Saddleworth goes to the polls: Parish candidates for Springhead Lower, Springhead Higher and Dobcross wards

WHO will get your vote when Saddleworth and Oldham go to the polls on Thursday, May 2?

In the local elections, voters will cast their choice of who they want to elect to represent them on Saddleworth Parish Council and Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council.

Voting will take place to elect 20 Saddleworth Parish councillors.

Saddleworth is split into six wards, each electing a set number of councillors. Your number of votes is equal to the number of councillors in the ward in which you live.

The wards are:

  • Delph (3 councillors, covering Delph and Denshaw)
  • Dobcross (3 councillors, covering Dobcross and Diggle)
  • Greenfield (5 councillors, covering Grasscroft, Greenfield, Friezland and Lydgate)
  • Springhead Higher (2 councillors, covering Austerlands, Scouthead and Higher Springhead)
  • Springhead Lower (5 councillors, covering Lower Springhead and Grotton)
  • Uppermill (2 councillors, covering Uppermill)

Six candidates have already been confirmed as Parish councillors after being uncontested in the elections:

• Delph: Kevin Dawson (Lib Dem), George Hulme (Labour), Luke Lancaster (Conservative)

• Dobcross: Linda Dawson (Lib Dem), Kathryn Phillips (Labour), Max Woodvine (Conservative).

Springhead Lower (5 councillors covering Lower Springhead and Grotton)

Sam Al-Hamdani – Liberal Democrat

I am a local councillor, born and bred in Saddleworth and living in Lees. My day job is combatting corporate tax avoidance as part of the Fair Tax Mark.

As a local parish councillor, I have been working hard both on crucial issues that affect the whole community, such as protecting the green spaces of Thornley Brook and Ashbrook, and on individual problems for constituents, whether it is support for residents denied disability benefits, home security, or the everyday annoyance of potholes.

As a local front-line councillor, I will ensure that people are heard, that they get honest support when they need it, and that the council proves that it spends your money fairly and equitably.


Barbara Beeley – Liberal Democrat

I am a retired school teacher and have lived in Springhead for over 50 years, and served as a Borough Councillor for seven years before retiring

I am finishing my second term of office as a Parish Councillor and have served on the Estates, Communications and Planning Committees as well as chairing the Strategic Planning Committee

I am currently Chair of the Springhead Community Centre Committee which I campaigned to save when a Borough Councillor

If I am re-elected I shall continue to work hard for our area, campaigning to further improve the environment, facilities and opportunities for young people and to make this area a good place in which to live and work.


Ian Bond – Conservative

Ian is standing for election to Saddleworth Parish Council in the Springhead Lower and Grotton ward.

He is currently studying on the Bar Professional Training Course. He lives with wife Susan and their three children.


Richard Darlington – Liberal Democrat

A retired local government architect, I have lived in Grotton 25 years, was a Parish Councillor for eight years, was a founder and President of Emmaus Mossley and member of Grotton Residents Committee.

I have long been involved in the community, having run monthly Fair Trade stalls at Lydgate St. Anne’s church and being an member of Dr Kershaw Hospice choir as well as Grotton art class.

A keen environmentalist, I have solar panels, an organic garden, and was a founding member of Liberal Democrats.

This is the foundation for my wish to be an effective Councillor on behalf of residents in Saddleworth.


Paul Fryer – Labour

Currently vice chair of Saddleworth Parish Council. Educated at Springhead Infants, Knowsley Junior and Saddleworth High schools.

Chairman of the Parish Council environment committee, and acting chairman of the transport committee.

As a member of the Planning committee he voted against the Ashbrook housing development and for the new Saddleworth School.

Member of the Labour Animal Welfare Society and branch secretary of the local Co-op Party.


Philip Gaul – Labour

I want local people to help mould local services and I see the Parish Council as an integral part of that process.

As a parish councillor I would aim to improve local transport links and would be a ward champion seeking to enable community projects to happen and flourish.

