Debbie Abrahams (Photo: Stuart Coleman©2013)

Debbie Abrahams (Photo: Stuart Coleman©2013)

Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, has arranged a meeting with Education Minister David Laws to discuss the future of Saddleworth School.

Debbie said: “I was in Diggle last week talking to residents about the proposed new Saddleworth School. The overwhelming response from those I spoke to was support for the new school.

“They recognised, as I do, the need for a new school fit for the 21st century. But they have genuine concerns, particularly about the traffic impacts, but other issues too including the positioning of the school and a lack of engagement with local people.

“I have also received correspondence from several local residents about the proposal. I wrote to David Laws the Education Minister responsible for these decisions on 17th October, the day after the public meeting, and have arranged a meeting with him on 5th November. I will be raising residents concerns with him and looking to see how these can be mitigated. But we need a new school for our young people and our discussions will be in that context.”

Diggle Community Association chairperson, Stuart Coleman said: “Before deciding wether you are for or against proposals to build a new school in Diggle, key concerns have to be addressed and resolved: Is the budget sufficient? If not, how much extra is needed and how will it be found? With opposition growing to building in Diggle should the current Saddleworth School site be re-assessed? Is the identified position of the school on the proposed site in Diggle the best position considering expandability, future usefulness and the historical value of the clock tower? Should the use of green belt be tolerated and does this set a precedent for future development in Saddleworth?   Is the problem with the ‘traffic pinch point’ at the entrance to Diggle being properly considered?

“In relation to the latter, adding to problems on this already grid-locked section of road without proper consideration is not acceptable. Drivers entering and leaving Diggle face queuing on a daily basis and residents and pedestrians have to suffer pollution, noise and traffic. Currently there are 2300 people in Diggle, a primary school, a nursery and two industrial sites. Add to this; a secondary school, twelve new houses on Ward Lane and two opposite the chip shop, further development of the Pallet Works, and you begin to see the enormity of the problem.”

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