MORE THAN 120 Dobcross residents turned out in force to put forward their concerns about their village being turned into a ‘rat run’ by traffic.
They joined ward and parish councillors at the village band club meeting, which was organised by Dobcross Village Community and chaired by committee member journalist Ken Bennett.
Villagers say the narrow roads are already at breaking point with trafﬁc and problems would increase due to the proposed building of a new secondary school in Diggle.
Proposed plans from Oldham Council include creating laybys along Wool Road to drop off students and a mini roundabout at the bottom of Sugar Lane.
But Cllr Mike Buckley, a resident of Dobcross, said: “I have concerns about the planned drop-off areas as it could encourage people to come down Sugar Lane to get there.
“I am concerned about the heritage and urbanisation of Dobcross and also the safety of commuters and pedestrians.
“There are narrow footpaths going down which are very dangerous, especially should there be more traffic.”
But Michele Carr, assistant executive director for special projects at OMBC, reassured the meeting the plans are still under consideration.
She said: “We held consultation meetings to speak to people about issues and we are looking at various options.
“If the school planning application is approved, there could be certain conditions around that in relation to the highways.
“Our intention was certainly not to make Dobcross a rat-run or a through road.”
Paul Groves, principal engineer with builders Unity Partnership, added that alternative drop-off points are being considered, as well as traffic calming measures including a chicane system or rumble strips or a one-way system.
Other issues raised by residents included the speed limit along Wool Road, the impact of additional traffic on the roads, buses getting stuck frequently and pavements.
Marilyn McNeil, a DVC member, said: “The increase in traffic through Dobcross in the last ten years has been consideration and it will get worse.
“And we are quite unique in that we have no footpaths beyond the Square and you have to walk in the road.”
Another resident quipped: “One of the things I enjoy doing in the morning is watching the cars get stuck around the Square while I enjoy a cup of tea.”
Dave Hibbert, OMBC cabinet member for housing, planning and transport, insisted the council will work with residents to find the best solutions.
He said: “I have got complete confidence in the officers working on this.
“No doubt the end product will be something not everyone is happy with but we will take as much as possible on board and work with you to get the best possible outcome.”
Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, recently walked around the village pushing a pram with members of the DVC.
She said: “I went out with a buggy and must admit it was very difficult to get around. Heaven help anyone wheelchair-bound or unsteady on their feet.
“We love this historical village but want a 21st century lifestyle too with the conveniences of cars and we need to right balance.”
The DVC are now planning a regular liaison with the Oldham council ofﬁcers to ensure villagers are kept up to date on any developments.