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


Press Releases

SDAG's campaign has always been in favour of a new school for Saddleworth, but that it can and should be built in Uppermill

29th September 2016

We write in order to correct some inaccurate statements concerning Save Diggle Action Group and its intentions in seeking Judicial Review of the decision to grant planning permission for the construction of a new school at Diggle.

SDAG's position has always been that we accept the need for a new secondary school in Saddleworth. SDAG members have children and grandchildren who attend Saddleworth School and fully share the concern to provide buildings that will inspire future generations of our children and foster an environment in which they can receive an excellent education. Our campaign has never been to delay or prevent the construction of a new school, it has always been about the location of the school.

Since October 2013 we have argued that the school can and should be built on the current site in Uppermill. The Educational Funding Agency (EFA) indicated in the feasibility study conducted in 2014 that this was a viable site for the school and that it could be built within their budget. Their preferred site was Diggle because it would be cheaper to build there. In a meeting with SDAG representatives they confirmed that the school could be built at Uppermill and that it was OMBC's decision to select a site for the school.

Despite the fact that a poll in an independent news site revealed that 78% of people in Saddleworth wanted the school to remain in Uppermill; that a petition with over 3,000 signatures calling for it to remain in Uppermill was presented to OMBC (the largest in its history); and that 1,332 letters of objection were submitted against the application to relocate the school in Diggle (with only 26 in favour) OMBC has failed to listen to its electors and persists in seeking to move the school to land in the greenbelt, on a floodplain, with access down a narrow road which is virtually a cul-de-sac. If the school is relocated here there will also be substantial damage to the nationally important historic Dobcross Loom Works building.

For three years SDAG has pointed out the flaws in the Council's proposals and our views have been ignored by our political representatives. A judge has now heard the arguments and feels that there is sufficient evidence to allow a full Judicial Review hearing. It should be noted that success at this first stage of an application for Judicial Review isn't common or easy, the judgement demonstrates that OMBC have serious questions to answer about their handling of this entire process. This has been costly for SDAG in time, effort and money but we have had to take the route of legal action because we could find no other way to receive a fair and just hearing. We could not have proceeded without the fantastic moral and financial support of members of the Saddleworth community or the forensic brilliance of our legal team.

It is quite clear that there are members of the Saddleworth community who simply want a new school as soon as possible. We understand their frustration but would point out that the school could have been built by now if the Council had properly examined the option of siting it in Uppermill, where most people want it to remain. SDAG and our supporters have serious concerns about the hazard to children represented by the ill-considered road scheme that is proposed for Diggle. We don’t want to see children sharing a narrow roadway with buses and cars, or trying to cross in front of vehicles leaving a car-park and drop-off zone, as envisaged in the Council's proposals. Nor do we want to see development of the greenbelt and harm to a listed building, protected species and the Saddleworth landscape.

ENDS

SDAG Committee
Telephone 07545 939724 or email savediggleactiongroup@gmail.com


Oldham Council will decide the location of the new Saddleworth School

23rd November 2014

Leading Saddleworth Independent Councillors and Saddleworth School campaigners travelled to Coventry last Thursday to present a petition to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) urging the Agency to built the New Saddleworth Secondary School in Uppermill rather than Diggle. The EFA are currently assessing four sites as options for the location of the new school.

The petition, signed by over 3,000 Saddleworth residents and other concerned parties was handed to Mr Mike Green, Education Funding Agency (EFA), Director of Capital, at the Agencies offices in Coventry. A 45 minute meeting followed with Mr Green in which he explained the EFA's position and the present state of the feasibility study.

The Group were surprised to learn that, contrary to impressions given to date, the EFA are only responsible for the feasibility studies, not the final decision on the location of the new school. This is entirely the responsibility of the Local Authority and School Governors. Provided the preferred site is technically feasible and acceptable in cost terms, the EFA will built the school wherever Oldham Council wished.

Contrary to previous statements by Oldham Council and MP, Debbie Abrahams, there is no fixed budget of £17 million for the project, site specific factors will determine the final costs. If these are acceptable for a particular site the EFA will built the school in the location preferred by Oldham Council.

Finally, Mr Green stressed that there was clearly a need for a new school in Saddleworth and the EFA are fully committed to delivering a state of the art school within the existing programme. There is no threat to the project by the present feasibility studies, these are necessary to ensure that planning issues have been properly addressed and that the school build will go ahead smoothly without technical difficulties once a final decision on location is taken.

