Saddleworth Independent Councillors have welcomed a letter from the Education Funding Agency (EFA) indicating that a decision on the New Saddleworth School location is imminent and the views of local people will be taken into account.
The Councillors have recently written to the EFA asking to present a 3000 signature petition requesting that the new school is located in Uppermill rather than in Diggle. In his reply Peter Lauener, EFA chief executive, confirmed that a panel had been set up within the EFA to decide where the new school is to be built. In his reply Mr Lauener states “The feasibility study is currently in progress and the information for the Uppermill and Diggle sites is being assembled. The panel will very shortly commence its assessment of the options.” He goes on to say that he will pass on the Councillors letter to the panel “so that they are fully aware of your views” and would be “very happy to pass the petition through to the panel”.
Cllr. Mike Buckley said “We are grateful to the EFA for listening to the views of Saddleworth people. Despite previous claims, it is clearly not a done deal that the school will go to Diggle. I believe the EFA are being fair and even handed in looking at the two site options. The letter, once and for all, knocks on the head the often repeated scare story that if the school does not go to Diggle, the EFA will withdraw from the project and the money for a new school will be lost. As a result of Saddleworth Independent’s overtures they are now dispassionately looking as Uppermill as an option.”
Cllr. Mike Buckley, Cllr. Rob Knotts, Cllr. Nikkie Kirkham, Cllr. Lesley Brown and Cllr Lesley Schofield plan to travel next week to the EFA headquarters in Coventry to present the petition.