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


The Saddleworth Independents

How the Saddleworth Independents Group began

The Saddleworth Independents Group was formed four years ago by the late Parish Councillor Ken Hulme.

With a group of like-minded colleagues, disillusioned by Oldham's consistent failure to understand the concerns of Saddleworth residents, he decided that a new non-party political approach was needed - one that would ALWAYS put Saddleworth first.

This, in contrast to party politics in Oldham, which has consistently resulted in Saddleworth being at the bottom of the Council's agenda.

The Independents won four seats on Saddleworth Parish Council in 2011 and won their first seat on Oldham Council in 2014.

In 2014 two Liberal Democrat Councillors, dismayed at their party's support for the Saddleworth School move, joined the group, now making the Saddleworth Independents the main opposition on the Parish Council.

In the 2015 elections seven Saddleworth Independent councillors won seats on the Saddleworth Parish Council. This was in response to local concerns that party politics is currently having a detrimental impact within Saddleworth.

The Saddleworth Independents are NOT a political party.

It is a group of independent people supporting each other in their common causes for the benefit of Saddleworth.

Saddleworth Independent councillors on Oldham Council

On 22nd May 2014, 1147 Saddleworth North voters elected Saddleworth Independent Councillor Nikki Kirkham onto Oldham Council by a considerable majority of 478 votes over the Liberal Democrats.

The Saddleworth Independent councillors on Saddleworth Parish Council

Independent local people who can ALWAYS do what is best for Saddleworth, rather than having to "toe the party line".

Saddleworth needs a change away from party politics.

That is why SDAG is supporting all the Saddleworth Independent councillors.


Meet your Saddleworth Independent councillors

Delph Ward (Delph and Denshaw)

Geoff Bayley

Geoff Bayley - Saddleworth Independent candidate - Saddleworth Parish Council Delph Ward - 2015

I was born in Lees (only 60 yards from the Saddleworth boundary!) but have lived in Saddleworth for over forty years, the last thirty three years in Delph. Educated at Zion School, Lees, Chadderton Grammar School and Oldham Municipal Technical College, (HNC in Electrical Engineering & Electronics), for twenty five years up to my retirement, I was an engineering research technician at Manchester Victoria University.

I am a governor of Christ Church School, Denshaw, and a volunteer at two local schools where I assist with reading practice. I represent Delph Community Association on the Saddleworth Transport Sub Committee, the Greenfield Rail Action Group, and Saddleworth Home Watch. I am also a committee member of a local Youth Brass Band.

I am a former member of Saddleworth Parish Council, representing Delph and Denshaw, and during that period I took a strong interest in local planning issues, making site visits in considering most planning applications in the two villages, a much better way than just looking at a drawing!

I am currently Chairman of Saddleworth White Rose Society, and believe that Saddleworth's historic ties to the West Riding should be celebrated and not forgotten. It is an important part of our heritage.

I also believe that the Parish Council should have more responsibilities and that local government decisions affecting Saddleworth should be made in Saddleworth. The 1974 'marriage' of Saddleworth to the Borough of Oldham has not been a happy one. However, I believe that there are opportunities for more autonomy with the recent Localist Act and the prospect of devolution of Central Government powers to 'The North'.

Nikki Kirkham

Nikki Kirkham - Saddleworth Independent candidate - Saddleworth Parish Council Delph Ward - 2015

I have lived in Saddleworth all my life. Born in Denshaw in 1973, I later moved to Delph, my ancestral home. I am proud that my family have lived in the village for four generations. I live at Bleak Hey Nook and am a working mum. I have a sixteen year old son.

I was elected to Saddleworth Parish Council in 2011 and last year you elected me to also represent you on Oldham Council.

I have campaigned with the Saddleworth Independents Group to keep Saddleworth School in Uppermill and to protect Rights of Way in Saddleworth. I was successful last year in re-opening the footpath across the Coal Yard in Delph after a three year battle - it is now designated officially as a Public Right of Way.

I do not believe there is a place for National or Borough party politics on Saddleworth Parish Council and have recently witnessed how damaging this can be to cohesion and making the best decisions for Saddleworth. That is why I am standing as an Independent candidate.

