Plans showing how the current Education Funding Authority (EFA) design proposals for the Diggle site will fit on the mostly unusable football pitch on the current Uppermill site are now being considered by OMBC and the EFA.
Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG) believes that the proposal to choose Diggle over Uppermill may have been based on the old BSF (Building Schools for the future) design from 2008 rather than the new EFA design, and that it has not been reconsidered in the light of revised funding arrangements.
The attached proposals, loosely costed by a professional developer are identical in size and form and offer equivalent and in some parts better facilities to those proposed at Diggle. The school has been involved in aspects of the design and their requirements incorporated into the plans. The new plan recognises that the all-weather pitch and outdoor courts in Uppermill can be retained. Further savings may be made by refurbishing the existing sports hall (as has been done at Oldham academy North), as opposed to the larger cost of new facilities in Diggle.
In order to avoid excessive costs for contractor access, which was seen as a major problem with the Uppermill site, the new proposals involve a much cheaper route being taken which can be achieved by the temporary relocation of about 6 classrooms elsewhere on site. There will be no other disruption during construction. Most schools elsewhere in the country are rebuilt on existing sites, and the EFA fully supports this approach.
Cllr Mike Buckley of SDAG said ” the plans have been professionally drawn up and costed. We are confident that with all the potential extra expense involved in building the school in Diggle, rather than using the existing infrastructure in Uppermill, our proposals will be less costly. A brand new, fit for purpose school, can be built in Uppermill, at the heart of Saddleworth entirely within the proposed budget of £17 million if the political and local will exists to achieve this.”