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Make a date for the Dobcross Western Fete

Dobcross fete is riding into town again on 23 June with a ‘Yee haw!’ The popular annual fair which is organised by Friends of Dobcross School (FODS) will be a fully themed Wild West Fest complete with Rodeo Bull, Gold Panning and Horse Shoe Toss.

From 1 – 5pm, at Holy Trinity School, aspiring cowboys and indian’s can pit their wits against the Cowboy Bungee Run and Western Assault Course, race on Bouncing Broncos and slip down the Wild West Slide. They can try their hand at archery, climb Spirit Mountain and then take a well-earned break at the Watering Hole for drinks, BBQ food and ice-cream. Those who are feeling less energetic can kick back and enjoy ‘hoe-down’ with Oldham Music School, Infinity Dance and Holy Trinity Choir entertaining the crowds from the live entertainment stage.

There will also be a wide range of traditional side stalls including Pin the Badge on the Sherriff, Apple Bobbing and Bottle Tombola. Not forgetting the school’s Grand Draw generously supported by local businesses, with over 30 fantastic prizes including a helicopter flight and hire of a Ford V8 Mustang.

Chair of FODS Claire Hilton said “It is set to be a fantastic day, with fun for all the family. The event will raise money for the school to spend on much needed improvements to their practical area and library.

“Unlimited ride wristbands will be on sale at £10 per child ahead of the event, £12 on the day. These offer great value for money, with eight attractions included in the price. Entrance is 50p for children, £1 for adults, with a special family ticket on sale at just £3.”

For more information visit Holy Trinity C of E Dobcross Primary School

Local Election Results for Saddleworth

RESULT: Saddleworth North Ward

P Byrne (Con) 933;  J Eccles (Lib Dem); 882 G Hulme (Lab) 820; CON Gain Turnout: 33.98%

RESULT: Saddleworth South Ward 

H Bishop (Ind) 180  J Curley (Con) 1,215;  C Hunter-Rossall (Green) 103;  I Manners (Labour and Co-operative Party) 793;  J McCann (Lib Dem) 1,043; CON Gain Turnout: 40.49%

RESULT: Saddleworth West and Lees Ward:

S Al-Hamdani (Lib Dem) 737;  D’Adamo (Con) 842; V Leach (Lab) 1,042; LAB Gain Turnout: 31.36%


National Park grouse moors are a black hole for birds of prey

New paper confirms link between raptor persecution and driven grouse shooting in Peak District National Park

Goshawk and Peregrines in ‘catastrophic decline’ in the Dark Peak, where the most intensive grouse moor management takes place

Populations of goshawk and peregrine falcon are considerably lower in areas of the Peak District managed for driven grouse shooting in comparison to the rest of the National Park according to a new study.

The paper published in the journal British Birds found a significant association between confirmed raptor persecution incidents and moorland burning – a practice associated with the management of driven grouse moors. It revealed that populations of goshawk and peregrine falcons were in catastrophic decline in northern Dark Peak and yet increasing in the nearby southern White Peak, where virtually no driven grouse moors are present.

This is the first time the association has been shown between declining goshawk populations and moorland burning, confirming fears that driven grouse shooting and its associated raptor persecution is leading to the demise of this species in the park.

The RSPB’s Tim Melling, one of the authors of the paper, said: “In the Dark Peak, birds of prey are notable by their absence. This should be a stronghold for goshawks and peregrines, but sadly our data shows this area to be a bird crime hotspot leading to almost local extinctions of these species.

“Birds like peregrines – the fastest birds in the world – and goshawk – a striking and elusive hunter – are not only a vital part of the ecosystem but are a joy to behold. They should be in abundance here but sadly the Dark Peak is now proving a black hole for these birds of prey.”

The Peak District National Park was once renowned as THE place to see goshawks with up to 17 pairs in the Dark Peak as recently as 1995 but by 2015 this number had plummeted to just two, neither of which successfully bred. Goshawk was found to be twice as likely to successfully breed in the White Peak as the Dark Peak, and peregrines three times more likely.

The illegal persecution of birds of prey is a persistent problem throughout the UK. The RSPB is calling for the government to introduce a system of licensing for driven grouse shooting, and regionally the inclusion of practical measures in the Peak District National Park Management Plan to address this issue.