Cllr Mike Buckley said "Mr Green was very candid with us. He gave us straight answers to all the questions we asked. We were very grateful that he gave us nearly an hour of his time and listened carefully to our concerns. This was in strong contrast to the response we have received to date from Jim McMahon, the Leader of Oldham Council, and MP, Debbie Abrahams. We have still been unable to fix a date with either party to hand over the petition and discuss why they favour the Diggle location over Uppermill."

Cllr Nikki Kirkham, who handed the petition to Mr Green said "Residents and parents have been mislead by Oldham Council and the major political parties. They have claimed that the decision on the site rests with the EFA, clearly now this is not the case. Oldham Council will make the final decision. It is a disgrace that there has been no consultation with local people on this decision, that they won't speak to us and that they have tried to deflect responsibility for the decision to the EFA. Jim McMahon should be prepared to meet the people of Saddleworth at a public meeting and justify why he wants the school in Diggle."

Stuart Coleman, who attended representing the Diggle Community Association echoed these concerns "We have invited Cllr Chadderton to our meetings to discuss the school issue but she has declined. Debbie Abrahams, our MP, apparently also does not wish to discuss the issue until a decision has been made. So far Independent Councillors have been unable to secure a date when they can meet with her to discuss the issue and hand over the petition."

ENDS

Contact Details:
Councillor Mike Buckley
mikebuckley@saddleworth.net
01457 820015


Government Agency to take into account local views in deciding on the site for the new Saddleworth School in Uppermill

30th October 2014

Saddleworth Independent Councillors have welcomed a letter from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) indicating that a decision on the new Saddleworth School location is imminent and the views of local people will be taken into account.

The Councillors have recently written to the EFA asking to present a 3000 signature petition requesting that the new school is located in Uppermill rather than in Diggle. In his reply Peter Lauener, EFA chief excecutive, confirm that a panel has been set up within the EFA to decide where the new school is to be built. In his reply Mr Lauener states "The feasibility study is currently in progress and the information for the Uppermill and Diggle sites is being assembled. The panel will very shortly commence its assessment of the options." He goes on to say that he will pass on the Councillors' letter to the panel "so that they are fully aware of your views" and would be "very happy to pass the petition through to the panel".

Cllr. Mike Buckley said "We are grateful to the EFA for listening to the views of Saddleworth people. They have been ignored to date by Oldham Council, our MP and elected Saddleworth Councillors from all the major parties. The Independents are the only ones who seem to care what the people of Saddleworth want and are listening to their concerns.

"Despite previous claims in the press by Oldham Council, it is clearly not a done deal that the school will go to Diggle. I believe the EFA are being fair and even handed in looking at the two site options. The letter, once and for all, knocks on the head the often repeated scare story that if the school does not go to Diggle, the EFA will withdraw from the project and the money for a new school will be lost. As a result of Saddleworth Independent's overtures they are now dispassionately looking at Uppermill as an option."

The Independent Councillors plan to travel next week to the EFA headquarters in Coventry to present the petition.

Councillor Mike Buckley
Councillor Rob Knotts
Councillor Nikki Kirkham
Councillor Lesley Brown
Councillor Lesley Schofield

ENDS

Contact Details:
Councillor Mike Buckley
mikebuckley@saddleworth.net
01457 820015


Saddleworth Independent Councillors petition Oldham Council and Government Agency to build the new Saddleworth School in Uppermill

25th October 2014

Early in the Summer the Government's Education Funding Agency (EFA) announced it would make a decision on the site of the new Saddleworth School and that an announcement was expected in the Autumn.

Saddleworth Independent Councillors Nikki Kirkham, Mike Buckley, Rob Knotts, Lesley Brown and Lesley Schofield have now written to the EFA chief executive requesting that the wishes of local Saddleworth people are fully taken into consideration when making the decision. To underline this message the councillors plan to present the EFA with a petition signed by over 3,000 Saddleworth residents, businesses and parents requesting that the new school remains in Uppermill.

The location of the new school has been a topic of great concern throughout the district. An apparent "done deal" announced by Oldham Council to build the school in Diggle, was overturned in June following a meeting betweeen Saddleworth Independent Councillors and the EFA. Following the meeting the EFA decided to include the Uppermill site as an option. Since then survey work has been carried out at Uppermill to seriously evaluate the Uppermill option; survey work that has never before taken place.

