February 2017
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Parish Council host Community Day

Saddleworth Parish Council are holding a Community Day at Uppermill Civic Hall on Sunday April 2nd.

Cllr Jamie Curley said, “The day will be packed with local groups and associations as well as organisations from across Oldham Borough including representatives from the Saddleworth and Lees District office, MAHDLO and Action together who will be on hand to offer advice, workshops and training. We will also be welcoming The Real Junk Food Project who will be serving up a real treat!

“The day is an opportunity for community groups and associations to showcase their activities, attract new members/volunteers, fundraise and network with other groups.

“It’s about informing the wider Saddleworth community about what is available and what’s going on in Saddleworth. It’s also a chance for people to get involved or join a group that appeals to them.

“It’s shaping up to be a busy and exciting day.”

For more information contact Jane Soriente/Christine Wilson on 0161 770 6804/8416 or jane.soriente@oldham.gov.uk

Diggle Duck Race: 17th April

The ducks are already in training for this year’s Easter race. https://www.facebook.com/events/263040387466933/?ti=icl

Appeal for family of Victoria Cross war hero to come forward

Sergeant Thomas Steele

Oldham Council is appealing for the family of a Victoria Cross recipient from the First World War to come forward as it prepares to honour his outstanding acts of bravery.

Sergeant Thomas Steele was honoured for his role in attempting to lift the Turkish siege at Ku-al-Amara in the Middle East in 1917. At a critical moment, Sgt Steele used a machine gun to beat off an enemy attack and risked his life to rally a party of Indian soldiers who had lost all their officers. He was also severely injured and suffered 12 wounds in further conflict.

In honour of his outstanding bravery, and to commemorate 100 years since the events, Oldham Council is holding a ceremony at 11am, February 22, at St Annes Church, Lydgate. At the ceremony a commemorative paving stone will be unveiled in honour of Sergeant Steele by Councillor Derek Heffernan, the Mayor of Oldham.

The council wants to get in touch with Sgt Steele’s family so they can take part in the ceremony and share their stories. Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Cooperatives, said: “Sergeant Thomas Steele was born in Oldham and we are proud to remember him. We have an obligation to preserve his memory and bravery for generations to come – something we hope the paving stone will do. We would like to collect stories and images of Thomas Steele so if you have any, or you are a relative, or friend, of the Steele family, please get in touch.”

The commemoration is part of the on-going national campaign to lay lasting reminders in the birth places of Members of Sgt Steele’s family, dignitaries and representatives of local community groups and schools will be in attendance.

If you’re relative – or just a friend – of Thomas Steele please come forward and contact mayors.office@oldham.gov.uk or call 0161 770 4012. We’re looking to collect stories and images to display on an online gallery at www.oldhamremembers.org.uk in his honour.

Only 1,356 of the Victoria Cross medals — the highest honour bestowed on members of the UK armed forces — have ever been awarded. Two other borough residents received the Victoria Cross for their heroic deeds in World War One. Sergeant Hogan was in battlefield in Festubert, France on October 29, 1914, when his trench had been taken by the Germans. After attempts at recapturing it failed Sgt Hogan and fellow soldiers took actions into their own hands and re-claimed it. Private Walter Mills was caught in a gas attack on the Western Front on December 10, 1917. He stayed at his post alone and threw bombs until the enemy retreated. He died of gas poisoning as he was carried away.
A service will take place on Monday 11 December to honour Oldham’s third, and final, Victoria Cross recipient, Private Walter Mills.

To get involved in Oldham’s commemorations, mark 100 years since the start of World War One, read stories about local people and their experience in the war or research stories, visit www.oldhamremembers.org.uk

For more information email oldhamremembers@oldham.gov.uk or call 0161 770 3297.

Painter Diana Terry Explores the Saddleworth Edges

Saddleworth Edges

4 March-2 April 2017


Uppermill Museum and Art Gallery

OL3 6HS www.diterry.com

One of the many things that I love about living in Saddleworth is the way that the built environment ends in a clear defined manner. Although it is on the edge of a conurbation, the boundaries of the National Park prevents the spread of further building. These hills are apparent in all of the villages and form a natural backdrop to our lives. Some local places even have edge as part of their name, describing the places where the millstone grit breaks through the peaty moor. I have used, amongst others Millstone Edge, Harrop Edge and Edge End as starting points for my work.

