SAVE DIGGLE Action Group insists they will continue to fight for a new Saddleworth School in Uppermill despite Oldham Council planning committee approving plans for a move to Diggle.
The 14-strong committee unanimously approved applications for the demolition of existing buildings and link bridge at the WH Shaw pallet works and the building of a new £19.2 million school.
And there was only one vote against the highways application to provide a parental drop-off facility plus residential car parking off Huddersfield Road.
But Keith Lucas, a member of Save Diggle Action Group, said their fight to keep the school in its current location off Uppermill High Street has not come to an end.
“We are still working closely with our solicitors at Irwin Mitchell and will take their advice on what our next step is.
“The outcome from the planning committee was inevitable. We didn’t expect anything else.
“But we are not stopping and we will march on. If we can take it to a judicial review, we will do that.”
The planning committee gathered at the Council Chambers to consider the four applications around the new school, which had all been recommended for approval by the planning officer.
Mark Brooks, chair of Diggle Community Association and a parent of children at Saddleworth School, addressed the committee and audience as an objector to each of the applications.
He said: “Over the last three years this Council has ignored repeated public expressions of serious concern and opposition to the scheme.
“The Planning Officer’s perverse report asserts the numerous harms associated with the Diggle proposal are ‘outweighed by the benefits it will bring’ – poppycock!
“All these benefits can also be achieved on the Uppermill site, without any of the associated harmful impacts.”
He added: “We are fully prepared and very well equipped to continue the fight to oppose this destructive and ill-considered proposal.”
But Matthew Milburn, headmaster of Saddleworth School, highlighted the benefits of the new school for 1,500 pupils as he spoke in favour of the new school application.
He said: “It is so much more than just a building. It is an asset for the community of Saddleworth.
“We want to be good neighbours. The impacts will be monitored when the school is fully functional.
“The school has been waiting eight years for a new school. This is the best site and the best scheme possible so we can provide the best education for children for generations to come.”
A full report on the planning committee meeting will follow.