LOCALS ARE invited to a drop-in session to view plans to build a brand new, bigger Greenfield Primary School.
The event will be held at the Shaw Street School on Thursday, January 14 from 3.30pm-5pm for parents, staff and governors) then from 6pm-7.30pm for the public.
Representatives from the school, council and Unity Partnership will be on hand at the consultation event to answer any questions.
The proposals approved by Cabinet outline the construction of a new two form-entry primary school building on Shaw Street which will increase pupil intake from 30 to 60 per year.
The existing school will be demolished and the new facilities will be built on the playing fields – then converting the existing school site into playing fields.
A planning application will be made in early 2016, with a target of having the new building completed for September 2017.
Mike Wood, headteacher at Greenfield Primary School, said: “This is fantastic news and I’m sure the pupils, parents, staff and governors will be delighted with these proposals.
“Last September we were told by Ofsted that we were outstanding in every category.
“We’re a growing school which can only go from strength to strength, with new facilities enriching the curriculum and providing new, exciting opportunities for the children.”
In building the new school, the local authority is responding to an unprecedented rise in the number of children needing primary school places.
£13.5m was made available in March 2014 to deliver a new three form-entry-build primary school for Oldham as well as the expansion of primary school places in Failsworth, Hollinwood, Saddleworth and Lees.
However, the plans for the new school have drawn a mixed response from the community.
Cllr John McCann, ward councillor for Saddleworth South, welcomed the plans after campaigning over the years for the move.
“I am delighted the money has been found for a new school building with a 2-form entry to replace the current crowded 100-year-old school,” he said.
“Parents will have a new increased capacity school for their children with quality playing fields to replace the present rather rough field.
“The challenge now will be to obtain a quality build that blends into its setting in a limited finance package, but we are talking about the future education of our children and that is the priority.”
But Saddleworth Parish councilor Mike Buckley called the plans “an act of corporate vandalism” that will damage the heritage of the area.
He said: “The building, a fine example of early twentieth century school architecture and a distinctive building, adds considerably to the built environment in Greenfield.
“Its replacement in block and render will be totally out of sympathy with the traditional appearance and character of the village and will be far inferior in the quality of its construction.
“The need for more pupil places can surely be achieved by sympathetically extending the existing premises. This has been successfully done elsewhere at Hulme, Bluecoat and Crompton House.
“The Council simply just doesn’t have the money to match the quality of the old buildings it is replacing.”
And Mike Rooke, long-time member of the Greenfield and Grasscroft Residents Association, pointed to the need to consider the impact on access and increased traffic.
“As a matter of priority, the Council will be asked to look very closely at the health and safety implications of increased traffic, as the intake number will be rising,” he said.
“The resurfacing and maintenance of access roads should be costed into the whole project, as well as provision of parking and safer crossing over Chew Valley Road.”