If elected I will continue to put Saddleworth first and continue to do my best to help the residents of Delph and Denshaw.

Katrina Roman

Katrina Roman - Saddleworth Independent candidate - Saddleworth Parish Council Delph Ward - 2015

I have lived in Saddleworth all my life. I grew up in Delph, went to Saddleworth Secondary School, and moved to Denshaw eight years ago. I am an English teacher at an Oldham secondary school and I have a thirteen year old daughter who currently attends Saddleworth School.

Having been lucky enough to grow up in Saddleworth, I am deeply passionate about the area in which I live. I support local business and shop locally and want to see a thriving future for the area.

I have decided to stand for the parish council to help ensure that Saddleworth retains its character and beauty while at the same time acquiring better facilities, transport links and activities for the young and the elderly.

I would like to see more commercial and retail activity in Delph. But it is important that its unique Pennine character is protected - it is one of the most attractive villages in Saddleworth.

Denshaw is often referred to as the forgotten village. Public transport services and local facilities are poor. Traffic is a major problem in both villages. If elected I hope to be a local champion and a voice for Delph and Denshaw residents ensuring that the villages’ problems are not forgotten or ignored.


Dobcross Ward (Dobcross and Diggle)

Lesley Brown

Lesley Brown - Saddleworth Independent candidate - Saddleworth Parish Council Dobcross Ward - 2015

I'm 64 years old, Saddleworth born and bred. My parents owned the Waggon Inn Uppermill before moving to Greenfield where I attended Shaw Street School then Uppermill Secondary Modern before studying hotel management at Hollings College, Manchester. I moved to Diggle in 1979. I have owned and run a vegetarian cafe for the last quarter of a century based on the campus of Manchester University.

I was a former governor at Saddleworth School and currently Chair of Saddleworth Civic Trust. I am also a member of Dobcross Brass Monkeys where I attempt to play percussion. I have two daughters and two grandchildren.

I am deeply concerned about local issues and have been a strong supporter of the campaign to keep Saddleworth School in Uppermill. I have also campigned in the past against over development in Saddleworth and the the need for a a new Diggle Station. The best interests of Saddleworth are all too often being ignored because of Oldham party politics. Saddleworth needs an independent voice.

Mike Buckley

Mike Buckley - Saddleworth Independent candidate - Saddleworth Parish Council Dobcross Ward - 2015

I spent my early years in Denshaw and attended Denshaw C. of E. School and Hulme Grammar School, Oldham. After graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College. London in 1969 I worked for eighteen years in British Telecom as an engineer and later as a general manager. From 1994 until 2005 I worked internationally as a telecommunication consultant and lived for three years in America. For the last eighteen years I have lived in Dobcross. I was elected to Oldham Council in 2007 and for eight years it was an honour to represent the people of Saddleworth North. Since 2007 I have been a member of Saddleworth Parish Council.

I care passionately about the history and heritage of Saddleworth and it was through these interests that I became involved in local government. During my time on Oldham Council I was appointed as Heritage Champion for the Borough where I successfully led a campaign to save and renovate the Old Town. In Saddleworth, I have long campaigned to protect our heritage and countryside. Successful past campaigns I have been involved with have been the Denshaw Wind Farm campaign, the saving restoration of Chapel Garden in Delph, Reclaiming Uppermill Square and the closing of Highmoor Tip. Much of my time over the last eighteen months has been spent campaigning to keep Saddleworth School in Uppermill.

On Saddleworth Parish Council I have a particular interest in planning and heritage issues - I am presently chair of the Conservation Advisory Committee and vice chair of the Planning Committee. I am currently leading a group involved with the restoration of the parish cemetery, improvements to the civic hall and the production of a Saddleworth Neighbourhood Plan. Past projects I have led were the production of a Parish Plan in 2009 and a Saddleworth Rights of Way Survey (still ongoing).