It is a different world up in the hills away from the high street. Included in this exhibition are sketches made in summer 2016 of the places showing the combination of rural and industrial areas of Saddleworth. They can only be found by exploring as they are literally on the edges of our community.

Diana Terry M.A.

Saddleworth Neighbourhood Plan

Recently Saddleworth Parish Council submitted an application to Oldham Council and the Peak District National Park Authority to draw up a Neighbourhood Plan to cover the area of Saddleworth Parish.  The request has now been granted and this week a steering group met to draw up the timeline for producing the plan.


A Neighbourhood Plan is an important and powerful document with real legal force and therefore has to conform with certain formal procedures.  It is a document which:

  • sets out planning policies for the neighbourhood area. ( Planning policies are used to decide whether to approve planning applications )
  • is written by the local community, the people who know and love the area
  • A powerful tool to ensure the community gets the right types of development, in the right place.


Local people make the plan which allows them to develop planning policies that reflect the priorities which they see in their area and have real legal weight. The whole community then decides at a referendum vote whether the local authority should bring the plan into force.  We anticipate that the whole process will take us up to the end of 2018.


We hope that as many local people and groups as possible will be involved in the writing of this important Neighbourhood Plan and a public launch event for this project will be held on Tuesday 21st February at 7.00pm at the Civic Hall, Uppermill where all are welcome.

A Big Big exhibition at Gallery Oldham

Taking the camera out on the road.

The extraordinary Big Big Camera has been in the collections of Gallery Oldham for many years. Over the last two years artist and photographer Ian Beesley has been working to reuse this industrial relic and photograph the Oldham area in a whole new way. This new exhibition charts his journey and includes some suitably ‘big big’ images.

The camera was originally housed at Rome Mill in Springhead, where it was used by a company manufacturing wallpaper. Rome Mill was built as a cotton spinning mill but was converted to become a wallpaper factory by Lees Paper Staining Co in the early 1930s. It was at this point that the process camera manufactured by the London firm of Hunter Penrose was first installed. The mill continued to produce wallpaper until 1990 and when it was closed Gallery Oldham acquired the process camera for the collections.

Large cameras like this were made specifically for the printing industry and once installed were probably never moved again. Ian Beesley has worked with Gallery Oldham to get it working again, including specialist restoration of the lens as well as cleaning. Most importantly Ian had to meet the challenge of using a camera that was designed for huge negatives 24 inches square. His solution was to create a grid which could take a series of smaller negatives resulting in images made up of 20 separate prints.

Thanks to funding from Arts Council England the gallery was able to take the camera out on the road. A transit van is needed to transport a camera this size and with a little modification the van can also double as a darkroom enabling the slides to be reloaded out in the field. It is a laborious process and a maximum of three photographs can be taken in a day.

Photographer Ian Beesley has used the camera to take images across the borough as well as a series of portraits and still lifes. Poet Ian MacMillan has also worked on the

Hartford mill taken with the Big Big Camera

project to produce a series of poems in response to the photographs. Both the images and poems will be on display in this new exhibition.

Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Co-operatives, said: “This is a fascinating project to reuse a historic piece of industrial equipment in a new way. These large scale photographs will make you think again about the whole process of taking a picture.”

Ian Beesley said: “This exhibition explores some of the aspects of photography that are now being lost in the digital age. From the sheer physicality of the equipment, to the delicate relationship with light and the uncertainty of success, this is photography in its purest but most demanding form.”

The exhibition opens on January 21 until April 22. Visitors can also join Ian Beesley for a demonstration of the camera on 15 February at 2pm.

Have you claimed the ‘Flood Resilience Grant’?



Fighting the flooding in Uppermill, Boxing Day 2015 (Photo: ©StuartColeman)

Courtesy of Christine Wilson

Saddleworth and Lees District Team

Please spread the word, see below or click on the link:  http://www.oldham.gov.uk/info/200578/emergencies/1574/flood_resilience_grant

Government grants of up to £5,000 are available for homeowners and businesses that have been flooded as a result of Storm Desmond and Storm Eva to help fund additional flood resilience or resistance measures for their properties.
The resilience grant presents a great opportunity for those who have been flooded to better prepare their homes for future flood events, both to prevent flood water from entering the property and to speed the recovery if it does.


