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Saddleworth Independent Councillors to petition Oldham Council and EFA to build new Saddleworth School in Uppermill

Cllr Mike Buckley

Cllr Mike Buckley

Cllr Rob Knotts (left) and Cllr Nikki Kirkham (right)

Cllr Rob Knotts (left) and Cllr Nikki Kirkham (right)

Early in the Summer the Government’s Educational Funding Agency (EFA) announced it would make a decision on the site of the new Saddleworth Secondary 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 between 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 Kirkham told Saddleworth News: “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 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 School Minister David Laws. 


  • Helen Bishop says:

    Hear Hear!

  • Susannah Shaw says:

    Hmmmm. A petition delivered by a group of people with no children of school age and headed by a man so narrow-minded about conservation that he risks leaving Saddleworth without a school. This shower of selfish NIMBYs should be ashamed of themselves. Now let’s get the school built in Diggle and move on….

  • Elaine says:

    Here we go again that favourite word of people who can’t get their own way NYMBYS, we are not NYMBYs we are people who don’t want our quality of life ruined when they have all the infrastructure in Uppermill. Whether these people have children of school age or not and I know for a fact some do they are entitled to their opinions without being subjected to name calling and verbal abuse, I know for a fact that a lot of the people who want the school in Diggle don’t even live there. So according to you Susannah Shaw lets build the school in Diggle and ignore anyone who does not want it.

  • Gordon says:

    Susannah Shaw can you do me a favour please and read your comment that you posted (might be best to read it a few times so it really sinks in). It is quite vitriolic isn’t it and lacks facts, but of course you would say you are entitled to your opinion, which is the only bit that would be correct. I actually live in Diggle (with children who would attend the new school) and can actually see pros and cons on both sides of the argument. So, I am actually sat well and truly on the fence (I didn’t sign any petition either), because I am entitled to sit on said fence. I am happy to wait for the decision and then what will be, will be. What I really hope for is that whatever decision is made (Diggle or Uppermill) everybody respects the decision and does not put at risk not having any new school at all.

  • WhatHappensNext says:

    Ok, let’s assume that Mike who doesn’t live in Diggle with no children at the school gets his way and the school stays in Uppermill so he doesn’t get the passing traffic by his house in Dobcross. Let’s assume the kids try to survive on a building site for a year and pass grades while outside the window all manner of building works are going on… then what of Shaws mill… Save Diggle may suddenly have a fight from any interested parties that own the land in and around the site, and who could be making plans to flatten the mill site in January and have HCA backing to flatten the lot and put housing up the valley. This has happened on the village green, now the bowling club as well as opposite Grandpa Greenes …. Diggle is losing its green spaces rapidly in favour of “low cost housing” I wonder if this is the real play here ?

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