I would work with the borough council regardless of party to benefit all local residents.

As a representative for the union, Unison, I have represented Lower Springhead residents in the workplace and am familiar with the issues affecting the area and throughout Oldham.


Steve Hewitt – Labour

First Labour parish councillor for Lower Springhead the last four years on the Parish has had its ups and downs.

I have met some lovely people and I have had to fight to get a councillor removed and, in the news, to ensure if he stood again, he would not get elected.

I was the chair of the conservation committee and vice chair on planning, helping to preserve the historic character of Saddleworth.


Valerie Leach – Labour

Valerie is a local councillor for Saddleworth West and Lees. She returned to her home place in 2014 after having lived in Camden, London for eight years, elected a councillor and cabinet member there.

Before that she worked for over 20 years with UNICEF, much of that time in Tanzania.

She is especially concerned to ensure that the best interests of children and young people are given priority and involving them directly whenever possible, in national and local policies, plans and management.

Locally, this implies that we must protect our green belt and also ensure that there are jobs and homes available for our children and grandchildren so that they may stay in this lovely part of the country.


Brian Lord – Liberal Democrat

I have been a Councillor for a combined total, on Oldham Borough and Saddleworth Parish, for almost 50 years and have gained valuable experience along the way. For three years I served as a cabinet member on OMBC.

I have a track record of getting things done, including the deceleration zones approaching the villages of Saddleworth and the electric warning signs such as those outside Greenfield St Mary’s School.

I have been involved in working in the community since I first ran a voluntary youth club as a teenager in Friezland and have continued ever since as a governor, special constable, qualified youth leader, trustee of local charities, teacher at local schools and, of course, councillor.


Pat Lord – Liberal Democrat

Pat has represented the ward for 24 years, and twice been Chairman of the Parish Council. She has lived in Grotton and Springhead most of her married life.

She is an ever present at council and committee meetings, a stalwart of the Chairman’s Charity Committee raising thousands of pounds for local charities, and an effective, capable ward councillor with a proven record of success.

She is a long-time governor and Chairman of Lydgate Primary School, and director and trustee of Springhead Community Centre.


Tom Lord – Conservative

Tom, a Legal Aid criminal barrister, is standing for election to Oldham Borough Council and Saddleworth Parish Council on May 2.

He is campaigning in the Saddleworth West and Lees ward for Borough and for Springhead Lower and Grotton on the Parish Council.

Tom helps disadvantage kids in education and enjoys running and climbing.


Candidates for Springhead Higher (2 councillors covering Austerlands, Scouthead and Higher Springhead)

Stephen Barrow – Liberal Democrat

I am a retired civil servant having worked 40 years for the Department of Transport (highways England).

I have served as a borough councillor for two terms during which time I have the pleasure of working with and learning from Cllr Derek Heffernan and Richard Knowles.

I would bring all the knowledge gained to bear in service of this parish.

I believe in a good education for all.

I believe that OMBC will continue to take green belt land before brown.

I believe that the parish council has lost its values.

I believe that with your help Mick Scholes and Stephen Barrow can make a difference.


John Battye – Labour

Lived in Saddleworth all my life. Worked in pathology at Royal Oldham Hospital for 35 years. Oldham councillor for 30 years.

Former chair of Saddleworth school governors. Presently chair of the Mayor of Oldham’s Charity Appeal Committee. Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester.

I represent the Lord Lieutenant at Oldhamcitizenship ceremonies. I am a panel member at Mental Health Review hearings. I enjoy reading and writing local social history articles.


Duncan Goodman – Saddleworth First!

I moved to Uppermill in 2002 and then to Austerlands in 2018.  I instantly connected to the area and loved the wonderful scenic environment and history.

Saddleworth First’s party name says it all. We are committed to looking after the interests of Saddleworth above everything else.

We will challenge OMBC to ensure that any planned new homes are not disruptive to the smooth operation of the Saddleworth community

We will promote Saddleworth and seek to improve local facilities.