Cllr Nikki Kitkham said "the EFA have said the school can be built in Uppermill, it just boils down to cost. We are convinced that it will cost a lot less to build in Uppermill as the playing fields and public transport arrangements are already in place. It all hinges on whether Oldham Council will subsidise the EFA costs in Diggle. Oldham Council money should be used to improve the school itself not on the the expensive groundwork necessary in Diggle.

"Traffic is an insurmountable problem in Diggle and there is a real concern over pedestrian safety. We have written to the EFA highlighting the concerns of the Saddleworth community. We also have requested that Cllr McMahon, Leader of Oldham Council, meets with us to receive the petition and discuss these concerns. To date the people of Saddleworth have never been consulted."

The Councillors also plan to petition MP, Debbie Abrahams, and the School Minister David Laws.

ENDS

Contact Details:
Councillor Nikki Kirkham
Councillor Mike Buckley
nikki.kirkham@oldham.gov.uk
07989 595215
mikebuckley@saddleworth.net
01457 820015


EFA reconsider Uppermill as site for new Saddleworth School

7th June 2014

Following intense lobbying by the Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG), and growing protests across Saddleworth, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) have decided to reconsider Uppermill as the site of the new Saddleworth School. Following a meeting with representatives of the EFA, Headteacher, Matthew Milburn announced to the school's technical committee on Thursday that a detailed feasibility study was now underway by the EFA into the best place to build the new school and this study includes the Uppermill site as well as the site at Diggle.

SDAG spokesperson Cllr Mike Buckley said "This is excellent news and it knocks on the head the propaganda issued by Oldham that the move is a done deal. The recent local elections sent a strong message to the powers-that-be that Saddleworth residents regard the school move to Diggle as a great mistake and want to see it remain in Uppermill.

"At last someone is listening to what the people of Saddleworth want.

"The proposed site in Diggle is fraught with planning and technical problems, none of which exist in Uppermill. The plans we put forward for building in Uppermill we believe will also cost less than building in Diggle. These plans were never properly considered, either by Oldham Council or the EFA.

"We will now be contacting the EFA to ask them to look seriously at our proposals."

ENDS

Contact Details:
Councillor Mike Buckley
mikebuckley@saddleworth.net
01457-820015

Facebook: SDAG
Twitter: @SaveDiggle
Website: www.savediggle.org.uk


Oldham Council's claim that the new Saddleworth School cannot be built in Uppermill rejected by Saddleworth Residents

21st December 2013

Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG), a group of concerned Saddleworth residents, have condemned the resolution passed at the December meeting of Oldham Council which supports the move of Saddleworth School to Diggle rather than building the new school on the existing school site in Uppermill. SDAG describe the resolution as 'uninformed, misguided and misleading'.

The Council's resolution claims that the existing site in Uppermill is 'inadequate for a replacement school and is not fit to meet the educational needs of future generations of students' and that the SDAG proposal to build the new school at the back of the existing site 'does not meet 'the aspirational wishes of parents, staff and school governors'.

Cllr. Mike Buckley, speaking for SDAG said 'the resolution is nonsense, the SDAG proposal is for exactly the same school proposed for Diggle to be built in Uppermill, the layout and facilities would be identical but would benefit from better sports facilities than those proposed at Diggle. Furthermore, since the Council already own the site an early start on site would be possible. Are the Council now saying the new school at Diggle will not be fit for purpose? The SDAG proposals have been drawn up by a professional architect and building contractor with recent experience of the last government’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) Programme. We know they are viable and deliverable.

'The government's agency responsible for funding and building the new school have seen the SDAG proposals and have agreed the school can be built on the existing site. However they have produced no costings to show that it cannot be built within the existing budget. For convenience and ease of construction the agency prefer the greenfield site in Diggle. This is not surprising as they are not responsible for safeguarding Saddleworth’s green belt or the difficulty of access, traffic chaos and road safety problems that will follow. These responsibilities lie with Oldham Council along with the costs of trying to alleviate them.

Had the Council indicated their desire to keep the school in Uppermill I am sure this would have happened. Seven out of the nine present schools being built under the government's present programme are being built on their existing sites while the school continues in operation. Their governors and staff at these schools don’t seems to be as prone to apoplexy as Cllr. Battye claimed would be the case with their Saddleworth counterparts if the school was to be built alongside the current school buildings. Indeed Matthew Milburn, the school’s head, has indicated he would be prepared to manage the inconvenience of the new school being constructed alongside the present school.'

