Village Voice: May letters and pictures

Village Voice is YOUR chance to get your point of view over to thousands of readers.

Letters should be sent to: The Village Voice, The Saddleworth Independent, PO Box 725, Greenfield, Saddleworth OL3 7XJ or emailed to
We respect the privacy to use nom de plumes by request but no letters will be printed with full names and addresses being supplied to us. The Editor reserves the right to edit letters and her decision is final.


Convicted Councillor
I HAVE been very concerned with the way some of our elected representatives have behaved over the situation with convicted sex offender independent councillor Mike Buckley.

We had one of his independent councillor colleagues come out and say he’s not really done anything wrong and now independent and Conservative councillors voted against a Liberal Democrat motion which would go some way to pile on the pressure and also get us closer to getting rid of the disgraced councillor.

The independent and Conservatives clearly don’t care about the kids – probably why they are trying to stop a new school being built – and should hang their heads in shame.

Angry Dobcross resident (by email)


Spring in Saddleworth
THIS DELIGHTFUL picture of two wood pigeons was sent in by keen photographer Cyril Fogg, showing them enjoying the morning sun in a cold bath in his Scouthead garden.

And he included the amusing thought: ‘Save water – share a bath!’

p8 pic cyril fogg

Meanwhile, a misty morning in the hills was captured by Julian Taylor, who took this picture of Saddleworth Parish Church in spring mists.

p8 st chads church julian taylor

Neglected Uppermill
Voting time is here again. I, like a lot of residents, am NOT VOTING.

Why? We have been asking for the pavement in the Square to be properly repaired, instead of patching up, for long enough.

Wheelchairs and buggies are rattled about something awful. We who cannot get about without aid feel sore and in pain when we get home.

It’s been said there is no money for the job. I am sorry, but how is it out-of-the way places can get roads, walls and the like done then? We pay council tax and in Saddleworth EXTRA. Vote – what a joke.

Uppermill resident (by letter)

New school debate
AS A parent of a child in Year 8 I am frustrated and saddened by SDAG’s decision to apply to take the planning decision to a Judicial Review.

The current school is no longer fit for purpose and here we have an opportunity to ensure children of Saddleworth have an educational environment that is clean, warm and conducive to effective learning.

The very stark reality is that if the building of the new school is delayed, the current school could fall into such a state of disrepair that it is closed, leaving the community with no secondary school in Saddleworth.

I implore SDAG to please consider the children of Saddleworth.

Louise Kay (by email)

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HAVING READ read the latest letter from governor Brian Lord regarding the new Saddleworth School, I cannot believe there is a possibility that work may, yet again, be delayed because of some technical detail which could lead to a judicial review.

This has gone on long enough! We know the Diggle site is not ideal but it is the one that, at the end of the day, has been deemed most suitable and every effort has been made to address the concerns of those opposed to the scheme.

My grandson is in year 7 and I had hoped he might have started his secondary school education in a brand new building, fit for purpose.

There is now a possibility he may still be in the old building when he is in year 11.

The existing school is old and tired, the facilities inadequate and the children of Saddleworth deserve better.

It is time to stop arguing and allow our children to benefit from the kind of school that other children in the borough have been experiencing for years.

A concerned grandparent (by email)

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The delay already has been ridiculous. The children of Saddleworth need a new school.

I think the site in Diggle is ideal. Access is tricky, yes but come on – it’s time to get on with it!

New school, new facilities are needed ASAP. Please, please, please, get started!

Parent whose child is in Class 6 Diggle and going to Saddleworth in Sept (by email)

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WE DESPERATELY need a new school for our community. It can’t be built on the existing site so we need to accept what is being advised as the best alternative and work hard to find solutions to the problems being raised.

Our son started at Saddleworth School last September in Year 7. The original plans promised a completion date of December 2015.

At this rate we fear that he, and many hundreds of other children, will not access any new facilities at all.

We believe his education is being compromised. We have so many outstanding primary schools in Saddleworth. We should be aspiring to achieve outstanding secondary provision in an inspirational environment. Can this be achieved in a wreck of a building?

From talking to other parents we know there is a huge support for the new school which is just not being aired.

Mr & Mrs Griffiths (by email)

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PLEASE COULD I register my support for the proposed new Saddleworth School at the Diggle site.

I understand any further judicial review is not going to result in the school not being built in Diggle but will just cause further delay and worst case result in the loss of the EFA funding.

No school in Saddleworth would be a disaster for all residents, whether they have children of school age or not as this would result in a severe slump in house prices as many people would move away due to the lack of a secondary school.

Please can the build just begin as the majority of Saddleworth people (including many Diddgle residents) just want it to go ahead so no more of our children have to be taught in such a sub-standard school.

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I AM emailing with my support to get our new school built in Diggle without any more delays.

My eldest turns 16 this year and has already missed out on a new school. My second child is currently in year 7. He regular misses lunch as the dining hall is way too small – it built for a few hundred pupils, not over a 1000! I want him and also my two younger boys to benefit from a new school.

The current school is falling down. My dad who is 81 went to Saddleworth School! Diggle is the best site so let’s just get it built!

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I WISH to register my support to the plans to build the new Saddleworth School in Diggle. It is long overdue and I feel the children deserve a better equipped building and better facilities for them to get the education they deserve.

The people against this are not seeing benefits of the school and the future of the children involved and don’t see how the people supporting the judicial review in London can have the best interest of the children in their mind.

My children are both in year 8 currently and I would love them to experience the benefits of the new building and teaching and equipment.

I feel demolishing the old, disused, run-down mill in Diggle would make an ideal spot for the school. I appreciate the disruption that may occur but I also see the bigger picture of better access roads, better schooling and better community spirit.

