Oldham Council is issuing an update on the next steps in the planning process for the proposed new Saddleworth School.
A structured approach is being taken in order to ensure that the four planning applications related to this one project are considered as one scheme.
The project is made up of four separate applications which are to:
A) Build the new school on the WH Shaw Pallets site in Diggle;
B) Demolish existing buildings on the WH Shaw site;
C) Demolish the link bridge attached to the Grade II listed building on the WH Shaw site;
D) Provide a parental drop off area plus residential car parking as part of the wider highways scheme in Diggle.
A new Environmental Statement which covers the entire project is now being prepared to cover all four applications.
That means that a new 21-day statutory consultation will take place enabling the public to comment on the demolition, listed building and parental drop-off applications (B, C and D above).
Issuing the new Environmental Statement means the public will also be able to comment again on the school application (A) during that time. Any comments already received by the Planning Department will still be taken into consideration and do not need to be resubmitted.
Local residents in the vicinity of the WH Shaw site will receive a letter informing them when the new 21-day consultation starts. Oldham Council will also publicise this through local media and its other communications channels.
A public 'drop in' event is also planned to take place in Diggle in the coming weeks to discuss the proposed parental drop-off, residential car parking and associated highways scheme for the village.
Councillor Dave Hibbert, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Transport, said: "Having four separate planning applications and separate consultations related to the proposed new Saddleworth School can make things seem complex."
"We’ve advised the applicants that they need to treat these applications as a single project and have one comprehensive Environmental Statement.
“This means that both the planning department and the public can consider the potential impacts of these proposals as a whole. It will help to make the project and associated issues clearer - especially in terms of engagement with the public.
"The other important benefit of this approach is that it means all four planning applications can be considered together for final decisions at exactly the same time.
"We remain committed to getting as much feedback from residents as possible on all the issues related to these applications, so I would again urge anyone with interest in this project to take part and have your say during the forthcoming 21-day consultation period."
The Environmental Statement is expected to be received in December. The timing of the 21-day public consultation will be managed to ensure the Christmas break does not impact on the public’s ability to comment.