Cllr. Buckley further criticised the Council for the continuing lack of public consultation over the project. 'To our knowledge at least 46 people sent in email questions to the Council debate and another 16 were sent in as tweets. Not a single tweet was answered and only one email - Cllr. Chadderton, the cabinet member responsible, apparently misunderstanding the question asked. The absence of consultation and the apparent lack of interest by the Council in the views of local people is an affront to local democracy. Is this what is meant by a Co-operative Council?'

'Anger and opposition to the move of the school to Diggle is growing, not just in Diggle itself, but in Uppermill, Greenfield, Dobcross and other parts of Saddleworth. When people realise what is proposed - overwhelmingly, they are opposed to the move. It contravenes all existing planning policies, is universally inconvenient and rides roughshod over the wishes of local people.'

ENDS

Contact Details:
Councillor Mike Buckley
mikebuckley@saddleworth.net
01457-820015

Facebook: SDAG
Twitter: @SaveDiggle
Website: www.savediggle.org.uk


Comments on the Decision by the Technical Committee at Saddleworth School

6th December 2013

Cllr Mike Buckley said "I am very disappointed that the school has taken this position. Matthew Milburn, the head teacher, assured SDAG that the proposals for building the new school on the existing site would be fairly considered and properly assessed. He repeated this commitment at a public meeting in Diggle on November 16th. We took this statement in good faith and the plans were submitted to Oldham and the EFA for assessment and costing."

"It is now clear this a proper assessment and costing has not taken place. Mr Milburn, whilst agreeing that the school could be built on the existing site, has informed SDAG that costings for building the school either at Diggle or Uppermill are not available and that it was "common sense that the school would be cheaper to build at Diggle". A decision has therefore been made on this basis without any numbers. This is a strange way of making financial decisions and gives the impression that the project is being driven by hearsay and seat of the pants rather than in a proper business like fashion."

We have now been informed that a traffic assessment and travel plan for the Diggle Option will not be carried out by Oldham Council, but will be left to the contractor after a decision has been made. This is putting the cart before the horses and has reinforced our impression that the project management by Oldham Council lacks rigour.

We firmly believe the school can be built within budget at Uppermill. Our campaign will go on.

ENDS

Contact Details:
Councillor Mike Buckley
mikebuckley@saddleworth.net
01457-820015

Facebook: SDAG
Twitter: @SaveDiggle
Website: www.savediggle.org.uk


Building new School in Uppermill could cost less that building in Diggle - Detailed plans under consideration

1st December 2013

Plans showing how the current Education Funding Authority (EFA) design proposals for the Diggle site will fit on the mostly unusable football pitch on the current Uppermill site are now being considered by OMBC and the EFA.

Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG) believes that the proposal to choose Diggle over Uppermill may have been based on the old BSF (Building Schools for the Future) design from 2008 rather than the new EFA design, and that it has not been reconsidered in the light of revised funding arrangements.

The attached proposals, loosely costed by a professional developer are identical in size and form and offer equivalent and in some parts better facilities to those proposed at Diggle. The school has been involved in aspects of the design and their requirements incorporated into the plans. The new plan recognises that the all-weather pitch and outdoor courts in Uppermill can be retained. Further savings may be made by refurbishing the existing sports hall (as has been done at Oldham academy North), as opposed to the larger cost of new facilities in Diggle.

In order to avoid excessive costs for contractor access, which was seen as a major problem with the Uppermill site, the new proposals involve a much cheaper route being taken which can be achieved by the temporary relocation of about 6 classrooms elsewhere on site. There will be no other disruption during construction. Most schools elsewhere in the country are rebuilt on existing sites, and the EFA fully supports this approach.

Cllr Mike Buckley of SDAG said "the plans have been professionally drawn up and costed. We are confident that with all the potential extra expense involved in building the school in Diggle, rather than using the existing infrastructure in Uppermill, our proposals will be less costly. A brand new, fit for purpose school, can be built in Uppermill, at the heart of Saddleworth entirely within the proposed budget of £17 million if the political and local will exists to achieve this."

Attached : Plans for the new school in Uppermill submitted to OMBC and the EFA.

