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


School and Highways Consultation

Updated - 13th December 2015

Saddleworth School Highways Scheme Public Drop-in Events:

Thursday 10th December 2015: 3pm to 7.30pm at Kiln Green Church, Diggle
Tuesday 15th December 2015: 3pm – 8.30pm at Diggle Band Club, Diggle

Only after mass critisim and a letter signed by almost 100 residents did Oldham Council confirmed an extra date for the highways drop in event to allow the public to view the latest plans for the highways scheme for Saddleworth School.

Oldham Council have also updated their website to include the new highway scheme proposals, although they do not give you access to the new plans.

However, SDAG believe that everyone should be able to view the new proposed highway scheme plans, whether they can get to the drop-in event or not.

Please also note that there is a proposal to change the priority on the Huddersfield Road/Standedge Road junction (although this is not shown on the plans, as it is deemed outside the planning application boundary), which will just encourage more cars to drive through Diggle, than to continue on the A670.

Whether you are for or against the school coming to Diggle, these highway changes will effect all the residents and businesses in Diggle and the surrounding area.

We urge EVERYONE to view the proposed plans and ask questions prior to the submission of the planning application before Christmas.

From last Thursday's event it appears that the consensus of both the pro and anti Diggle camps is that these highway proposals are unworkable.

Here is a conversation between a Diggle resident and a Unity Partnership officer from last Thursday's event:

Q: Why is the wall by the school entrance to be removed and replaced with a fence and not a wall?
A: A cost cutting exercise

Q: How will people in the planned single lane controlled traffic light restricted access terraces and more particularly across the road move house if they need a pantechnicon to be parked outside their house for several hours, or a builder's skip for several days/weeks?
A: They will apply in advance for a licence to block the pavement
(I think he's wrong there, they would be refused a skip permit, though a temporary removal van might be OK)

Q: What about emergency vehicles?
A: They can and will block the road without a permit

Q: What about unscheduled deliveries by men in vans who have no clue beforehand that they can't park and deliver?
A: Don't know

Q: Why is there no turning head at the end of the access track planned for off road parking for residents in the terrace?
A: Not needed for cars as they will turn into their space, back out and drive out again

Q: What if it's full?
A: They will have to back out all the way

Q: What about vans and wagons too big to turn and with no banksman to reverse them?
A: They shouldn't be there

Q: So it's better that they block the main road to make unscheduled deliveries because you won't/can't afford a turnaround?
A: Yes

Q: Is a car park etc an acceptable use of land in the green belt?
A: Don't know

Q: Have you done a computer model to show how the traffic will back up at the new lights?
A: Yes, with vehicles coming from the Uppermill end, and traffic won't back up as far as Standedge Road

Q: What is the traffic flow?
A: 300 per hour in that direction

Q: Don't you mean 250 in 10 mins just before school starts?
A: Our model is based on an even flow over the hour

Q: Isn't that naïve?
A: Mumble mumble mumble

Q: Are you going to have a box junction at the Standedge Road junction?
A: The model says it won't be needed. If it's a problem doubtless it will be considered later, but my job is to get this approved and then think about the consequences later

Q: What about the other direction ie from Diggle and parents coming back from drop off?
A: Don't know

Q: Do you know how many people live in Diggle and drive to work?
A: No

Q: Have you modelled waiting times/queues in that direction?
A: Can't remember

Q: What about rat run problems on Spurn Lane, Ward Lane and Carr Lane?
A: We'll think about that when we have approval for this scheme. No need to anticipate problems of that nature at this stage as it's not part of this application

Q: You have done your best to solve an insoluble problem haven't you?
A: Yes

Q: It's not good enough is it? I don't expect you to answer that.
A: (no response)

Q: Do you really think that applications for major highway proposals can be approved without considering the consequences elsewhere?
A: mumble mumble mumble

Q: Is that the usual procedure?
A: No

Q: So your brief is to get the plans approved and then pick up the pieces as a separate exercise afterwards, even though you are aware that there will be many and varied implications on a more or less disastrous scale, and which cannot be satisfactorily resolved?
A: Yes

Further comments made by the OMBC officer and the Unity Partnership officers on Thursday were:

  • "There will be an 'unofficial' route to school down the canal, which we expect to be used by a lot of pupils."
  • "There is no cycle lane facility - We believe cycling to school will not be encouraged."
  • "We believe a 220 seconds phasing will apply on the traffic lights."
  • "There will be just 15 spaces for parents to wait to pick up at the new turnaround."
  • "We know at least 100 parents in cars wait in Uppermill at the moment."
  • "We believe that a lot of parents travelling from Greenfield and Uppermill will access the school using Ward Lane."

Oldham Council and Interserve have now released their plans for both the highway improvements and the new Saddleworth School.

There is now a four week period of consultation until the 23rd June 2015, before the planning application will be submitted.

Public consultation events

Wednesday 3 June, 15.30-19.30 Satellite Centre, Wellington Road, Greenfield, OL3 7AL
Monday 8 June 15.30-19.30 St Chads Church, Kiln Green, Diggle, OL3 5JY
Thursday 11 June 16.00-19.30 Saddleworth School, High Street, Uppermill, OL3 6BU

Highway "Improvements"

SDAG's initial response to OMBC's proposals for modification to the highways in Diggle relating to the planned new Saddleworth school is that they are ill-conceived, fail to adequately address issues of safety and will generate traffic chaos in and around the village. The proposals involve either retaining the current narrow footway in front of the terraced housing at the 'pinch-point' on Huddersfield Road, with the associated serious risk to children walking to school, or widening this footpath, which means restricting traffic flow through a one-way system, priority flow and/or traffic lights all of which will inevitably generate appalling congestion for vehicles accessing and leaving the village. Parents and residents should unite to insist in opposing the absolutely unworkable proposals which will destroy a quiet village and either put children at risk or generate a two-way traffic jam every term-time morning and afternoon with the resultant increased air pollution, noise and inconvenience for parents and residents.

