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.”

2 Replies to “New Saddleworth School build in Diggle set to progress”

  1. The new school looks disappointingly like the old school. With 1.500 places it’s far too big for its new site in Diggle village ,
    and too big to offer a personal education – my former Greenhill Grammar School in Oldham had 500 places,
    and so did my former Teacher Training College in Coventry, and so do some Oxford University colleges.
    The new design fails to make the most of the lovely Victorian building & clock tower on the site –
    which are seen from the adjoining Huddersfield Canal & Trans-Pennine Railway ( and could be could be floodlit at night ),
    affording a unique sense of place if highlighted :
    in Oxford these heritage buildings would be centre-stage, perhaps with a Quadrangle developed around them –
    not an E-shaped lego block with a flat roof . More apt would be a pitched slate-covered roof incorporating solar panels,
    faciltating run off water collection for use in the building – which would blend in better if clad with re-used stone.
    My ” School Report ” for the £20 million new school’s design is … ” MUST DO BETTER ” !
    The old buildings on the site have served for 160 years – how long will the E-shaped cell block(s) last ?
    Far better to redesign the planned school ( specifying key items of appearance – like a school uniform policy ) than live with
    an eyesore for the next 100+ years , surely ?

  2. I can’t wait for the new school to be built, and some of my grandchildren studying inside.
    The design looks fabulous, and will complement the rural environment.
    It makes me angry that so much money has been wasted through losing so much time – those involved should be ashamed of themselves.
    Thankfully the school is now back on target, and we can celebrate a school fit for pupils to work, learn and socialise in!!

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