ENDS

Contact Details:
Councillor Mike Buckley
mikebuckley@saddleworth.net
01457-820015

Facebook: SDAG
Twitter: @SaveDiggle
Website: www.savediggle.org.uk


SDAG responds to Liberal Democrat Group on school

27th November 2013

Over the last week leaflets and press statements from various Liberal Councillors have been circulating Diggle. The latest one has caused many of you to email SDAG saying how ludicrous and insulting it is. We thought we'd help them by correcting some of theIr comments.

PRESENTING THE FACTS:

LIB DEM STATEMENT

The Shaws Pallet Works Site is designated as a Primary Employment Zone

FACT

Only the existing Pallet Works Buildings are designated PEZ (actually the term is now Saddleworth Employment Zone). The rest of the site is designated for Business Use and Green Belt. The proposed school would not being built on the PEZ/SEZ part of the site.

LIB DEM STATEMENT

The land proposed for the site of the school buildings in Diggle is not green belt land.

FACT

The sports hall is proposed to be built on green belt land as are the playing fields.

LIB DEM STATEMENT

The current classification of the land as PEZ (industrial:- ANY use, e.g. warehousing such as the one in Shaw operating 24 hours a day) could also be very easily reclassified as residential.

FACT

This part of the site is not affected by the new school. It could be reclassified for residential irrespective whether the school goes ahead or not.

LID DEM STATEMENT

A new modern school in Diggle could possibly raise property prices. ( The 2nd press release says could be up to 20% )

FACT

Property prices would almost certainly fall due to increased traffic and noise in what is now a quiet resident area. Good primary schools can lead to an increase in house prices in their catchment area. The catchment area for Saddleworth School is the whole of Saddleworth so the proximity of the school would have no positive effect.

LIB DEM SATEMENT

There could be a housing estate of 300-400 houses if the school is not built in Diggle.

FACT

The building of the school in Diggle would not stop the existing Pallet Works buildings being developed for housing or continue being used for industrial use. The field in front of the Pallet Works buildings which would not be occupied by the school would still be zoned for business use and theoretically could be reclassified for housing. It is also part of the land swop proposal and Cllr McMahon of OMBC has not ruled out the possibility of it being developed for housing. The field that the school would occupy could only accommodate about 40 typical Diggle houses.

LID DEM STATEMENT

The 8 to 10 useable acres of the Uppermill site could result in either a taller building, reduced sports facilities or reduced on-site parking.

FACT

The usable area of the Uppermill site (8-10 acres) is larger than the area that would be occupied by the school buildings and playing fields in Diggle (7-8 acres). The proposed school building at Diggle comfortably fits on the Uppermill site. Like the Diggle proposal it would be two and three stories high. The sports facilities at Uppermill would be better as the all-weather pitch would be retained. There are no funds to recreate this at Diggle. There are presently more parking spaces on the Uppermill site than are being proposed at Diggle. The number of parking places at Uppermill would be retained when the new school was built.

LIB DEM STATEMENT

The reconstruction of the school on its current site would be potentially dangerous with children effectively being taught in a building site.

FACT

The building part of the site would be securely fenced off from the remaining school site. Rigorous health and safety procedures would apply ensuring a separation of children from the construction area. This is a standard procedure on many school sites where schools have been rebuilt on site while the school is in operation. Five out of the seven schools in the present batch of new schools will be built on their existing sites.

LIB DEM STATEMENT

If the Diggle site proposal were rejected the funding could be lost

FACT

The Diggle site may yet be found not to be suitable as site investigations and traffic assessments are still being carried out. For this reason the existing Uppermill site has not yet been rejected by OMBC and is still an option if it can be demonstrated it is viable. Proposals for building the school in Uppermill are still being considered by the school, OMBC and the Education Funding Agency (EFA). The recently issued OMBC FAQs states "The School's Technical Group are considering [the new proposal for building on the Uppermill site] and whether or not this presents a more affordable scheme in comparison with that previously prepared and costed by the EFA's Technical Advisors. Both the Council and School are committed to delivering the best solution for the area within the EFA's affordability envelope."

LIB DEM STATEMENT

The children of Saddleworth would suffer because it is being used as what our local MP Debbie Abrahams calls "a party political football"

FACT

This statement is incomprehensible. All three political parties at OMBC are united in their view that it is Diggle or nothing. How can this be a party political football? The only constituency that does not agree are the ever increasing people of Saddleworth who want to retain the school in Uppermill. It seems their elected members are not listening to them nor representing their views.

