & animal life and prevent me from enjoying this now and in the future with my children.

The other children I speak to at my football club all say that they do not want to move to Diggle.They say it's going to be a real hassle for them and that their parents are scared about all the hazards like the canal, roads and railway line. They say that in a recent Saddleworth poll 80% said they wanted the school built on the existing site. I know another plan exists so why is Oldham council not listening to the wishes of the many.

At school we have been told that their is a 'voluntary technical group' who have helped to make the decision to move the school to Diggle.Why wasn't I or my dad given the opportunity to volunteer & why are they being used as the excuse to build the school in Diggle

Our Headteacher Mr Milburn says that it is the best thing for the school to move to Diggle but I don't agree with him & he says that's it & we have to just accept it. But this is my future and I want a say in it What can I do?

And a question from myself:

Why is it that despite the public commitment of the Council Leader to do so, has there been no consultation with residents, community associations or parents in Saddleworth since October?


A couple for questions re new Saddleworth school:

Between 15 & 17 million £ is available for the new Saddleworth school & with money so tight why has no proper cost comparison between building the school at Diggle and at the current Uppermill site been undertaken.I believe this has previously been promised by Oldham Councilors.

I have spoken to many people in Saddleworth recently and they are bemused when I tell them that the new Saddleworth school is proposed to be built in Diggle. Why does the Council’s motion refer to the proposal to develop the existing site as 'some residents' when, a recent popular Saddleworth poll, over 80% favoured building the school on the existing site?

Thanks look forward to the answers


Please would the following points be considered about the farcical proposal of moving a school in to Diggle from a very concerned resident of Diggle.

Has a cost comparison been made for the school staying on its existing site in Uppermill which i believe is a perfectly viable option?

Does greenfield or green belt mean any thing these days?

The traffic going along Huddersfield Road with an existing primary school at one end and a 1500 plus pupil school at the other would cause chaos!

Do the lapwings that nest on the field get a say in what is happening or do OMBC not take environmental/wildlife issues on board?

As an estimate i would say 80% or more of fellow residents i have asked are strongly against a Frankenstein of a building coming out of the ground in Diggle.

Kind regards

There seems to be many answers from OMBC all seem to be no without any valid reasons. Please answer the question :

In the absence of any proper cost comparison on which to base its decision, why has the Council apparently rejected the option of building a school on the present site?

If the school were to be built at Diggle how would the Council ensure the safety of children walking to a school bounded on one side by a narrow, busy road with, in places, narrow or no pavements and on the other side a canal with deep locks and a soon to be electrified railway?

In addition to the two fields at Diggle where it is proposed to build the replacement for Saddleworth School, can you tell us how much more green land will be concreted over to improve the road access and to provide off-road parking for the residents of the houses along Huddersfield Road?

Dear Sir,

I would like to raise the following question at the council meeting tonight.

Can the Council explain why they are prepared to build on green field land in green belt site (in front of the former Shaw's Pallet Works), against Council's own planning policy?

With Regards

Dear Sir,

With reference to the minutes of council meeting (Agenda item 12/3 http://committees.oldham.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=132&MId=4912), regarding the Sddleworth school site, I would firstly like to point out that according to a recent poll majority (80%) of Diggle residents object to building the school in green belt site. Hence supporting the proposal put forward for the build at existing site. Not sure why the council claims that only some residents are in support of the proposal

Secondly the statement seems to try to justify council's decision for refusing Diggle residents' proposal, by saying that building on existing Uppermill site is against pupils' parents aspirational wishes. Would the council care to state what these aspirations are, and if pupils' parents opinions has been pooled? If so, what questions have been put to them and what the result of the poll was? I suggest in the interest of democracy, these results should be published and the council should be transparent and more open with the residents.


I would like to table the following questions at tonight's Council meeting in relation to agenda item 12 part 3 relating to the rebuilding of Saddleworth School.

1. On what objective grounds do the Council think that the present Uppermill site is "unsuitable and inadequate for a replacement Secondary School"?

2. On what objective grounds do the Council think that the Uppermill site "is not fit to meet the education needs of future generations of students"?

3. Why has the Council not consulted Diggle residents, the Diggle Community Association or Saddleworth school children and their parents since October on the main their main concerns regarding traffic safety and access.

4. We are told that the budgeted cost of building the new school in Diggle is £17 million. It is unlikely that this includes infrastructure costs of traffic and road management and new sewage and drainage systems. Why, instead of dismissing alternative plans, has the Council not published the total costs of building in Diggle to allow a direct comparison with the cost of rebuilding the school on the existing Uppermill site?

5. Is it fact that the Council has entered into a 'land swap' deal with landowners of the proposed Diggle site and if so can the Council confirm that all revenue received from this deal will be ploughed back into the new Saddleworth School, if it were to be built in Diggle?

6. If the Council has entered a 'land swap' deal, how does it ensure that the planning process is neutral and objective, and fully engages the Diggle Community?

Many thanks


I have some concerns and three questions for tonights debate;

1. Why has no proper cost comparison between building the school at Diggle and at the current Uppermill site been undertaken?

