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


Latest News

Latest News

High Court Verdict - Planning approval for Diggle was UNLAWFUL - 02 March 2017

Read our summary and the full judgement from Mr Justice Kerr on our home page


Latest News

Diggle "Rear Site" approved by OMBC Cabinet - Diggle News - 31 Mar 2015

The fight will continue say Saddleworth residents after 3000 signature petition is rejected by Oldham Borough Councillors - Diggle News - 05 Feb 2015


Related News

EFA say OMBC will decide the location of Saddleworth School - Diggle News - 26 Nov 2014

EFA will consider the views of local people when deciding on site for Saddleworth School - Diggle News
- 31 Oct 2014

Saddleworth’s Independent Councillors say consider the views of 3000 residents - Diggle News - 27 Oct 2014


We're in the news

Diggle residents say NO to OMBC in big way - Diggle News - 11 Jun 2014


Related News

Newly-elected Saddleworth North councillor Nikki Kirkham interview - Oldham Evening Chronicle - 10 Jun 2014


We're in the news

Fresh hope in school site saga - Oldham Evening Chronicle - 9 Jun 2014

EFA reconsider Uppermill as the site for new Saddleworth School - Diggle News - 7 Jun 2014


Related News

An Interview with newly elected Councillor Nikki Kirkham - Diggle News - 27 May 2014

Saddleworth Independent candidate Nikki Kirkham is celebrating a landslide victory after sweeping the board in Saddleworth North - Oldham Evening Chronicle - 26 May 2014

Parish voting storm - Oldham Evening Chronicle - 23 May 2014

Votes rebellion in school row - Oldham Evening Chronicle - 19 May 2014

Letter to the editor: It's NOT a done deal - Diggle News - 17 Apr 2014

Saddleworth School Update: Option agreement signed – work on planning submission starts - Diggle News
- 8 Apr 2014

Is this the future for Diggle? - Diggle News - 05 Apr 2014

Saddleworth School Move Documentary - Saddleworth News presents a Wandering Patrol Production
- 02 Apr 2014


We're in the news

Risk of Flooding - Oldham Evening Chronicle - 5 Mar 2014

Saddleworth School update from Brian Lord - Saddleworth News - 24 Feb 2014

Cllr Mike Buckley's response to Cllr Lords update:

"Brian appears to be taking planning permission for granted. Why? Building on the Diggle site is contrary to several important local and national planning policies including:- not building on a greenfield site when a suitable brownfield site is available in Uppermill, not building on the greenbelt, not building on a flood plain, encouraging sustainable travel, protecting and enhancing the Saddleworth landscape and not destroying the habitat of several protected species. Why is Brian taking planning permission for granted? When an application contravenes so many fundamental planning policies it is in danger of call-in by government or even judicial review. The presentation by OMBC back in October stated "If the EFA feel that there will be public, planning, highway, engineering or legal obstacles, they will not progress with the development." Well it seems to me that on all these grounds there are significant obstacles."

"No-one, including the EFA and OMBC, has said the new school can't be built in Uppermill. It has been said though that it can't be built within the existing budget envelope – which is a very different statement. The problem with this statement though is no-one has costed either site properly. I believe the OMBC 151 sign off Brian referred to has been delayed several weeks because of the unexpected liability OMBC would face over the planned abandonment of the existing school astroturf pitch. It now seems that Sport England, who contributed to the funding of the existing pitch are insisting on a replacement and this will be at OMBC's expense. We continue to be kept in the dark on what is happening and Brian continues to don his rose tinted spectacles as soon as the word Diggle is mentioned."

"Thanks for the update Brian but it would be nice to have some factual information on costings and technical issues and why you think that achieving planning permission will be a 100% certainty."

We have been informed that the school received a grant from Sport England when the all-weather sports pitch was built and will have to provide a 'like for like' replacement if the school moves to Diggle – sports pitches / floodlights etc do not form part of the £17m EFA 'funding envelope', so this money will have to be found by OMBC.

A conservative estimate of the cost for this would be approx £900,000.

We have also been told that approx £350,000 would be required, again from OMBC, just to be able to lay down the new electrics for any floodlighting of the sports pitches in Diggle.

