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


Myth Busters

1. The School will be a better School if built in Diggle than the one that can be built in Uppermill.
A common misconception that we are hearing from residents on the street.

NOT TRUE
The proposed plan on the Uppermill site is for exactly the same School proposed for Diggle. The School layout and facilities would be identical but would benefit from better sports facilities than those proposed at Diggle. The School has been involved in aspects of the Uppermill design and their requirements incorporated into the plans.

So if the School was built in Uppermill it would be the SAME School design and would actually have BETTER sports facilities.

View the proposal for Uppermill


2. School can be built on Loom Works Site at the back of the area
Multiple comments on the Diggle News website / Oldham Evening Chronicle comments and letters

NOT TRUE
This has been ruled out by OMBC on cost grounds.
Amanda Chadderton has re-affirmed this after her recent meeting with the Minister of State for Schools.


3. A new access road can be built from Turn Round Circle at Wool Road
Comments on the Diggle News website

NOT TRUE
The access via Victoria Mill is currently being re-developed and no access will be available. Source: Mike Buckley's response dated 18/10/13 on Diggle News website. A good pair of eyes will confirm this.
It would be a lot easier to keep the school where it is and use the existing road network and infrastructure.


4. EFA have dictated the site to be used
OMBC stated this at the Uppermill Public Meeting of 16/10/13

NOT TRUE
SDAG have received confirmation from the EFA that they are not responsible for the choice of location. They say that OMBC & the School Governors are the responsible parties.


5. OMBC have said that the EFA require 13.5 acres as a minimum
Also stated by Councillor Brian Lord, Chairman of the School Governors

NOT TRUE
The EFA have confirmed that the 13.5 acres is a guideline, not a minimum requirement. Many schools, particularly in towns do not meet this requirement (Waterhead Academy 6.5 acres). The proposed arrangement at Diggle only uses about 7.5 acres of the site. The Uppermill site has at least 8 usable acres, and above this a bus turn round of about 0.75 acres is in place.


6. EFA say a new school must be built on a new greenfield site and therefore it can't be rebuilt on the existing site
As stated by OMBC and Councillor Alan Roughley and Councillor Brian Lord.

NOT TRUE
The EFA have rebuilt a large number of schools on their existing sites.
In this instance OMBC do not want to pursue such an option, as they see it as problematic and not cost effective.


7. The choice is either a new School in Diggle or no new School
Stated by Councillor Jim McMahon

NOT TRUE
A costed proposal has been produced to show that a new School can be built on the existing Saddleworth School site whilst keeping the School open and for less money than the Diggle proposal. This has got to be the way forward


8. The Diggle site is "brownfield" land
Comments on Saddleworth News website and even Councillor Garth Harkness incorrectly made reference to this in the Saddleworth Parish Council Meeting on the 28/10/2013.

NOT TRUE
The Diggle site is "greenfield" land, of which a large part is zoned as Green Belt. Only the Loom Works area where the existing buildings are is "brownfield" and this is not part of the new School proposals in Diggle.

There is a lot of misunderstanding of the definitions of greenfield, brownfield and Green Belt (all of which are planning terms).
Below is an explanation from the Saddleworth Parish Plan:

  • "Green Belt" is open land outside the villages which is protected from development
  • "greenfield" land is undeveloped land
  • "brownfield" land is previously developed land.

Beyond this, land is zoned on the Local Development Framework (LDF) as "Green belt", "Reserved for Future Housing", "Industrial", "Business", "Educational" "Other Protected Open Land", or "Unallocated".

The fields in front of the Loom Works are zoned for Business, the Loom Works itself for Industrial, the land adjacent Green Belt.

One class of development permitted in the Green Belt is playing fields or sports use.

So:

The Loom Works area, where the existing buildings are, is a brownfield site.

The fields in front of the Loom Works are zoned for Business but are greenfield sites.

The adjoining fields are Green Belt, also greenfield sites. (If developed they are still Green Belt but will then become brownfield sites.)


9. Houses will be built on the fields if not a school
Comments on Diggle News website

NOT NECESSARILY TRUE
Even if the school is built, OMBC have indicated that housing on the other front field, as well as the Loom Works itself, cannot be ruled out.
If the school was not built here, at least the adjoining fields that are Green Belt would be protected from any housing development, rather than having a Sports Block built on it and several flood-lit all-weather sports pitches, ruining its Green Belt status forever.
Housing development on this site is against Local Plans and could be resisted at the planning stage on the grounds that Saddleworth needs employment generating sites in preference to more housing development. The same applies to housing development on the existing Loom Works footprint, which is zoned for industrial use.


10. Saddleworth School in in danger of being closed due to structural faults
Comments on Diggle News website

IS THIS TRUE?
If the school was so dangerous for pupils, there would have been mention of this fact in the last Ofsted Report.
The School has an obligation to maintain the integrity of the school buildings and provide a safe environment for children.
If this is true, then it would suggest that the School's infrastructure has been allowed to seriously degenerate in the last 3 years since the Ofsted Report.
(Also see 12 below)


11. Building on the Uppermill site would involve 1350 children having to be bused into Oldham and back every day
Councillor Amanda Chadderton in Oldham Evening Chronicle and Diggle News website

NOT TRUE
The new school can be safely built on the existing site with the minimum of operational inconvenience while the present school is in operation. This practice is very common for new schools.


12. If we protest at what is on offer the EFA might withdraw the funding
Stated by Councillor Jim McMahon, Councillor Alan Roughley and Councillor Royce Franklin

HIGHLY UNLIKELY
The EFA have recognised the need for a new school in Saddleworth. It would be unacceptable politically for this to happen. No government would want to be seen trying to surpress local protest.


13. If we protest at what is on offer the EFA might withdraw the funding, the present school closed down on health and safety grounds and thereafter there would be no School in Saddleworth
Stated by Councillor Jim McMahon, Councillor Alan Roughley and Councillor Royce Franklin

HIGHLY UNLIKELY
Geographically Saddleworth is 51% of the borough. For a Local Authority to plan to have no school in such a large area would be against all educational planning principles, localism considerations and would be politically untenable.