If elected I hope to continue with these projects. In determining policy I will always act to defend Saddleworth’s interests and our rich heritage. I want the parish council to take on more powers from Oldham and play a more meaningful role which reflect the views and wishes of local residents. I am dismayed at the way in which decisions at the parish level have recently been dictated by Oldham party politics and how the parish council is now in a position where it no longer reflects the views of the majority of residents. The present position of the Council on the move of Saddleworth School is a betrayal of the trust placed on it by the electors. I want this to change and for this reason I am now standing for re-election as a Saddleworth Independent.

Keith Lucas

Keith Lucas - Saddleworth Independent candidate - Saddleworth Parish Council Dobcross Ward - 2015

A Diggle resident and an adopted Saddleworth enthusiast, I have lived in Diggle for over 25 years and have spent my business career in broadcast TV and also running Street College in Oldham, an organisation founded by me to help young people from challenging and vulnerable backgrounds step back into education. In 2010 I received an MBE for my services to young people in Oldham.

Working closely with Save Diggle Action Group I have regularly witnessed a centralised local authority that never listens to the people of Saddleworth.

I want to stand as an Independent Parish councillor to break the stranglehold of the major political parties talking ideology but rarely delivering any positive actions or change for all the people of Saddleworth.

If elected I would like to see

  1. a parish council that campaigns and supports the government’s Localism Bill to give Saddleworth more strategic local powers.
     
  2. a parish council that is more accessible to young people and all residents with at least quarterly meetings asking the public for their views.
     
  3. a parish council that campaigns to set up a Saddleworth CIC (Community Interest Company) that harnesses local business minds, entrepreneurs and companies that want to put something back into Saddleworth.
     
  4. a parish council that gives young people living in Saddleworth a real voice, by creating a radio and TV channel that is run by them and also putting the life back into other Youth Services giving them a role and purpose for their future in Saddleworth.

Springhead Higher Ward (Austherlands, Scouthead and Higher Springhead)
2 councillor seats available

Rob Knotts

Rob Knotts - Saddleworth Independent candidate - Saddleworth Parish Council Springhead Higher Ward - 2015

I have lived in Saddleworth for twenty eight years. After a career as an officer in the Royal Air Force I was latterly a university lecturer in mechanical engineering. I now chair the Airship Association, a worldwide organisation aimed at promoting the use of airships, and lecture on the subject nationally and internationally.

Since retirement, I have played a active part in the Saddleworth community and have campaigned vigorously on a number of local issues. In the recent past these have included the Birks Quarry, Highmoor refuse tip, and Churchill playing fields campaigns. The move of Saddleworth Secondary School, the transfer of ownership of Dawson’s field in Scouthead to the Parish Council, the future of the Saddleworth band contest, and the Satellite Club in Greenfield are present challenges. The maintenance of adequate local bus services and provision of facilities for the young and old in the community are also issues affecting the quality of life for many in our community that need to be addressed.

As a Parish Councillor my analysis of Saddleworth Parish Council’s expenditure resulted in the Civic Hall rates being reduced by £17,500 per annum; a "one off" cash rebate of £54,500 and a saving of over £1,600 in the Parish Council’s annual insurance premium.

As an Independent councillor my aim is to represent the aspirations, needs and concerns of the local community with a total focus on working for the good of Saddleworth.

I vehemently oppose party politics at Parish Council level. It is unacceptable to have Oldham's political party machines imposing their will, without meaningful consultation, to the detriment of Saddleworth residents. The residents of Saddleworth have all too often been treated with disdain. The important question is: "Who does a Parish Councillor represent, a political party or the electorate?" I feel strongly that Oldham and National party politics should play no part in the running of Saddleworth Parish Council.


Why it is time for a change

Last year, two long standing Liberal Democrat Councillors, dismayed by their own party's stance over the new Saddleworth School issue resigned from their party and joined the other Saddleworth Independent councillors on the Parish Council.

Cllr Mike Buckley explained his decision to resign: "I expected that, as representatives of those affected, and being a party of opposition on Oldham Council, they would have challenged the decision by the Council to relocate the school on Saddleworth's open countryside. Instead, ignoring local opinion, they have closed ranks with their Labour colleagues in full support of the Oldham plans. Their manifesto commitments to protect Saddleworth from inappropriate development now ring very hollow. Consequently, I now feel I do not wish to remain in a party that has closed its ears to local views and has cast aside its principles so conveniently."