We need to support local businesses and social groups

We will absolutely challenge OMBC to prove the necessary resources and NOT to continue to cut those provided for Saddleworth.


Rob Knotts – Conservative

I have lived in Austerlands for over 30 years after serving for 33 years in the RAF.

In the last years as a Parish Councillor I have served as chair of the Planning Committee and latterly as chairman of the Parish Council.

Some of my accomplishments have been:

  • Overseeing the transfer of Dawson’s Field to community ownership
  • Working on the Neighbourhood plan for Saddleworth
  • Overseeing the improvement in Parish Council finances including the recovery of over £50,000 of overpaid rates associated with the Civic Hall

I believe in Saddleworth and the people who call it their home. I will continue to be a tireless champion for the whole community and will work with whoever we need to get the best deal for Saddleworth and its people.


Carl Roberts – Saddleworth First!

I am campaigning for:

  • Better local facilities
  • No more houses in Saddleworth
  • Reversing cuts to the Saddleworth rate support grant by Labour controlled OMBC.
  • Improved local transport links
  • Increased police funding to enable them to support our villages better.
  • To save our important buildings such as St Chads Church
  • DBS checks for Paris Councillors.

I live in Austerlands where I spent my childhood with my grandmother. My mum, seven brothers and sister were born in Scouthead. My sister and family live in Springhead.

I am proud of and support our unique Saddleworth traditions, our local residents and neighbourhood associations, our history and our invaluable tourist information service.


Mick Scholes – Liberal Democrat

Standing in my first election, I live in, and run my nation-wide business from, Saddleworth.

My commercial experience means I can offer common sense, imagination, forward thinking and financial control to the council.

We all need to look at the bigger picture, and I will:

  • Campaign for better services for smaller businesses
  • Campaign to save our green belt and green and open spaces
  • Improve Public Transport and campaign to fix pot holes
  • Examine how we become carbon neutral, as a Council and as a Parish
  • Campaign for the provision of low cost housing for local families: built on brownfield sites
  • Reform the Parish Council to be active, relevant and outward looking.

Dobcross (3 councillors – all candidates elected unopposed– covering Dobcross and Diggle)

Linda Dawson – Liberal Democrat

I am a passionate campaigner for good education, library and health services, planning and preservation of heritage buildings and look forward to serving residents in Dobcross and Diggle.

I was born and educated in Oldham and worked for Manchester Libraries and for Oldham Libraries, and graduated from Leeds Polytechnic.

I worked in several Oldham libraries became the senior library manager for the Outreach and Inclusion Development services.

I was responsible for setting up the successful National Bookstart Scheme in Oldham with Library, Education and PCT Health Professionals.

I was elected as a borough councillor for Waterhead Ward from 2008-2012.

I have been a school governor at four different schools for more than 30 years. I am married and have three grown up children, grandchildren and four great grandchildren.


Kathryn Phillips – Labour

Kathryn is delighted to be representing Dobcross and Diggle on the Saddleworth Parish Council having lived in Saddleworth most of her life, first in Delph, then Dobcross and now Uppermill.

Her three children all attended local schools and she has served as a school governor at St Chads. She is a life coach and illustrator.

Kathryn has held senior leadership roles in Royal Mail and the Breastfeeding Network, both in Human Resources and Operations and hopes to bring some of this experience to the Parish Council. She is also active in the local Labour Party as Women’s Officer.


Max Woodvine – Conservative

Having grown up in Diggle, it seems natural that I should represent the Dobcross Ward on the Parish Council; a place with which I have a deep personal connection, not just a political one.

It is a great privilege to represent my friends and neighbours in Saddleworth, which I can now do as I have been elected unopposed.

Some residents have raised concern that I am an unelected, elected representative, but I have already laid the groundwork for some major projects in the area that will make life better for many.

Our Conservative vision for Saddleworth is a positive one, which puts Saddleworth first.


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