Following recent national flooding problems Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG) have raised concerns that the plans to relocate Saddleworth School to Diggle may add to the flooding risk in Saddleworth. The proposals for the new school involve building two sports pitches in the green belt valley below the Pallet Works site, much of which is designated as a flood plane. A recent (2010) strategic flood risk assessment conducted for the Diggle site1 warned that the valley suffered a “primary risk from surface water and the River Tame and a secondary risk from the Huddersfield Narrow Canal”.
Building Sports fields in the valley will involve levelling and raising the land next to Diggle Brook. Published plans for the positioning of the sports fields show them encroaching into the flood plane and this seems inevitable due to the constrained nature of the site. Culverting the river has been proposed by the school’s technical committee to make levelling easier and avoid the risk of the pitches flooding. However, this would interfere with the flood plane and would almost certainly not be permitted.
Cllr. Mike Buckley of SDAG said, “The risk assessment carried out in 2010 indicated that the site is susceptible to flooding. Measures such as those that have been proposed to safeguard the sports fields from inundation would inevitably interfere with the flood plane and increase the risk of flooding further down the Diggle and River Tame Valleys. With climate change, environmental experts believe that extreme events of this kind will become more prevalent in the future and in the light the recent floods central government has warned against development on flood planes. As recently as 2012 severe flooding took place in the valley and a large lake was formed on the proposed site (See attached photograph).
“OMBC and the Government’s Educational Funding Agency should review the present decision to locate the school’s sports facilities in this vulnerable location.”
For further information on flooding in Oldham see: Oldham Council Hybrid Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, Vol. 3, January 2010.