2. In the absence of any proper cost comparison on which to base its decision, why has the Council seemingly rejected the option of building a school on the present site?

3. Why has the Council gone against its own planning policy by electing to build on a green-field site at the front of the former Shaw's Pallet Works (on the green belt), rather than using the existing site which would constitute a brown-field site?

Hopefully, you can provide comprehensive answers to these questions.

Yours Sincerely

Cost considerations mean that the new school cannot be of a type that will harmonise with the local landscape and architectural style i.e. stone-built, slate-roofed etc. In fact it will be what many would call ugly.

If we are going to have a large and ugly building forced on us wouldn’t it be better to place it in a non-prominent location such as the present Uppermill site, rather than the extremely prominent Diggle site, where its slab-sided and boxy pre-fab elevations will clash horribly with the vernacular architecture of this archetypal Pennine village?

With regards to the replacement of Saddleworth School, the Council acknowledges that the EFA budget will present ‘challenges’ in terms of the timescales involved & available sites. Given this, why are the council trying to present the Diggle site as the cheapest & quickest option, yet failing to acknowledge that the Diggle site presents even greater ecological and environmental challenges than the Uppermill site? Are the council trying to ignore their legal obligations with regards to ecological and environmental 'issues' at the proposed site in Diggle in order to make it appear the better option?

I want to ask a question regarding the saftey of the children who currently use the footpaths of Diggle. Has it been considered that primary school children will have their saftey compromised by the arrival of 1500 bigger and older children competing for space on the same pavements. These children also have to get to school.

What are the precise reasons why the Uppermill site is considered to now be unsuitable for redevelopment when it has long been the site of Saddleworth School and why is the DIggle site, with clear pupil and resident safety issues, green belt destruction, local infrastructure and conservation issues a more suitable location. What other locations have been considered?

I understand there will be a meeting tonight to discuss the future plans for Saddleworth High School. I have a number of grave concerns that I wish you to respond to, please see below:

Please advise why, as a resident of Diggle, I have not been directly written to or contacted by the Council to inform me of these plans?

Please advise, with evidence, why the Oldham Council believes the residents of Saddleworth want the new school to be built in Diggle and not rebuilt in the current location?

If the school is built in Diggle, what changes will be made to ensure the children of Saddleworth School and the Diggle residents will be safe accessing the school and village along Huddersfield Road. If there are plans to improve Huddersfield Road, what are they and will other roads be affected? Has the Highways Agency been involved in such plans?

What about the drainage and sewage plans, has the respected utility companies been involved in these plans?

Will the Diggle residents get a reduction in council tax? Especially whilst construction work is being undertaken as it will disrupt everyone’s daily life? Will there be a permanent reduction in council tax since we will have to suffer increased traffic, noise, light pollution etc?

How come the council is allowed to ride rough-shod over green-belt and conservation rules and can approve any type of building materials when residents are obliged to maintain the character of the village?

I look forward to hearing your responses.

Kind regards

As double yellow lines are proposed to run the length of Huddersfield Road at no point have we, the residents, been consulted as regards our requirements and needs, for example disabled access etc. We have not been informed about access to and from the car park and whether spaces will be guaranteed for residents. We have had no indication as regards the capacity of the car park and how we are to accommodate any visitors to our properties. There is no suggestion where, for example my mother, will be able to park (she is 68 years old with Osteo Arthritis in her spine). There is a suggestion that we may also have to PAY for the use of this car park, which would seem to equate to a 'stealth tax' on residents who are already against these plans. Can the Council give a permanent, lifetime guarantee that any parking will be FREE and that ALL residents will have appropriate and guaranteed, easily accessible space in which to park their cars?

To Oldham Council


  • Have the residents of Diggle and Uppermill been made aware of the full facts as to why Oldham Council believe the Uppermill site is unsuitable for Saddleworth school?
  • How can this decision be categoric and Oldham council so eager to dismiss SDAG's proposal if the council does not have costings already in place?
  • Oldham council has a budget in place for a new build school with playing fields. What costs have been put in place for a new sewage system and flood prevention for the village of Diggle bearing in mind that Uppermill already has the right and proper infrastructure?
    Surely the educational needs of future generations will be regularly disrupted if these issues have not (if not why not already) been properly addressed?

SDAG's proposal to build on the existing site (which was also confirmed by the schools headmaster)is the sound, honest and clear choice that not only takes on board the needs of the children but also the wider community whilst preserving the nature and natural beauty of greenbelt land for future generations.

Government seems all too ready for quick fix solutions without properly considering the long term impact of it's rash and hasty decision making which could do irreparable damage to a village that will still be there when they are not.