Keeping the school in Uppermill would mean that OMBC would not need to spend £1.25m on a new all-weather floodlit pitch, as the existing one can be retained.


Related news

Land grab: Councillor John McCann slams Oldham Council's proposals to reallocate dozens of sites in Saddleworth for development - Saddleworth News - 23 Feb 2014

I wonder why he has conveniently forgotten the school being built on a flood plain, on greenfield and green belt sites in Diggle.

Saddleworth School: Letter to the editor - David Gartside – Greenfield resident - Saddleworth News - 23 Feb 2014


We're in the news

Save Diggle Action Group interview on Saddleworth School - Saddleworth News - 17 Feb 2014


Related news

Letter to the editor: What is the Green Belt and why should it be defended? - Dr Nick Cox, Saddleworth Resident - Diggle News - 16 Feb 2014

Minutes of DCA Meeting of 6th Feb 2014 - Diggle Community Association - 6 Feb 2014

Letter to the Editor: 'Nimbys?' - Dr Nick Cox, Saddleworth Resident - Diggle News - 30 Jan 2014


We're in the news

Public anger grows following Saddleworth Parish Council’s U-turn - Diggle News - 28 Jan 2014

Mike Buckley responds to Brian Lord's Comments - Saddleworth News - 25 Jan 2014

Councillor Brian Lord answers some objections of the Save Diggle Action Group over Saddleworth School - Saddleworth News - 21 Jan 2014

Opponents hit out as row over new school site grows - Oldham Evening Chronicle - 20 Jan 2014

Saddleworth School: Council set to buy Diggle site - Diggle News - 16 Jan 2014
Read Mike Buckley's reply to this statement:
Letter to the Editor - Diggle News - 16 Jan 2014

Opposition to new school site grows - Oldham Evening Chronicle - 10 Jan 2014

Tewits of Diggle protest in Saddleworth School feud - Lancashire and North West Magazine - 4 Jan 2014


Local news

Local councillors resign from the Liberal Democrats in disagreement over the Saddleworth School move - Diggle News - 2 Jan 2014

Cllr. Mike Buckley and Cllr. Lesley Schofield, both long standing members of Saddleworth Parish Council, have resigned from the Liberal Democratic Party on a matter of principle, due to the Lib Dem councillors collusion with the ruling Labour Council over the proposed move of Saddleworth School to Diggle. They will now continue the fight as independent councillors to have the new school built on the present site in Uppermill.

This move has been widely welcomed by Saddleworth residents, as the Lib Dems have clearly demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to fight for their own manifesto pledge to "protect Saddleworth from excessive and insensitive development".

As Cllr Buckley and Cllr Schofield have given long years of service as Lib Dem councillors, this must have been a difficult decision and their integrity can only be applauded.

We would hope that this move will make the remaining Lib Dem councillors reconsider their commitment to their own manifesto pledge and give their backing to provide a new Saddleworth School in Uppermill without destroying the Saddleworth countryside.


We're in the news

Saddleworth School: definitely on the move - Oldham Evening Chronicle - 19 Dec 2013
Read our reply to this article:
Oldham Council's claim that the new Saddleworth School cannot be built in Uppermill rejected by Saddleworth Residents.

Resident's Uppermill Site Proposal: "... is not fit to meet the education needs of future generations of students..." nor does it "... meet the aspirational wishes of parents, staff and school governors."
(Words taken from OMBC's Agenda of their meeting on the 18th December 2013, where the proposed school plans were briefly discussed.)

How can the alternative viable Uppermill Plan 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?

OMBC has passed this uninformed, misguided and misleading resolution.

We know of 46 emails and 15 tweets containing over 100 questions that were sent into the Council Meeting but were never answered.
Read some of the unanswered questions.


Related news

Minutes of DCA Meeting of 13th Dec 2013 - Diggle Community Association - 13 Dec 2013

(If you can't open this docx file then view the doc version)


We're in the news

School site saga: We must move on - Oldham Evening Chronicle - 6 Dec 2013
Read our reply to this article:
Head teacher, Matthew Milburn breaks promise to Saddleworth residents that the existing site would be fairly considered and properly assessed.
Please note that the School Technical Group, that Oldham Chronicle reporter Ken Bennett states was "made up of local people with design or construction experience", was NOT. This is a misrepresentation of who was on this group. There was the architect that created the proposal and a builder who expressed that he wished to help OMBC after the public meeting of the 16th October 2013. The rest were teachers, councillors and local residents that had no design or construction experience and were all hand picked by Matthew Milburn.