The other councillor to resign, Cllr Schofield, said: "My allegiances have always been with the people of Saddleworth – I am determined to do what is in the best interests of the district. Over the siting of the school, the Liberal Democrats have shown that they are willing to ride roughshod over the views of local people, and instead prioritise unquestioning loyalty to Labour run Oldham Council."

The Liberal Democrats in Saddleworth have shown their true colours, by ignoring the overwhelming number of Saddleworth residents opposed to building the new Saddleworth School in Diggle. They have just accepted Oldham Council's decisions, rather than questioning them and fighting for the best interests of Saddleworth and its beautiful countryside.

Even after the Education Funding Agency proved that they could build the new Saddleworth School in Uppermill, in January this year, and would do so if they were asked to do so by Oldham Council, the Lib Dem councillors on both Oldham and Parish Councils supported the move to Diggle, against the wishes of the Saddleworth residents they were elected to represent and over 3000 signatures on a petition requesting it be built in Uppermill.

Liberal Democrats won't even ask for information on your behalf

At the Saddleworth Parish Council meeting on 24th March 2014 ALL the Liberal Democratic Parish councillors, including Saddleworth North Ward Councillor Derek Heffernan (who is up for re-election this May), voted against requesting information from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) for the residents of Saddleworth concerning the new Saddleworth School.

This request for information was put forward by the Saddleworth Independent Group of councillors, including Cllr Lesley Brown.

Cllr Bill Cullen (Lib Dem) stated "I don't think we should be wasting our time discussing this. We haven't the resources to throw away on something that is not our problem."

Cllr Rob Knotts (Saddleworth Independent) stated "I want to see openness and transparency which has been denied to us. The issue here is getting information and we, surely as a Parish Council, representing the whole of Saddleworth, irrespective of what our views towards the school are or are not, are here to represent the people of Saddleworth and we should be finding out information as requested here to be able to do that job effectively and not deny it because we don't want to do it. It is our responsibility. We are elected on that mandate, therefore I have no hesitation in supporting this application so we can compare apples with apples and pears with pears and not go down the route that we have been forced all to take all the time 'Trust us we know what we're doing' because I'm not convinced."

Cllr Mike Buckley (Saddleworth Independent) stated "We have a duty. We are elected to represent the people of Saddleworth and to express a voice and to express our views and if something is not right, we have a duty, I believe to intervene and ask for more information. There is a lot of things that are not in our power that we get involved in. It doesn't stop us getting involved and having our say and representing the views of the people that elect us. So I am rather shocked at the view from across the table. I'm sorry this is a Liberal Democrat view this and it is becoming a party political issue."

Lib Dem Parish Councillors call group of concerned residents "Rent-a-mob"

After large numbers of concerned residents attended several Parish Council Meetings over the issue of the new Saddleworth School, they were then branded as "Rent-a-mob" by the Lib Dem councillors.

It is despicable that these councillors, who are elected as the representatives of the people of Saddleworth, should view their voters in such low esteem.

It's clear to everyone that has supported us that none of the major parties have any concern about Diggle and its local environs, if the school did come to Diggle.

Local residents were so disgusted with the attitute of the Lib Dem Parish Councillors, especially the Chair, Lib Dem Councillor Enid Firth, at the Parish Council meeting on the 26th January 2015 that they walked out en-mass after public questions.

Duncan Anderson, a Diggle resident, attended this meeting. Afterwards he emailed SDAG stating: "I was appalled and dismayed at the aggressive, ill mannered and indeed unpleasant attitude of the Chairperson." Duncan is now standing as a Saddleworth Independent councillor in Uppermill for the Parish Council elections.

Show the Lib Dems in Saddleworth that they have become out of touch with their voters

Saddleworth deserves better

Vote Saddleworth Independent


Smug way to put party before people - new Saddleworth School


Votes rebellion in school row - new Saddleworth School


Parish voting storm - new Saddleworth School