Grants are intended only to fund measures which improve the property’s resilience or resistance to flooding, over and above repairs that would normally be covered by insurance.

Flood Resilience Grant Application Form
Property Resilience Grant Scheme Participation Agreement Form
Applications must be submitted by 31st December 2016 with all expenditure by 30th June 2017.

To apply please complete the “Flood Resilience Grant Application Form” and return it via post email:
The Head of Corporate Governance,
Financial Services,
Floor 14,
Civic Centre,
West Street,
OL1 1UG.
Applications should be submitted and approved in advance of any work being carried out. If applications are submitted after work has been started there is a risk to the homeowner/business that they may not be eligible for the grant.

Diggle School Light Up Diggle for Christmas


Diggle Primary School Christmas competition winners Dylan Jackson (Class R) and Jane Anderson (class 3) turning on the Christmas lights (Photo: ©stuartcoleman)

Diggle residents celebrated their annual Christmas light switch on in style on Sunday with record numbers enjoying carols, fireworks and the tree lighting ceremony.

Pupils from Diggle Primary School choir started the festivities with a selection of carols at, a full to overflowing, Diggle Band Club.

Fuelled on minced pies and mulled wine, the gathering led by Diggle Band made their way to the Christmas tree opposite Wharf Mill where Christmas competition winners, Jane Anderson and Dylan Jackson from Diggle School, turned on the tree lights.

Rev Duncan Rhodes said, “It’s wonderful to see so many people enjoying this event, singing carols and celebrating Christmas together as a community.”

Mark Brooks, chairperson for the Diggle Community Association said, ” The light-up Christmas event takes a lot of fundraising, planning and organising but it’s worth it to see so many people from the village enjoying themselves.’

Special thanks go out to: The Diggle Community Association, Cllr Nikki Kirkham, Diggle Primary School, Diggle Band, Diggle Band Club and local residents




New Gritter Named Nicole Saltslinger

15310999_10155411360699989_1755504996_oAfter an avalanche of interest and suggestions Oldham Council can reveal the name of our new gritter is Nicole Saltslinger. Named after the former Pussycat Doll and X-Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger the now famous yellow gritter has become the most famous vehicle in the country over the last few weeks.

Recently we asked primary school children from across the borough to ‘prove their salt’ and come up with a fitting name for the new addition to our fleet. After a ‘snow’ start the number of entries snowballed by the day and we eventually ended up with hundreds to choose from, including Gritney Houston, Spready Eddie and even Andy Gritchie, after the former Oldham Athletic favourite. The competition also really caught the imagination of the ‘gritterarati’ and it received wide spread national coverage in newspapers, websites, TV and radio.

The winning entry was sent in by Eve McGrath, who attends Royton Hall Primary School. We ploughed through hundreds of entries and Eve was the only youngster who came up with the unique and fun name. The 10-year-old decided on Nicole Saltslinger as she is a fan of the Saturday night entertainment show. Eve made the trip down to our depot at Moorhey Street for a special naming ceremony.

Nicole will now join Freddie Salted; Grittersaurus; Goliath; Walter the Salter; Gritterbug; Gritney Spears; Gritanator and Thor, helping to keep the borough’s roads moving safely when the snow and ice appear.

Councillor Fida Hussain, Cabinet Member for Environment Services, said: “Firstly we’d like to thank Eve for coming up with such a great name. We’re delighted with how well the competition took off. It captured the imagination of Oldham residents and the whole nation. It was intended as a bit of fun and we even treated the silly suggestions with a pinch of salt.

‘We ran a similar competition a few years ago which was also really well received but this time I think we’ve taken it up a notch.
On a single tweet more than 70,000 people engaged with us in one way or another and some of the suggestions we had were fantastic.

“In Oldham we’re usually hit quite hard when the snow begins to fall and we have an excellent team who work tirelessly to keep the roads clear and the borough moving. Our gritters obviously play a vital role in that and so it’s nice that we can have a bit of fun by running competitions like this whilst teaching young people about road safety.”

