Is this the future for diggle?Two buses trying to pass each other at the end of Huddersfield Road in Diggle. Many people in Saddleworth are asking, “Is this the future for Diggle if a secondary school is built on the former site of Shaw’s Pallet Works.”

It’s clear in the photograph that the bus heading towards the camera has had to mount the pavement to avoid the other bus.

Ken Bennett reported in the Oldham Chronicle (April 3rd, 2014, page 2) that ‘A local businessman, Stuart Illingworth, who lives in the village and witnessed the incident said, “The council has completely underestimated unresolved transport issues on Huddersfield Road.”

He added, “It is impossible for two buses to pass safely on the approach to the new school.  The right hand bus in my picture had to go almost all the way on to the narrow pavement to pass at a snail’s pace — and is beyond a point where the road could be widened, as can clearly be seen on the photograph.  The key decision makers need to recognise that they will personally have to carry the blame when inevitable injuries occur, should the new school go ahead on the Diggle site. If the project goes ahead the volume of buses and cars will increase enormously making this situation all the more serious.”

And he cites recent heavy rainfall highlighting flood risks on the site of the £17 million secondary school which will have 1,500 students. Mr Illingworth says the Diggle problems have not been taken into account properly in the costings when comparing against possible redevelopment of the existing school site in Uppermill.

“The past few months could very usefully have been used to revisit properly the existing site,” he said. “But the council has belligerently chosen instead to continue unabated with the Diggle proposal, despite huge and growing local opposition. It still has the option to reconsider, or all parties involved with this ill-thought out project will forever have to carry the responsibility of inevitable injuries to school children.”

He warns once the project goes to planning all these considerations, plus enormous local opposition from across Saddleworth, risk the whole project failing.  And he asks: “Why would OMBC risk this outcome instead of revisiting the existing site while there is still chance?

“In the final analysis — whatever happens — everyone will ask why this project was allowed to develop in such a poorly-managed and ill-considered manner.”

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