The proposals take no account of the likely impact of these changes on minor routes such as Spurn Lane or Dobcross village which will inevitably suffer as traffic seeks any route away from the congestion in Diggle these schemes will produce.

Furthermore, all of the schemes rely on the construction of a new car park on land to the rear of terraced houses on Huddersfield Road that is currently open farmland and part of the greenbelt. Previously the Council has argued that it was only seeking to develop land in the green belt for sporting and recreational uses relating to the school but this proposal would involve turning over previously protected land for what is fundamentally residential purposes, a significant precedent that would undermine the Council's commitment to protect the green belt in Saddleworth. Apart from this significant violation of local and national planning policy, it is not clear how many or which residents will have access to this off-road parking. The plans do not suggest that all the cars currently parked on the stretch of road that will be turned into a parking-free zone will be accommodated by the very limited area of the proposed car park.

The Council have had months during which residents have repeatedly pointed out these problems to them and they have, once again, ploughed on with an unworkable, dangerous and environmentally catastrophic scheme. This is not a solution, it doesn’t even begin to address the problems.

Option A: Two way traffic and traffic calming
Option B: Prioritised traffic flow using full time traffic lights
Option C: Prioritised traffic flow using give way signage
Option D: Prioritised traffic flow using part time traffic lights
Changes to Access Road from Huddersfield Road
Changes to Wool Road and Sugar Lane

Read Oldham Council's highways consultation page and view the link to their public consultation survey

Wider Implications

  • All drop off/pick up laybys are shown on the east side of Wool Road indicating that the drop off traffic will be moving in the Uppermill direction. Unless the traffic has originated at the top of Standedge Road the only way traffic can be moving in this direction is if it has come down Sugar Lane and turned right into Wool Road. The route over Sandy Lane is another alternative for drop off/pick up traffic.
     
  • It is stated in the plans that the intention is to discourage as much drop off traffic as possible from entering Huddersfield Road. It is clear that the Council's plan, although not stated, is that traffic from the A62, Delph, Denshaw and Dobcross will be expected to travel through the centre of Dobcross and down Sugar Lane. Speed cushions have been added on Sugar Lane presumably as a consequence of this decision.
     
  • There is nowhere to turn round on Standedge Road so this is the only option for traffic dropping off at Wool Road.
     
  • Sandy Lane will be an attractive rat run.
     
  • Children from Delph and Dobcross who presently walk to school do so along Dobcross New Road or through the centre of Dobcross and down Nicker Brow. The new route for them will be down Sugar Lane which has a single very narrow footpath. Presumably this is the reason that speed cushions are being added along this route.
     
  • Platt Lane will now become the most direct route for school traffic from Delph and Denshaw.
     

Conclusions

OLDHAM COUNCIL ARE CLEARLY ABANDONING THEIR PREVIOUS POLICY TO DISCOURAGE TRAFFIC THROUGH THE CENTRE OF DOBCROSS AND INTEND IT TO BE A MAJOR SCHOOL TRAFFIC ROUTE.

  • There is no solution to the school traffic problem. This is the best the Council can come up with. They have no money for other solutions that would involve compulsory purchase of land they don't own and long delays to the school building programme.
     
  • They have decided to locate the school in a place that is not easily accessible and have refused to confront the realities of consequential traffic issues despite these being pointed out to them from the beginning.
     
  • The character of two of Saddleworth's residential villages will be permanently damaged by these changes as will the quality of life for their residents.
     

THIS IS AN UNAVOIDABLE CONSEQUENCE OF THE DECISION TO MOVE THE SCHOOL FROM UPPERMILL TO DIGGLE.


School Site Plans

Interserve have now released their plans for the school site and as we all thought this is a modern block building with no Yorkshire stone in sight.

Unfortunately a lot of their plans and pictures are very small and of low resolution, so the public can't really see any of the detail to be able to comment thoroughly on the proposals.

See their dedicated website which includes an FAQ section and their public consultation survey: http://newsaddleworthschool.co.uk

BEFORE

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AFTER

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Don't forget to add in the bus turnaround and the MUGAs to the left of the buildings and the flood-lit sports pitches with fencing to the right.
Together with security lighting throughout the night to light up the valley.

As you can plainly see, this new building is not in keeping with either the Grade II listed clock tower building
(whose clock was targeted by vandals over the Bank Holiday weekend)
and will have a detrimental impact on the character of the surrounding landscape and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

Building materials

The building materials to be used are brick, render, cedral weatherboard (which is a low cost fibre cement external cladding made to look like wood and an alternative to traditional timber weatherboarding) and insulated steel cladding panels.

Because Oldham Council has done a deal with the site owners (WRT Developments Ltd) to demolish the buildings (at Oldham Council's expense) rather than have EFA contractors do it, the existing Yorkshire stone on site will be sold off by WRT Developments Ltd for a profit rather than being available for reuse by Interserve on the school project.

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