Council to look at Uppermill school proposals - Oldham Evening Chronicle - 5 Dec 2013

Building new school in Uppermill could cost less than building in Diggle – detailed plans under consideration - Saddleworth News - 1 Dec 2013


Related news

2013 Chairman's Report - Diggle Community Association - 5 Dec 2013


We're in the news

SDAG responds to Liberal Democrat Group on school - Saddleworth News - 27 Nov 2013


Related news

1,108 surplus places in Oldham's secondary system - BBC News - 21 Nov 2013


Diggle Community Association Meeting - 14 Nov 2013

Good meeting at Diggle Community Association to a packed room. Matthew Milburn, School's Head Teacher, and Councillor Brian Lord deserve our respect for turning up and addressing the audience.

It was great at last to hear a pragmatic debate and encouraging to hear that both Matthew Milburn and Councillor Lord have no objection to a school being built in Uppermill, as long as it primarily meets the financial and logistical guidelines.

Councillor Mike Buckley gave a good analysis of how the school could be built on the present Uppermill site.

You can read the full minutes of the meeting on the DCA's website.


We're in the news

Parish Council asks OMBC to consider an alternative scheme for Saddleworth School - Diggle News - 13 Nov 2013


SDAG has constructive meeting with Saddleworth School's Head Teacher Matthew Milburn
- 12 Nov 2013

Councillor Mike Buckley and a member of SDAG met with Matthew Milburn and Councillor Brian Lord on the 12th November 2013. Discussions were based around an option to use the existing Uppermill site.

Mr Milburn has pledged that he will put forward this option to the appropriate bodies and that ultimately he wants to work with the community to achieve what is best for the children.

If this option proves to be more cost effective and viable he cannot see any reason why it cannot be considered. There is another meeting on the 13th November to discuss this option fully.


Special Meeting of the Saddleworth Parish Council - 11 Nov 2013

At tonight's very well attended Special Meeting of the Saddleworth Parish Council to discuss the school issue, Mel Koen made a passionate appeal for the Parish Council to remember the Resolution passed at the previous meeting to support SDAG's stance and asked how they could follow this through.

Mike Buckley subsequently made an outline presentation to show how the new school could be rebuilt on the existing site given the available space and topography, and potentially well within budget.

The Parish Council adopted his proposal to write to Oldham Council requesting a meeting to discuss the plan further in detail.

He did preface his presentation by saying that SDAG's proposals had been discussed prior to the meeting with both Councillor Brian Lord, Chairman of Governors and Matthew Milburn, Head Teacher who both agreed that the proposal had merit.

The voting figures are as follows.

For Against Abstain Apologies for absence
12 votes

Mike Buckley
Graham Sheldon
Lesley Brown
Lesley Schofield
Nicola Kirkham
David Caddick
Enid Firth
Rob Knotts
Mavis Bingley
Derek Heffernan
Bill Cullen
Pat Lord
0 votes 6 votes

Brian Lord
Alan Roughley
Neil Allsop
Sharon McGladdery
Royce Franklin
Robert McCann


Garth Harkness
John Hudson

You will notice that there were 5 abstentions (Councillor Lord is obliged to abstain).

The question being asked after the meeting by residents is how, after hearing about such a positive step forward, which would unite the Communities, could any Councillor not give their full support to a detailed examination of these proposals?

You may draw your own conclusions as we cannot begin to understand their stance.


ITV / Granada News website media coverage

Villagers outraged at plans for new school - ITV Granada News

School plans will "put children's lives at risk" - 9 Nov 2013

Read ex local lad and TV presenter John Stapleton's comments.


Debbie Abrahams MP says she will not oppose the move of Saddleworth School to Diggle

At a teleconference, on the 6th November 2013, with members of the Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG) Debbie Abrahams MP, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, said she could not commit to support the SDAG campaign to stop the move of Saddleworth School to Diggle. The teleconference followed a 15 minute meeting between the Rt. Hon. David Laws MP, Minister of State for Schools, a representative of the Educational Funding Agency (EFA), and Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Oldham Council Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills.

