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