2. Frequently asked questions
Last updated: July 2020
Have planning permissions been granted for the new school?
Planning approval notices were issued on the 10 May 2019 in respect to;
- Demolition of the buildings on the WH Shaw site (PA/337931/15);
- Listed Building consent to demolish the link bridge (LB/337929/15);
- New car park drop-off facility, residents' parking area and associated highway works (PA/337930/15)
A planning approval notice was also issued on 17 June 2019 in respect to;
- Construction of a new Saddleworth School (PA/337301/15);
Documents associated with each application are available to view on the Council’s website.
Requirement for a new school and Funding
How will the new school site and building help the education of my child?
The Saddleworth School Education Vision is to provide a school:
- Where each child is supported to fulfil their own potential and to follow an appropriate pathway of their choice, wherever that may take them; locally, nationally or globally.
- Where adults and children form a community in which everyone is treated with respect, given equal consideration of their interests and helped to have rich lives in mind, body and spirit.
- Which teaches students to become confident, resilient and independent so that they can be successful in their lives after school.
- That is embedded in the Saddleworth community, where children make a positive contribution to the community’s life.
The provision of the new school facilities will allow the school to concentrate on the provision of education without being hampered by the condition and layout of the current school facilities which are life expired.
How is the school being funded?
The new school will be delivered as part of the Government’s Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) which was established to address the needs of the schools in worst condition across the country.
Was a replacement school on the existing Saddleworth School site considered?
The construction of a replacement Saddleworth School on the existing Uppermill site was always an option and was fully considered.
Whilst the replacement school could be rebuilt on the existing site it should be noted that due to the phasing required, the provision of temporary accommodation and a requirement for several decants, the construction period for this option would have been prolonged and problematic.
Maintaining an operational school within and around a construction site would provide a challenge in terms of noise, dust and loss of facilities resulting in significant disruption to the school and consequential detrimental effect on the education of the students for a substantial period of time.
The DfE also had concerns regarding the safety of staff and students during construction of a new building on the existing school site.
A new 1,500 place school would fit on the existing school site. However, it would not meet current guidelines for the size of site for a secondary school.
The existing Saddleworth School site measures 11 acres although this includes several areas that would be unusable due to site levels and topography. The chosen site at the former WH Shaw site would provide up to 18.11 acres of usable space.
Construction of the new Saddleworth School (PA/337301/15)
Who is responsible for the construction of the new Saddleworth School?
The DfE and its contractor Interserve Construction have secured planning consent for construction of the new school (PA/337301/15) and the application documents including its design and associated sports infrastructure can be viewed on the council’s website.
What is the programme for the project and when can the school be expected to open?
Interserve Construction are set to start on site in late July 2020 with the new school due to be handed over in February 2022.
How will construction impact on wildlife be managed?
The potential impacts of the construction were considered as part of the design process. The construction of the new school PA/337301/15 will be implemented in accordance with the planning decision letter. Interserve will follow Considerate Constructors Scheme best practice guidelines during the construction. In addition, Oldham Council’s planning conditions will stipulate working methods and mitigation measures to be employed throughout the construction period.
How will you ensure that disturbance caused to local residents is minimised during the construction period?
The potential impacts of the construction were considered as part of the design process. The construction of the new school PA/337301/15 will be implemented in accordance with the planning decision letter including the conditions.
Are buildings being developed in the Green Belt?
The scheme as proposed accommodates all of the school buildings, parking and bus turning areas within the previously developed area of the Pallet Works site. It is proposed that an artificial sports pitch, a grass pitch, and other grass surface sports facilities will be laid out on the Green Belt element of the site in accordance with the planning decision letter including the conditions PA/337301/15.
How will you ensure that there is no undermining or negative impact on the canal retaining walls?
When demolition of the existing buildings is carried out it will be monitored by the Canals & Rivers Authority and specialist engineers to ensure there is no risk of damage to the existing canal retaining walls. Interserve have also taken this into account in the design and through consultation with appropriate organisations. The new building is sited a significant distance away, and foundations designed so as not to influence the canal retaining walls.
How will you protect the amenity of local residents once the school is open?
It is not expected that the school will cause high levels of disturbance once operational, and these will possibly be lower than those associated with the former manufacturing use of the site. At the start and end of the school day there will be a high level of movement of people to and from the school. Managing the travel arrangements is considered further in the FAQs on highways and access. In terms of noise and light disturbance, the school buildings and sports facilities are located as far from residential properties as possible.
Will the project affect emergency access to the railway tunnel and canal?
No, emergency access to the Standedge Tunnels will not change or cause a problem for the design or construction of the project.
What is proposed for the existing school site in Uppermill once the replacement school is built in Diggle?
The Council is currently the existing owner of the Saddleworth School site. Any development on this site would require planning approval in the normal way.
What will be the future of the all-weather pitch currently located on the Uppermill site?
A new all-weather pitch is proposed as part of the Saddleworth School proposals in Diggle, and it is envisaged that community groups would have access to this facility. As with the remainder of the existing education asset, nothing would be closed until a replacement facility is available.
What sports facilities will be provided at the new school?
Internally there will be a new four-court sports hall, fitness suite and activity studios along with a range of changing facilities. Externally a new artificial all-weather pitch and enclosure will be provided as a direct replacement for the current facility in Uppermill. Additionally, there will be a grass football pitch, a 100 metre running track and field events area for long jump, shot putt etc.