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I AM writing to express my dismay at the ridiculous delay tactics being employed by the Save Diggle Action Group. I am desperate for the new school to be built and if Diggle is the place which has been recommended, I just want it to go ahead as soon as possible.

I fully support the school and the council in their endeavors to begin the build and I know I speak for a huge number of people who are so angry with those mindless few who are continuing to cause delays.

Our children deserve a new school, I only hope common sense and common decency prevails.

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I AM emailing to express my support for the new Saddleworth School in Diggle. Save Diggle Action Group does not speak for me or for a large numbers of others in our community.

A new school was first promised when my eldest son was at primary school. He is now at Saddleworth School with just one year to go. He will have spent his entire school career in buildings that leak and are fast becoming unfit for purpose. Any further delay is unacceptable.

SDAG’s threat to go to judicial review has prompted me to speak up. We need to move forward before another generation of saddleworth children miss out.

Parent and Uppermill resident

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FOLLOWING A huge amount of media coverage regarding the proposed site in Diggle for the new school, I feel very strongly you should know the group calling themselves SDAG do not represent my views at all.

I have two children in year 7 at Saddleworth School and I would be concerned, not only about their safety, if by some strange turn of events the new school would be built on the current site, but also about their continued educational development with all the disruption that this would bring.

I am disappointed a small group of people are bringing delays to these proposed plans and can only hope that a judicial review will be turned down.

Parent, Saddleworth Rotarian and Trustee of SSYCA

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I HAVE watched the new Saddleworth school debate rage on with increasing dismay over the past few years and am becoming even more disgusted with the antics of a vocal minority called the ‘Save Diggle Action Group’ who are determined to put their own misguided opinions over the education of the children of Saddleworth.

SDAG claim time and time again that they represent the people of Saddleworth. I can state categorically that they do not represent me or my family and a huge number of my friends and acquaintances.

As a Saddleworth resident involved in a number of community groups I can also state with some authority that the vast majority of people I speak with also disagree with the aims and tactics of SDAG and despair of their strategy of trying to delay the school in the hope that the funding will be withdrawn.

It is without doubt the school needs to be built. If the present school buildings are continued to be used it would not be long before they would fail to meet modern health and safety requirements and be condemned.

The argument for the Diggle site seems to me to be compelling; it is a larger site, the school will be built and be ready to move into and there would be no disturbance to the education of children during the construction phase. In addition it has been designed to the latest modern standards with excellent education, sporting and community facilities. These are all facilities I want my two primary school children to benefit from when the school is built and they are old enough to attend.

To build the new school on the existing site at Uppermill would be pure folly. At present there is £19m available to build the school in Diggle. However due to the costs of building in Uppermill on an uneven site, on unsuitable ground (clay) and without the land swap funds, would reduce the amount of money available to build the school to around £12m, that would result in an inferior school being built.

Any sane person can see that the children’s education would be compromised, for a start the construction site would be the school playing fields compromising sports eduction.

It is clear SDAG do not represent the views of the Saddleworth people and that the time has come for SDAG to drop their opposition to the Diggle site and worked with the school and OMBC to get the best possible school for the children of Saddleworth.

Keith Prior, Dobcross

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I AM writing in support of the new Saddleworth School in Diggle.  I feel this issue has gone on long enough and it’s now time to stand up and be counted.  I’m fed up of reading support for SDAG in the local press and never hear anything from people who actually support the build.

The news that SDAG will take this case to a judicial review is the last straw. Two of my three children are already at Saddleworth School and they deserve better.

The building has issues with the plumbing, the electrics, the heating, leaks from the roof and from the drains. Basically the building is no longer fit for purpose.

It’s soul destroying to watch a minority group destroy the potential of a new build in Diggle. They have used bats, lapwings, floods, the roads, the plans, all as issues to stop the build and now saying the process is illegal.

Elizabeth Mirza, Grasscroft

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Diggle. I’m sure I speak for many other parents in favour of it too.

The SDAG has sabotaged this for too long now. It’s time the school build is underway.

The selfish nature of the SDAG has deprived hundreds of children a new school in Diggle as the building programme has been delayed so long.

My oldest child leaves the existing Saddleworth school in a few weeks. He should have benefitted from at least a few years in the new school.

My youngest starts in Septmeber. He should have been starting at the new school.

The existing school is crumbling. A new school will provide a sense of pride for the children. Its facilities will also be available for community use. The old mill at Diggle is not only an eye sore, it is dangerous as it is unstable.

It’s time to think of the children of Saddleworth and build the school in Diggle now.

Elsa Taylor, Mum to 3 children who lives in Diggle

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I WOULD like to voice support for the plans to build the new Saddleworth School in Diggle.

I am a local resident who grew up in Saddleworth and a parent of two children at Dobcross Holy Trinity Primary School.

I am concerned by the continued delays because of the past complaints and now the new legal proceedings put forward by the group known as SDAG.

I want you to know SDAG do not speak for me and my family and that I am in full support of building the school as soon as possible on the Diggle site.

I feel the time is well overdue for the school construction to have begun and want to officially pledge my support in writing.

Claire Hilton

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There is a very small group who don’t want the school in Diggle but this is only because they live next to the site and they won’t listen to or have any other opinion listened to.

A judicial review will cost thousands but it won’t stop the school.

I think the message is simple – SDAG cannot make the school be built in Uppermill. If they go to judicial review and win, all that means is the planning application will have to go back to planning committee.

There is no third party right of appeal in this country; the judicial review system can only challenge how decisions are made, not what decisions are made.

SDAG are threatening judicial review on the basis that some points weren’t properly written up in the planning committee report which forms the basis of the members’ decision.

It’s unlikely in my opinion that members would take a different view if presented with the same information differently. The benefits of the Diggle site still override the negative impacts. Developing Uppermill wouldn’t be without impact either!

Michael Thornley


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