New Saddleworth School build in Diggle set to progress

THE building of a new Saddleworth School in Diggle looks set to progress nearly four years after the application was first submitted.

Pupils celebrate after planning was granted by Oldham Council’s planning committee

The proposal to move the school from Uppermill to the WH Shaw former pallet works site was first put forward to Oldham Council in December 2015.

It was approved by the cross-party planning committee in 2016 but was overturned after a judicial review brought by Save Diggle Action Group in 2017.

Mr Justice Kerr ruled the council’s decision was unlawful, stating that the initial committee had ‘never addressed’ the potential harm to heritage assets.

Almost two years later, all four parts of a revised application, submitted by applicant Interserve, were approved by the council’s planning committee at an extraordinary meeting on February 28.

The strict timeframe in which a judicial review can be lodged after a decision has now expired, meaning the plans are free to go ahead.

A spokesperson for Oldham Council confirmed: “Planning has been granted for Saddleworth School and the Department for Education is working with the Oldham Council to progress the project.”

The four parts of the application are: (a) to demolish existing buildings on the WH Shaw site, excluding the listed building; (b) to demolish the link bridge attached to the Grade II listed building; (c) to build a new school, sports pitches, playing fields and areas for play and parking; and (d) to provide an off-site parental drop-off area, plus two residents’ parking areas, highways alterations and works to the access road to the former factory site.

Concerns were raised earlier in the year when Interserve hit financial struggles but it has since had a cash injection and taken on numerous projects, including schools, hotels and healthcare work.

The council’s spokesperson added: “The Department for Education continuously monitors the financial health of all suppliers appointed to the Construction Framework and do not foresee any issues with Interserve Construction Ltd delivering this project.”

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