To keep residents fully informed of any developments the Oldham Council website – http://www.oldham.gov.uk/winter – will be updated continually and feature the latest news on school closures, gritting routes, locations of grit bins and grit sales.

Our First Response service will use its Twitter account @oldhamalert to inform followers of school and road closures or incidents.

These will also be retweeted for residents using the Council¹s account @oldhamcouncil and updates will appear via the local media.

Stage is set for the new Coliseum Theatre

octaceOldham is to build a new Coliseum Theatre in its budding Cultural Quarter after the plans were awarded a multi-million pound funding injection.

A successful Round 2 joint funding bid by Oldham Council and Oldham Coliseum Theatre has seen Arts Council England approve a grant worth £7.1m towards the project.

Alongside a future fundraising contribution agreed with Oldham Coliseum Theatre, this now triggers the green light for it to move from its Fairbottom Street home to a new state-of-the-art facility including a 550-seat main auditorium and a 170-seat studio theatre with improved front-of-house facilities.

The new-build project will be a central part of Oldham’s Cultural Quarter and will be located on the current Southgate Street car park site, with a frontage on Union Street.

This will connect the Coliseum Theatre with the other cultural jewels of a new Heritage and Arts Centre linked with Gallery Oldham, Library and Lifelong Learning centre.

All are sited at a prominent town centre gateway and just yards from the Oldham Central Metrolink stop.

The new theatre will be adjacent to the Grade-II listed Victorian library building, which is to house the Heritage and Arts Centre, showcasing the story of Oldham’s past from its time as the cotton spinning capital of the world to the present day.

The plans are part of an approach approved in September 2015 which commits Oldham Council and its partners to a phased delivery over ten years of a four-stage Cultural Regeneration Programme*.

Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, said: “We’re delighted to be able to now get on with our plans to deliver a new Oldham Coliseum Theatre.”

“The support and shared vision of Arts Council England has been vital in this and we’re extremely grateful for this significant financial contribution which will help us to realise our ambitions for a fantastic Cultural Quarter.

“Arts, culture and heritage matter. They can inspire education across all ages and communities, boost the local economy, and attract tourism

“Oldham Coliseum Theatre is a hugely-respected institution in the borough, and beyond. It’s a major cultural asset that also delivers lots of important educational work. This relocation will widen its profile and ensure it has a bright future as part of our wider regeneration plans.

“You can see with developments like the Old Town Hall and others that we are working to transform our town centre into one that gives our residents greater pride in better facilities and preserved heritage – and will also attract a new type of visitor with a great arts, culture and leisure offer.”

Kevin Shaw, Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive, said: “We are immensely proud to be taking our place in Oldham’s Cultural Quarter alongside the new Heritage and Arts Centre, as well as Gallery Oldham and Oldham Library.”

“We are indebted to the vision of Oldham Council that places a real value on arts and culture for the borough, and for the support of Arts Council England in investing in that vision.

“The current board, staff, volunteers and audiences are all custodians of a proud tradition of theatre in the town, which in the Coliseum’s case dates back to 1885. This is the second time in our history when we’ve moved location. Initially we were on Henshaw Street and then moved to Fairbottom Street in 1887 to make way for Tommyfield Market. It’s our responsibility to make a theatre that’s right for future generations, meaning in the years to come that theatre in Oldham continues to thrive, grow and develop.

“We are rightfully famous for the warmth of our welcome, and we will take that warmth with us, so future residents of Oldham will feel this is a theatre for absolutely everyone.”

Alison Clark, Director North, Arts Council England said: “We are delighted to have made such a major investment in the future of cultural life in Oldham.

“Our capital programme is intended to ensure that artistic activity is embedded in the heart of infrastructural development and this is an great example of how a regeneration programme can demonstrate that the arts are critical to the growth of healthy communities.”

The Coliseum scheme got initial planning permission in March 2015.

Mecanoo, the project architects, are committed to prioritising the local supply chain throughout this project.

In support of Oldham Council’s ‘Get Oldham Working’ campaign, they are developing an employment and skills strategy to focus on young people within the borough, improving links with local education providers and exploring the opportunity to create apprenticeships.

Mecanoo are currently producing new designs in order to submit a new planning application by March 2017.

Construction work is anticipated to start in April 2018 with the venue set to open in 2020.