The Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG), this week, asked the Education Funding Agency (EFA) to support building the new Saddleworth School on the existing Uppermill site.
According to Parish Councillor, Mike Buckley, enquiries by Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG) have revealed that the EFA are surprised that they are being made out to be the key decision makers behind the unpopular move of the Saddleworth School to the Diggle green belt site and have indicated this is entirely a decision for Oldham Council and the School Governors.
The EFA have informed SDAG that:-
1. Many of the new schools built under the Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP) have been built on their original sites.
2. The choice of sites is not the responsibility of the EFA and in principal they have no objection to schools being built on the original sites.
3. In fact under the PSBP programme many of the new schools have been built in this way. Furthermore it is quite common for a new school to be built on the existing playing fields and for the sports facilities to be recreated after the demolition of the old school buildings.
4. EFA have no objection to temporary accommodation being used on site while school building proceeds. In fact this is the norm in such situations.
SDAG are now informing the EFA of the local concerns and growing opposition to the proposals to build on the green belt in Diggle. They are also indicating to them that their role is being misrepresented in the decision making process.
The action group are now urgently asking for a fuller examination of the obstacles involved in rebuilding the school on the existing Uppermill site before any further action is taken by OMBC.
They are also urging concerned parties to write directly to Jane Brighouse, the officer in charge of the project at the EFA, expressing their concerns. Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Monday 28th October, Saddleworth Parish Council voted to support residents campaigning against the siting of a secondary school in Diggle. In addition, they agreed to; support the group’s direct contact with the EFA and to call for the new school to be built on the current site.
Melanie Koen, a resident of Diggle, addressed the Parish Council at the start of their meeting saying, “Saddleworth children are being short changed. They are the ones losing out in this deal. The decision is too quick, too sudden and too cheap and above all, a disaster for Diggle.”
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