Yours sincerely


I would like to submit the following questions in relation to the debate on Saddleworth School:

1 - Can you explain what traffic survey will take place before the construction of the new school is started and when the results will be published on this. Understandably there are major concerns for public safety along the awkward access road into Diggle, as well as the impact on local residents

2 - How has the local infrastructure been taken into account for the selection of this site? There is a concern that the amenities in Diggle just won't be sufficient to withstand an influx of 1,500 people on a daily basis

3 - What details will be published on the land swap deal? There is a concern that the council is treating this as a commercial deal with a property developer rather than supporting the right choice for the local community

Thank you,

How can the Council be serious about protecting the valuable countryside of Saddleworth, and particularly Diggle, if they are considering the building of a 1500 place school in an area of natural beauty and destroying one of the Borough's prized assets.

The current site of Saddleworth School has proved to be the ideal site for such a facility with the area able to cope with traffic issues.

I think the Council should do everything they can to ensure that the new school is built on the existing site to preserve the unique features of Diggle. It is possible if the Council have the desire, or is there some other 'incentive' not to build at Uppermill.

Can you confirm that there is no agreement with the landowners in Diggle for them to take over the Uppermill site and build houses IF the scheme at Diggle goes ahead against the wishes of the electorate, as I expect it will be easier to get planning permission for houses on the Uppermill site.

I am sure there are ways to use the existing site in Uppermill I and hope that the Councillors support the electorate in making sure the school is retained in Uppermill, after all, how can you claim to operate a local democracy if you do not take on board the residents concerns and wishes.

Good Morning

Please would someone please enlighten me as to what has been decided about the many issues regarding the School...

1..Why have we at number 139 ..living directly opposite the pallet works never. .. .been sent one piece of information either through our door.. or by person from the council or any local Authority?

2. I would like to know the results of any undertakings by United Utilities as to what decision has been made to this effect..How are they going to upgrade the present sewage system and drainage?

3..The access to the site..How is this going to be managed. if yellow lines are placed down the road.. the whole of Huddersfield Rd will become a race track...
Where are the residents going to park? Where do visitors cars go?..
........What traffic survey has been initiated?..

4..Why is green belt being considered?..Surely green belt is there for a reason..To keep villages as villages...

5 .What happens to the children from Springhead and Lees..as this will alter the admissions format for the children.?.

6..Light Pollution..?..

7..Landscaping..what plans have been put in place ? How much tree planting will take place .if any?..

This list is just a taster of feelings..I would like these issues raised.


Can you explain why a traffic survey has yet to be conducted on the proposed site in Diggle? Over the last few days I've been passed the current school at opening and closing, the level of traffic / volume of children is horrendous and will totally overwhelm the infrastructure of Diggle and cause serious safety issues. I don't believe the proponents of this move have taken this seriously, quite simply no matter what minor changes you make to the road Diggle cannot cope, but then again none of these people making these decisions live in Diggle!


Dear All

I would like to ask the Councillors at tonight's meeting why residents in Saddleworth have not been consulted about the siting of the much needed Saddleworth School? Has adequate consideration been given to the costs of relocating the school including traffic, infrastructure and the effects on the environment? Will adequate traffic surveys be conducted prior to a planning application showing the impact on residents of Diggle, particularly as the narrow entrance to the village is already congested at peak times? Is the safety of the children using narrow and non-existent footpaths being considered? Has the project been adequately costed on both sites so an informed decision can be made, including the costs of drains, flood planning, access issues? Is the greenbelt of Diggle being sacrificed for a mere £2m? Has consideration been given to the impact on businesses in Uppermill if the School should be moved to Diggle? Are Saddlworth Residents going to be given full and open access to any land swap deals?


I wanted to ask the following two questions:

1. Why has the road access and safety and solutions for this not been made available to the public especially Diggle residents?

2. Why can the refurbishment of the present site not be achieved? I am under the impression the funding from the EFA is not only for a new site as the main parties involved have communicated.

How can the alternative viable Uppermill Plan, recently put forward by Saddleworth residents for the newSaddleworth School, not meet the education needs of future generations of students or live up to the aspirational wishes of parents, staff and school governors, when it is the same school plan as the Council proposes for the Diggle site?

The fields in Diggle, which have been earmarked for the new Saddleworth School, are regular breeding grounds for Northern Lapwings, which are ground nesting birds. Official British Trust for Ornithology and RSPB bird survey data is available from 1996 every year to 2013 to support this statement.

The Northern Lapwing is both a National Priority Species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and listed as a National Species of Principle Importance for Biodiversity in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Under section 40 of the same Act, all public bodies, which includes this Council, have a Biodiversity Duty with regard to biodiversity conservation when carrying out their functions. DEFRA's guidelines in this matter state that "Where there are opportunities to take appropriate action for national priorities these should be taken."

Please can you detail how the Council can be carrying out its statutory obligation of Biodiversity Duty with regard to biodiversity conservation under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, when you have decided to build the new Saddleworth School on these Lapwing breeding grounds in Diggle and not supported the conservation of a UK Priority Species, by deciding to build on the existing school site in Uppermill, using the viable proposal recently put forward by Saddleworth residents?

Dear Sirs

In relation to the proposal to move Saddleworth School to Diggle, I would like a response to the following question at this evening's full Council meeting: -

Have the principles of the Localism Act been applied to this planning process?

I look forward to receiving a response.

Kind regards.