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

Saddleworth School

Saddleworth School

The Save Diggle Action Group say that one of the country’s leading planning lawyers, Robert McCracken QC 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 lawyers.

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.

19 comments to One of the country’s leading planning lawyers pledges his support for SDAG over Saddleworth School

  • Thankyou Robert McCracken for your offer of support to the SDAG, perhaps Oldham Council may listen when we get your advice but I wont hold my breath, but we appreciate any help we can get to put a stop to this hairbrained scheme.

  • Liz

    Thank you Robert McCracken from a Diggle Resident

  • joy

    I would like to thank saddleworth news for printing the SDAG campaign progress 🙂 and this is the best progress news so far

  • Nige

    Thank you Mr McCracken, Huddersfield Road resident

  • angry diggler

    I too would like to thank Mr McCracken offering his support and valuable knowledge to such a worthy cause.

  • Dr A Doyle

    Thank you Robert McCracken, but it’s a shame your help is needed. I still haven’t been officially informed that anything is supposed to be happening. Hey ho.

  • Mum of 3

    its ok moaning about where u dont want this school, but what about our kids and their future? it can’t look as bad as Tesco in Greenfield and i bet you all use this. Come on its 2013 and change is inevitable. We need a new school now and the longer this debate goes on the longer we have to wait. The money will probably be pulled and they will have to suffer that inadequate (being polite) building.
    Let’s hope your kids dont need to access the local secondary school or you may think differently

  • the_oracle

    The country has been on its knees for 5 years, this is a much needed boost for construction in the North West (along with the other school projects in Greater Manchester) the release of this money will enhance the lives of the kids attending Saddleworth School, why should they suffer any more? If we miss this round of funding just when will this school happen? The present site isn’t big enough (8.5 acres, when the minimum required is 13 acres). I’d happily have the school on MY doorstep if it meant a better future for the children. It’s a pity others don’t feel this way.

  • diggler

    In reply to mum of 3 can you remember what was there before Tesco ? a four storey derelict mill (brownfield site)I seem to recall
    compared to a beautiful valley in Diggle (greenfield site)

  • Liz

    Had to attend Saddleworth School today. There were 147 cars parked that I could see on the school grounds. Cars of employees of the School. Then a delivery van turned up. Oh I can’t wait for the chaos in Diggle. This won’t be only in school times, what about night school, after school activities, parents evening twice a year for each year plus deliveries and the rest. Oh the joys.

  • Cllr. Mike Buckley

    Please don’t think because we are objecting to the Diggle site we are against a new school. We all want the new school – but in Uppermill not on the greenfields of Diggle.

    We are engaged in a constructive dialogue with the Funding Agency and they have shown no indication they would take their bat and ball home if the people of Saddleworth protest. It’s called democracy. They want the best for Saddleworth and our children as we all do. This was misinformation put out by Oldham Council to keep us all quiet and accept what was on offer, unpalatable as it is.

    Evidence is that the school can be built on the existing site with a minimum of operational disruption.

  • the_oracle

    Mr.Buckley are you suggesting this from the Chron on the 30th of October has been misrepresented?………

    But the chairman of Saddleworth School governors, Councillor Brian Lord, explained the school must move from its current site, which at eight acres falls short of the 13.5 acres required by the Education Funding Authority (EFA) for 1,500 pupils.

    He said: “This is a great opportunity and it would be scandalous if we missed out.”

  • Sean

    I thought the EFA had confirm ed that 13.5 acres was a guideline, not a requirement?

  • Question for Cllr. Buckley

    Cllr. Buckley, if you think the government’s standard flat pack design of a school can go on the present Uppermill site’s sports fields as they are relatively level compared with the steep site of the actual school buildings, where do you propose the sports fields/facilities should go?

  • Saddleworth Independent

    Why would it not be possible to build the school on the playing fields behind the current building and then have the playing fields where the school currently stands? Or is that just too simple? Oh yeah, it wouldn’t allow for more unaffordable and apparently unsaleable homes to be built would it? Silly me.

  • the_oracle

    The only greenbelt land affected in Diggle would be for the Sports facilities, the main school building would be replacing what currently exists as ‘industrial’ use land. What’s more important the beautiful views or a long term improvement of sporting facilities for the children of Saddleworth? I know it’s radical, maybe we should ask the children what they think?

  • Saddleworth

    At last the needs of our future generation is filtering through ! Do Diggle residents not drive through other villages , towns and cities ? Am beginning to tire of the narrow mined ness of some people now . The majority of people living in Diggle , I am sure have modern standard of homes and gadgets , drive cars etc etc . So why then are some of them campaigning against the provision of a modern , airy , much improved toilets , canteen , sports and classrooms being built on the diggle site . I drove through diggle at lunchtime yesterday , no traffic chaos as they are leading us to believe . The road is narrow in one part, but not like the roads from Delph which has school traffic as well as motorway traffic and the route over to rochdale . If you oppose this site ,but truly do want a new school for us then start coming up with some answers and help the children of Saddleworth .

  • Saddleworth

    Liz , parents meetings twice a year ? 147 cars of staff ? Are you sure your information is correct . I have only attended one parents evening a year .Parents and outside staff park in the grounds for various reasons as well throughout the day . Is 147 with or without your car or did you walk ? I urge people to not listen to idle tit tat . If you don’t know the school I am sure you would be very surprised what is beyond the beautiful gates . A great school but one that can be 100% better .

  • Joy

    Typical that some people cannot use their real names when making statements

    Anyway no one is campaigning against a new school, absolutely no one and driving through Diggle at lunchtime is hardly a test so I hope you are prepared for the students to walk all the way from the Navigation when they are dropped off, also are you prepared to pay for the cost of widening Huddersfield Road (hey let’s knock down some houses), also to pay for a special building technology for building on flood plains, paying for off street residents parking and lighting

    And then in a few years to come you can teach the students and future generations how the green belt and all that goes with it especially the wildlife was down to people who think that a ‘School at any cost’ build under totally undemocratic procedures was voted for by certain people.

    Slightly edited by editor due to complaint.

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