Will Oldham Council own the frontage plots either side of the access road at the former WH Shaw Pallet Works site?
The frontage plots immediately adjoining Huddersfield Road would be retained by the current landowner. Oldham Council will, however, acquire the Green Belt land to the rear of 20-44 (even) Huddersfield Road.
Highways and Access
What Highways and Access Works will be undertaken as part of the construction of the new school?
Although very closely linked to the school development, these works will be carried out separately in accordance with the decision letter for (PA/337930/15) New car park drop-off facility, residents' parking area and associated highway works.
What is the timetable for highway and access works and when will these be on site?
A programme for the delivery of these works will be announced at a future update of this page.
How will children get to the new site from Uppermill?
The new school site is less than 2km from the existing school site. The Planning Application will include a detailed Travel Plan. The school buses will have a turning point within the curtilage of the new school site.
Is Oldham Council taking responsibility for additional buses that may have to be laid on?
The Council is in discussions with the School and Transport for Greater Manchester on this matter.
Where will parents be able to drop their children off for school?
There will be no provision for parents to drop children off within the school grounds so as to discourage traffic from entering Diggle village. There will be a new car park drop-off facility in accordance with (PA/337930/15).
If parents will not be permitted to drop pupils off in the school grounds, what about those pupils with special needs or those with luggage, such as large musical instruments or sports equipment?
The school is committed to ensuring such needs can be accommodated by arrangement.
How will the scheme ensure that there are safe walking routes to the school, the pavements through Diggle are not very wide at present?
A range of highway solutions will be implemented in accordance with (PA/337930/15) New car park drop-off facility, residents' parking area and associated highway works.
How many parking spaces will be provided on the site? Is this enough to accommodate all staff and visitors?
The design will accommodate an extra ten percent more parking spaces than are available at the Uppermill site. In addition further informal parking arrangements may be put in place by the school to accommodate a significantly greater number of cars on the hard play areas and bus drop-off spaces, for when special events are held at the new school.
Permanent Traffic Regulation Orders TRO
How will parking and other new restrictions on the highway be introduced?
The procedure for implementing TROs is set out in the Local Authorities’ Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 (the “Regulations”). This sets out the statutory processes which must be undertaken before a TRO can be implemented on the ground.
How will the process work?
The Regulations specify four stages to the implementation of a TRO:
- Legal Order Making
A consultation process for the Permanent Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO’s) associated with the new Saddleworth School launched on 6 May 2020 and ended on 6 June 2020.
Who do you consult with?
Consultation must take place with bodies such as the Police and Road Haulage Association in all cases, and with other bodies considered likely to be affected by the proposals (such as Parish Councils and the Fire and Ambulance Service) before a TRO is implemented.
How do residents find out what is proposed?
The proposed TRO must be advertised in the local press before it can be brought into force. A copy of this notice must also be sent to statutory consultees and other individual/bodies affected by the scheme.
The Regulations require that there is adequate publicity of a proposed TRO so that those affected can consider the proposals. Therefore, the press advertisement usually runs in conjunction with a letter drop to affected frontages and/or the erection of street notices for the duration of the advertisement stage. Consultation notices and plans will also be displayed on this webpage.
How long is the consultation process open for?
Once a TRO has been advertised, a minimum of 21 days must be allowed for any comments or objections to be made. All objections must be made in writing. This period may be increased as necessary, depending on the scope of the proposal and its anticipated impact on the local community. This consultation period will be stated on the advertised notice.
What happens once the consultation period has ended?
Upon consideration of comments and objections received, it may be appropriate to make minor modifications to the proposed TRO after it has been advertised. In such cases, the minor adjustments can be implemented provided that those likely to be affected by the modifications are notified, and that they are given the opportunity to comment or object. The modifications may lessen the proposed restrictions but not increase any restrictions without re-advertising the proposals.
How do I know my comments/objections are considered?
All objections must be taken into consideration prior to bringing an order into force. Objections received during the consultation period form part of a report that is considered by Oldham Councils’ TRO panel. The panel is made up of 4 Councilors' who will consider the report which is presented by the relevant Council Officer.
After consideration of the objections, the panel will instruct:
- The proposals are implemented as advertised,
- The proposals are implemented but revised,
- The proposals are rescinded.
What access will the public have to the sports facilities?
It is envisaged that the school will make the new, increased sports facilities available to the local community on a similar basis to the current facilities at Uppermill.
Will I be notified about the TRO panel’s decision?
Yes, once the minutes of the Panel’s meeting are approved, objectors are notified in writing of the decision.
Can I appeal the TRO panel decision?
The only further appeal is if you feel due process hasn’t been followed during the TRO process, not the Panel’s decision.
What is the process for implementing the TRO once approved?
The Order making stage can only be completed if there are no unresolved objections following consultation and advertisement. The Regulations do not stipulate the procedure for addressing objections received.
An Order can be made as soon as the 21-day advertisement stage has been carried out, provided there are no objections. An Order must be ‘made’ (i.e. brought into force) within a maximum of two years after it was first advertised, and a notice stating that the Order has been ‘made’ must appear in the local press within 14 days of being brought into force. The making of an order should correspond with the modification/introduction of any lining and signing for the new TRO.
If you have any further questions please email