The Environment Agency (EA) reject, for a second time, the revised environmental plans for Saddleworth School re-development in Diggle.
The 4 year controversial Saddleworth School Saga in Diggle Oldham continues as the EA reject the revised Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) presented to the EA by InterServe Construction Ltd/WYG on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education.
The EA have rejected the revised 40 page FRA (Flood Risk Assessment) submission, stating in their letter to OMBC Planning dated 3rd April 2018 that it “does not comply with requirements set out in the National Planning Policy Framework and associated guidance”, “The excavation of the existing floodplain is not an adequate compensatory flood storage” and “we maintain our objection to the above application”.
Cllr Keith Lucas, spokesperson for Save Diggle Action Group said, “Since our Judicial Review campaign victory (funded by local residents) where High Court Judge Mr Justice Kerr called OMBC council’s previous approval of the planning application “unlawful”, and also criticised the site selection process carried out by both the Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) and OMBC, and determined that the new school could be built in Uppermill with the ESFA’s funding and that all the sites should be reconsidered properly against planning legislation and regulations, OMBC have completely ignored the High Court findings and created a wall of silence for anyone who have had genuine concerns about the infrastructural and environmental concerning about the re-location of Saddleworth School to Diggle from its present Uppermill site.
“What we are now seeing is that a statutory body like the EA questioning for the second time, OMBC and the ESFA’s site selection judgment in moving a 1500 pupil school and its associated playing fields onto a flood zone site.
“This is in addition to The Victorian Society also objecting to the demolition of the Dobcross Loom Works buildings and the listed Link Bridge, in their letters to OMBC planning dated 30thNovember 2017 and 8thMarch 2018, “on the grounds that it would cause substantial harm to the Dobcross Works Office Building that could be avoided by exploring the Uppermill site as an alternative location for the proposed new school. The Victorian Society went on to recommend “that the current application and any others associated with this development are refused and the Uppermill site is explored as the preferred option for the new school development.”
“With two statutory consultees now objecting to the proposals to move the school to Diggle and InterServe Construction Ltd/WYG’s FRA not meeting the required National Planning Policy Framework standards, even on its second attempt, SDAG have to ask: What will it take for OMBC and the ESFA to really listen to Mr Justice Kerr’s judgment and the objections of two statutory consultees?
“We are all fully behind Saddleworth parents and pupils in getting a new school. If OMBC had listened to local public wishes for a new school to be built on the present Uppermill site in the beginning, a new secondary school would have been up and running by 2015.
“SDAG ask that OMBC please stop wasting considerable time and public money trying to move Saddleworth School to Diggle? It just isn’t achievable under planning legislation and regulations. We feel that an urgent enquiry is needed and that the public of Saddleworth get behind the appeal for the school to be rebuilt on its present site in Uppermill without any further delays.”
OMBC were not available for comment at this time.