Campaigners confirm judicial review application against new school in Diggle

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to a new £19.2 million school being built in Diggle have confirmed they have applied for a judicial review.

Saddleworth School sign smallerThe move is the latest chapter in a saga surrounding plans to move Saddleworth School from Uppermill to the former WH Shaw pallet works on Huddersfield Road.

Despite plans being approved by Oldham Council planning committee, the Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG) wants to build the new school on its existing site off High Street.

Keith Lucas, the SDAG spokesman, said: “It’s a final chance to prevent the Diggle valley being bulldozed and levelled and the prospect of a car park, weld-mesh fences, astro-turf and floodlights on our greenbelt, ruining forever this popular canal-side setting and tourist destination.

“SDAG is now being forced to take the step we all hoped we might be able to avoid. We are seeking Judicial Review having twice pointed out the flaws in the application to Oldham’s Planning Committee.

“We sympathise with parents and children who are frustrated at the delays which have beset the school project.

“SDAG members are parents of children at the school and we have always agreed the school is needed, our opposition has been to the choice of site.

“The school could have been in operation by now if an early decision to site it in Uppermill (where the Education Funding Agency agree it can be built) had been taken.

“More than 3,300 people have signed a petition calling for the school to remain in Uppermill.”

The site of new Saddleworth School
The site of new Saddleworth School in Diggle

He added 1,339 objections to the application to build the school in Diggle were submitted, only 26 comments were submitted in support of the proposal.

However, the newly-formed Diggle for Saddleworth School (D4SS) expressed “utter contempt” at the news.

They say it will cause uncertainty, delays, additional costs, educational impact and could risk the new school building altogether.

Spokesperson Keith Prior said: “SDAG do not speak for the majority of residents in Saddleworth as they claim.

“Many are appalled, angry and dismayed by the delays and selfish actions of SDAG. We know the Diggle site isn’t perfect, but it’s the best site in Saddleworth.

“It will provide numerous benefits which the existing site simply can’t, mainly due to it being larger and flatter.

“On balance, the Diggle site is simply the best for the education of our children. SDAG should simply admit that they have lost and move on.”


12 Replies to “Campaigners confirm judicial review application against new school in Diggle”

  1. The figures quoted of 26, would appear to be the comments on the OMBC planning website. As there are 50 comments, by my reckoning, that’s 52% in favour of the move. Shame on SDAG for consistently lying about who they are representing. We all know that the figures for the petition are outdated and were skewed by pranksters. The delays are being caused purely by them and their selfish attitude, with no real thought for the children of this community. Why will the valley be ruined?? Fences, broken up concrete and corrugated roofs currently blight it!

  2. Yes because the canal side is so pretty with a delapidated, graffiti covered, vandalised wreck of an industrial mill that is a breeding ground for pigeons. Also a very strong sewerage odour emanating from it when I passed canalside the other day when it was hot. This is a preferable option? I don’t believe it for one second. SDAG just don’t want a school (or rather school children) in Diggle.

    If they really do “sympathise” then stop these constant delays. If the judicial review gets passed then the council will resubmit for Diggle and the whole thing will begin again. It’s a lose/ lose.

    GIVE IT UP PLEASE, for the sake of the future generations of saddleworth children.

  3. It is vital to get the message across that not only do SDAG not represent the views of the majority of the people of Saddleworth, but they do not even represent the views of the majority of Diggle residents.
    The word ‘save’ has a number of different meanings. We all obviously want to ‘save’ Diggle in the context that, decades in the future, it still exists as a successful, thriving community for everyone to enjoy. SDAG want to ‘save’ Diggle in the context that it remains unchanged, unaltered and untouched. That’s not saving. That’s pickling! Preserving what exists now forever, and allowing no development or growth. It is vital for us all that the school is built. But it is even more vital for the future of Diggle.
    As far as I am aware, there is no longer an option for the school to be built in Uppermill. It will be built in Diggle or Saddleworth School will eventually close. That is the stark choice we all now face.
    It is all very well for SDAG to make various claims about what they consider to be the benefits of the school remaining in Uppermill, but this scenario no longer exists. If SDAG are opposed to a school in Diggle (as they obviously are) they must, therefore, be in support of the total closure of the school?
    They claim that some of their supporters are parents of current pupils. Yet quite why any parent would be fighting for the closure of their own child’s school is simply beyond me!

  4. SDAG needs to understand that the mill will be bulldozed whether the school is built there or not. It is allocated for development. Diggle will not stand still in time. They are purely preventing the school being moved to Diggle.

    SDAG have not been forced to JR – how pathetic! They’ve done so out of choice – to be disruptive to children’s education for even longer!

    SDAG don’t sympathise one iota!!

    The school could have been built by now if it wasn’t for SDAG.

    Blah blah blah, biased petitions and scrupulous figures again. It is a fact that those in speaking support of the Diggle move have been gagged for years. Supporters’ social media accounts have been blocked from local forums and posts of support have been deleted. I’ve no doubt that is why this new D4SS group is going above local media to the regional press just to be heard!!

    This Saddleworth ‘Independent’ article has failed to point out the benefits of the Diggle site. These facts have continually been kept from everyone and SDAG conveniently never mention that a school in Diggle is the best for education.

