THE NEXT steps in the planning process for the proposed new £19million Saddleworth School have been announced by Oldham Council.
The local authority said a structured approach is being taken to ensure the four planning applications related to the project are considered as one scheme.
The project is made up of four separate applications which are to build the new school on the WH Shaw Pallets site in Diggle; demolish existing buildings on the WH Shaw site; demolish the link bridge attached to the Grade II listed building on the WH Shaw site; and provide a parental drop off area plus residential car parking as part of the wider highways scheme in Diggle.
A new Environmental Statement which covers the entire project is now being prepared to cover all four applications and is expected to be received in December.
Issuing the new Environmental Statement means a new 21-day statutory consultation will take place enabling the public to comment on the demolition, listed building and parental drop-off applications.
The public will also be able to comment again on the school application and any comments already received by the Planning Department will still be taken into consideration and do not need to be resubmitted.
Local residents in the vicinity of the WH Shaw site will receive a letter informing them when the new 21-day consultation starts.
The timing of the 21-day public consultation will be managed to ensure the Christmas break does not impact on the public’s ability to comment.
A public ‘drop in’ event is also planned to take place in Diggle in the coming weeks to discuss the proposed parental drop-off, residential car parking and associated highways scheme for the village.
Councillor Dave Hibbert, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Transport, said: “Having four separate planning applications and separate consultations related to the proposed new Saddleworth School can make things seem complex.
“We’ve advised the applicants they need to treat these applications as a single project and have one comprehensive Environmental Statement.
“This means both the planning department and the public can consider the potential impacts of these proposals as a whole.
“It will help to make the project and associated issues clearer – especially in terms of engagement with the public.
“The other important benefit of this approach is that it means all four planning applications can be considered together for final decisions at exactly the same time.
“We remain committed to getting as much feedback from residents as possible on all the issues related to these applications, so I would again urge anyone with interest in this project to have your say during the forthcoming consultation period.”