Mrs Abrahams reported that they had had a wide ranging discussion on the concerns regarding the proposed new school in Diggle, but there was no discussion about the potential reuse of the existing site.

She felt unable at this stage to commit to the SDAG campaign in opposing the school being rebuilt in Diggle and admitted that she was taking Oldham Council (OMBC) plans for the re-siting of a new school for Saddleworth "on trust". But after further questioning from SDAG she did agree to assist in gaining speedy access to the pertinent documents relating to why the existing site has been ruled out by OMBC and facilitate a meeting with Cllr Jim McMahon and OMBC to address the group’s urgent concerns.

Keith Lucas, a member of the action group, said "I don't think Mrs Abrahams appreciates the strength of local opinion on this issue. She referred in our conversation to the views of the silent majority. The silent majority has been kept in the dark, but now the cat is out of the bag opposition is growing by the hour."


We're in the news

Debbie Abrahams will not oppose moving Saddleworth School to Diggle
- Diggle News - 8 Nov 2013

Little hope of new Saddleworth School being built at back of proposed Diggle site after 'positive meeting'
- Saddleworth News - 7 Nov 2013

One of the country’s leading planning lawyers, Robert McCracken QC, pledges his support for SDAG over Saddleworth School
- Saddleworth News - 5 Nov 2013

Debbie Abrahams MP set to meet Education Minister about Saddleworth School - Diggle News - 4 Nov 2013

Oldham Council's response to issues raised by Diggle Action Group - Diggle News - 31 Oct 2013

EFA say that the location of Saddleworth School is entirely Oldham Council's decision - Diggle News - 31 Oct 2013

£15m school plans labelled a disaster - Oldham Evening Chronicle - 30 Oct 2013

Please note that the image caption is incorrect, as it gives the impression that the new school will be built on the site of the former Shaws Pallet Works (the old Loom Works). It is the green fields that will disappear.

This online article is an abbreviated version of the full article in the newspaper.


Report on the Parish Council Meeting – 28 Oct 2013

At the Parish Council Meeting on 28th Oct, a plea was made by the Save Diggle Action Group representing the residents of Diggle opposed to the building of the new school in Diggle and the retention of the school on the existing site in Uppermill.

The Council was thanked for its forward vision in the 2009/10 Saddleworth Parish Plan which recommended that it should:-

  • "Continue to resist building on greenfield sites [sites not previously developed but outside the green belt] and inappropriate development within the green belt"
  • "Continue to resist any loss of Green Belt."

It was then asked to support the present campaign to keep the Saddleworth School on the present site and to support the residents in their opposition to the present plans for Diggle.

Councillor Mike Buckley spoke passionately in support of this plea and proposed a Motion that the Parish Council should adopt the residents position.

This motion was split into two:-

  1. that the Parish Council would support the Campaign to retain the new school on the existing site.
  2. that the Parish council would oppose the building of the new school on the proposed site in Diggle.

Both motions were carried in our favour and we would like to thank the Parish Council for the opportunity to present our feelings and their support.

The voting results of the two motions are as follows:

1) Support the Campaign to retain the new school on the existing site 2) Oppose the building of the new school on the proposed site in Diggle
For Against Abstain For Against Abstain
11 votes

Mike Buckley
Graham Sheldon
Lesley Brown
Lesley Schofield
David Caddick
Enid Firth
Garth Harkness
Rob Knotts
Mavis Bingley
Derek Heffernan
Bill Cullen
6 votes

Alan Roughley
John Hudson
Neil Allsop
Sharon McGladdery
Royce Franklin
Pat Lord
1 vote

Brian Lord
9 votes*

Mike Buckley
Graham Sheldon
Lesley Brown
Lesley Scholfield
David Caddick
Enid Firth
Mavis Bingley
Bill Cullen
(* Chairman Graham Sheldon had the casting vote)
8 votes

Alan Roughley
John Hudson
Neil Allsop
Sharon McGladdery
Royce Franklin
Pat Lord
Garth Harkness
Derek Heffernan
2 votes

Brian Lord
Rob Knotts