ENDS

Contact Details:
Councillor Mike Buckley
mikebuckley@saddleworth.net
01457-820015

Facebook: SDAG
Twitter: @SaveDiggle
Website: www.savediggle.org.uk


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

7th November 2013

At a teleconference last night 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."

ENDS

Contact Details:
Councillor Mike Buckley
mikebuckley@saddleworth.net
01457-820015

Facebook: SDAG
Twitter: @SaveDiggle
Website: www.savediggle.org.uk


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

5th November 2013

The Save Diggle Action Group are pleased to announce that one of the country’s leading planning lawyers, Robert McCracken Q.C. of Francis Taylor Buildings, London, has pledged his support for their campaign. He has offered to provide the group with pro bono legal advice on issues surrounding the case.

His support for the Group comes amid a ground-swell of opposition from residents across Saddleworth to the proposals for a new school hatched by Oldham Council. These will see Saddleworth School built on green belt fields in the Diggle Valley and the land in Uppermill given over to housing developers.

Robert McCracken has an affinity with Saddleworth having been brought up in Greenfield and cares passionately for its landscape and heritage. He said of the present scheme:

"the proposals are unacceptable. This Green Belt land should not be sacrificed."

Robert McCracken is one of the country’s foremost environmental and planning lawyer. He appeared at the Heathrow Terminal 5 Inquiry, the Stonehenge Inquiry and successfully opposed the scheme for 27 wind turbines in Cumbria at the Whinash Inquiry. Locally, he served as counsel for Derker residents who opposed the compulsory purchase of their homes in the face of Oldham Council and the Housing Market Renewal Scheme.

ENDS

Contact Details:
Councillor Mike Buckley
mikebuckley@saddleworth.net
01457-820015

Facebook: SDAG
Twitter: @SaveDiggle
Website: www.savediggle.org.uk


Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG) ask the Education Funding Agency to Support Building the new Saddleworth School on the Existing Uppermill Site

30th October 2013

Enquiries by Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG) have revealed that the EFA are suprised that they are being made out to be the key decision makers behand the unpopular move of the Saddleworth School to the Diggle green belt site and have indicated this is entirely a decision for Oldham Council and the School Governers.

The EFA have informed SDAG that:-

  1. Many of the new schools built under the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) have been built on the original sites.
     
  2. The choice of sites is not the responsibility of the EFA and in principal they have no objection to schools being built on the original sites.
     
  3. In fact under the PSBP programme many of the new schools have been built in this way. Furthermore it is quite common for a new school to be built on the existing playing fields and for the sports facilities to be recreated after the demolition of the old school buildings.
     
  4. EFA have no objection to temporary accommodation being used on site while school building proceeds. In fact this is the norm in such situations.

We are now informing the EFA of the local concerns and growing opposition to the proposals to build on the green belt in Diggle. We are also indication to them that their role is being misrepresented in the decision making process.

We are now urgently asking for a fuller examination of the obstacles involved in rebuilding the school on the existing Uppermill site before any further action is taken by OMBC.

We are also urging concerned parties to write directly to Jane Brighouse, the officer in charge of the project at the EFA, expressing their concerns. Her email address is jane.brighouse@education.gsi.gov.uk

ENDS

Contact Details:
Councillor Mike Buckley
mikebuckley@saddleworth.net
01457-820015

Facebook: SDAG
Twitter: @SaveDiggle
Website: www.savediggle.org.uk


Action Group formed to oppose the move of Saddleworth School to Diggle

24th October 2013

Concerned residents met this week to form an Action Group to resist the move of Saddleworth School to Diggle. Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG) will lobby to keep the proposed new school on the existing site in Uppermill.

Spokesperson for the group, Councillor Mike Buckley, said "It is clear the Diggle site is not suitable for a host of reasons. Access problems are a real concern and no-one wants to see a green and pleasant Saddleworth valley concreted over. The existing site in Uppermill is ideal with all the necessary infrastructure already in place. But we acknowledge that the present school is clearly sub-standard and in need of replacement. We believe that with good will and close co-operation between the School, Local Authority, Funding Agency and residents the operational problems of building on the existing site can be overcome. We want to see a first class new school for Saddleworth but unfortunately the present proposals fall far short of this."

ENDS

Contact Details:
Councillor Mike Buckley
mikebuckley@saddleworth.net
01457-820015

Facebook: SDAG
Twitter: @SaveDiggle
Website: www.savediggle.org.uk