    If the school is built in Uppermill it will be compromised from the outset. This is what Saddleworth’s elected parish councillor is fighting so hard for!!!! I don’t need to say any more!!!

  5. The SDAG use outdated and inaccurate statistics to try to fool people that they are in the majority. Support for their self serving crusade have been diminishing fast over the last few months since the planning for the Diggle site was passed. The community has begun to speak out not only on social media but in general and voice the opinion that its time they accepted the build in Diggle. They are aware that the tide of public opinion has turned against them after the planning was passed for the second time, as people are becoming aware that the SDAG are only serving their own agenda in not wanting their own lives disrupted by school kids or their own property view altered from their back window. Their own Facebook page was closed shortly after the plannig was passed as so many of the community had begun to beg them to drop the games and legal challenges so that the community can finally look to the future for our childrens education rather than living through more years of this limbo.
    The idea of the judicial review being put into action, delaying the school even more and risking the funding for the school being scrapped altogether has shown the real reasons for this crusade has nothing to do with the Saddleworth children or community.
    I had hoped that after the delay in starting the threatened judicial review, that the SDAG were finally listening to the community they claim to serve and that they had finally accepted that its time to allow the school to go ahead for the sake of our childre.
    In hind sight it seems as though it is another underhand tactic to delay the process for as long as possible. Its just another version of their tricks at the planning meetings by sending last minute letters to the OMBC only hours before the planning meetings to try to make them postpone and delay the decision.

  6. More of the same old same old. Where do these figures come from. A small proportion of Saddleworth object to the school in Diggle, that’s it. A larger proportion approve of the school moving, some just don’t care! It’s time the local press stopped pandering to Mr Lucas’s ego and personal campaign (NIMBY).
    On that note, I’ve been blocked from SDAG Facebook page, their Twitter account as have many others. Saddleworth News removed my ability to comment on any of their stories after I asked why they were so biased. Hopefully Saddleworth independent will not block me now too.
    The plans have been approved twice, there is no plan B. That school isn’t going in Uppermill, it’ll either go in Diggle after an expensive long drawn out court case (at the tax payers expense) or the money will be pulled and the school in Uppermill will close as its no longer fit for purpose, then we wil have no school in Saddleworth. What does Mr Lucas hope to achieve?
    That site will be built on regardless, no one is entitled to a view, times change, it’s called progress.
    My children will now miss out on a school fit for purpose but I will continue to shout up on behalf of future generations who all deserve to be educated in a school fit for the 21st century.
    Maybe the local press, businesses and residents can join in? Please see the Facebook page d4ss.

  7. SDAG appear hellbent on wasting taxpayers money (as OMBC have to respond to the review) and putting the investment in any new school at risk.

    The site is currently an eyesore which makes no contribution of any type to the area.

    Meanwhile teachers leave the current school in their droves, children put up with poor conditions and parents of future pupils start to look to sending their children to high school elsewhere.

    How anyone can argue that what SDAG is doing is right for Saddleworth I do not know.

  8. If you’d like to see the Diggle site where the new school passed to be built and what the SDAG are fighting to protect from bulldozers, take a look at the D4SS website photos of the current eyesore in its full glory.
    Not a great tourist attraction or beauty spot.

  9. The so called 3300 signatures achieved by SDAG where part of an appeal stall at Yorkshire day approx two years ago. This method of achieving signatures must make it impossible for the numbers to be valid and SDAG should not be claiming this value. SDAG drop the claim and get real.

  10. It is unbelievable that such a tiny minority with such selfish reasons for opposing the school, cloaked in environmental excuses, can have such a detrimental effect of the education of thousands of children – how can they be allowed to get away with it???? I hope the appeal is immediately identified for the selfish shambles it is and is thrown out immediately. I lived all my childhood next to a secondary school with minimum disruption, just children walking past at home time for a very short time, quiet during school holidays. I have also lived next to industry for a few years in my adult life and that was a nightmare! HGVs all through the night, despite the planning stipulations having conditions, lots of irregular noise etc Which is better for the community? Obviously the land will be used, this is a classic case of not in my back yard and a campaigner acting for selfish reasons disregarding the needs of the majority of saddleworth residents.

  11. I am appalled that this group of small minded people (SDAG) can continue with their pointless campaign! They say they care about the community, well they can’t possibly when they are putting the future of Saddleworth children at risk time and time again! How can they care! I am writing this as a very worried parent of a child who is due to start at secondary school in 2 years time and I implore SDAG to please just let the build go ahead and stop playing with our children’s’ lives! No more children should have to suffer and no more teachers should feel so demoralised that they feel the need to leave! I have certainly never been asked to fill in any poll regarding this issue so I am very confused as to who SDAG have asked and why they are stating they represent the majority when they clearly don’t!!

  12. So yet again thousands of children lose another year of education in a new school purely because Keith Lucas doesn’t want the view changed from his back garden. What a small-minded selfish arrogant fool. Are we all going to stand by and let him do this? Or it it time we took some action? Join our D4SS campaign and let’s stop Keith Lucas and his financial backers Mike Buckley, Lesley Brown and Meg Langton closing Saddleworth School for good.

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