MOTORISTS and businesses frustrated by Diggle’s on-going traffic problems aren’t set for any immediate respite.
Residents and councillors have appealed to Oldham Council for a ‘better deal for Diggle’ including a change to the current roadworks arrangements.
Drivers face the possibility of a three-mile diversion due to the closure of Huddersfield Road at its junction with Standedge Road.
Some village businesses have reported a drop in takings since work started back in April to build a new access road in time for the opening of the new Saddleworth School in March 2022.
There have been calls to replace the current one-way system on Huddersfield Road – due to be in place until November 2021 – with three-way temporary lights.
However, an Oldham Council spokesperson told the Independent: “The three-way lights have been discussed with ward members on lots of occasions.
“However, this is not viable on safety grounds. But the scheme is due to finish before the end of the year as stated publicly when the works began.”
Concerns about the adverse effect of the scheme were due to be discussed at the June meeting of Saddleworth Parish Council’s Traffic and Transport Committee on Wednesday, June 9.
One resident confirmed: “There is a serious traffic problem in Diggle which needs addressing.
“I fail to see why the traffic department at Oldham have not introduced a three-way traffic light system the mouth of Huddersfield Road.
“This would be highly inconvenient but much better than the 3.1 miles additional needed for me to get back home.”
A three-way lights system is already in place at the top of Huddersfield Road where it meets the A62.
Saddleworth North ward councillors Pam Byrne and Luke Lancaster say the diversionary routes are adversely affecting footfall at many small businesses. “At a time when our local economy wants to get back on track,” they said.
Cllr Byrne added: “Communication with the residents of Diggle has not been good.
“Letters went out to all residents at the same time as election information, and many said they had not received it.
“I’m pressing Council officers to re-examine the whole situation surrounding the diversions to try to address concerns.”
Cllr Lancaster added: “Oldham Council urgently needs to deliver a better deal for Diggle.
“Financial support for the village’s struggling small businesses is much-needed.
“Compared to the £300,000 which has just been spent on the Spindles’ Topman leasehold, it would be a mere drop in the ocean.”