TV Broadcaster and Vice President of the RSPB, Chris Packham, said: “Our national parks should be awe-inspiring places filled with nature and beauty, providing a connection for people to the natural world. This isn’t the case in the parts of the Peak District National Park where driven grouse shooting predominates. We are being robbed of the magnificence of birds of prey by an industry out of time and out of touch with the majority of the British people. It is time to make the changes that are needed to return our National Parks to what they were meant to be.”

Angela Smith, MP for Penistone and Stockbridge and Species Champion for the hen harrier, said: “It is more than ten years since the issue of bird of prey persecution was brought to my attention and it seems that the situation has not improved, with the elimination of both goshawks and peregrines from my own parliamentary constituency. Regulation of driven grouse shooting is inevitable unless those who engage in the sport are prepared to tackle effectively law-breaking within its ranks.” 


No Petticoats Here: Award-winning singer, songwriter Louise Jordan tells the stories of inspirational women who challenged expectations

Dive into a world of drama, family shows, comedy, music and new writing at Oldham’s live@thelibrary summer season.

Oldham Libraries have a packed schedule with something for everyone at libraries across the borough from May to August.

There’s a whole host of events to mark the Suffrage Centenary, including the Revolting Women performance of the Suffrage story through the eyes of a less well-known Pankhurst, Sylvia, who fought for the vote alongside working women in the East End.

To mark Refugee Week (18-24 June, 2018), join the Manchester International Roots Orchestra for an evening of exciting new music. The unique, musically diverse orchestra aims to nurture musical collaboration between refugee and other culturally diverse musicians, and Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) students.

Children can help save the day in a fun interactive performance of Old McDonald and the Three Pigs Plus in just one of many family events throughout the summer.

There’s also a welcome return of Open Space Festival, showcasing the work of writers and performers from Oldham and across Greater Manchester.

Live@thelibrarylocal brings the fun straight to your community and there’s something for adults and children alike. You can go on an adventure in Charlie and the Lost Treasure or enjoy “I Don’t Know”, a thought-provoking one woman show for Dementia Awareness week.

The Small Cinema also returns to Oldham Library with a dementia-friendly screening of the classic romantic drama ‘Casablanca’ as well as other favourites.

Sheena Macfarlane, Head of Heritage, Libraries and Arts at Oldham Council, said: “Our modern libraries are so much more than book-lending services. Our staff strive to provide a wide range of services, facilities and information for residents of all ages and in many different ways. Live@thelibrary is the perfect celebration of just how much our libraries have to offer.

Amani Live: Amani Creatives will be showcasing some of the freshest new talent from the African diaspora and highlighting diversity, complexity and enduring cultural influence in Africa.

“This season, we have something for all ages and we’re supporting established and emerging local talent. I hope residents will come out and support these events with their family and friends.”

Booking is essential for all events including those without a charge.

Children under 12 months are free and accompanying adults must book a ticket to attend children’s performances.

Oldham Library is located on Greaves Street, Oldham, OL1 1AL (attached to Gallery Oldham).

For all event and booking information, download the full summer brochure at www.oldham.gov.uk/liveatthelibrary

To join Oldham Libraries visit your local branch or log onto www.oldham.gov.uk/libraries

Environment Agency reject revised environmental plan for new Saddleworth School

W.H. Shaw Pallet Works, Diggle

The Environment Agency (EA) reject, for a second time, the revised environmental plans for Saddleworth School re-development in Diggle.

The 4 year controversial Saddleworth School Saga in Diggle Oldham continues as the EA reject the revised Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) presented to the EA by InterServe Construction Ltd/WYG on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education.

The EA have rejected the revised 40 page FRA (Flood Risk Assessment) submission, stating in their letter to OMBC Planning dated 3rd April 2018 that it “does not comply with requirements set out in the National Planning Policy Framework and associated guidance”, “The excavation of the existing floodplain is not an adequate compensatory flood storage” and “we maintain our objection to the above application”. 

Cllr Keith Lucas, spokesperson for Save Diggle Action Group said, “Since our Judicial Review campaign victory (funded by local residents) where High Court Judge Mr Justice Kerr called OMBC council’s previous approval of the planning application “unlawful”, and also criticised the site selection process carried out by both the Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) and OMBC, and determined that the new school could be built in Uppermill with the ESFA’s funding and that all the sites should be reconsidered properly against planning legislation and regulations, OMBC have completely ignored the High Court findings and created a wall of silence for anyone who have had genuine concerns about the infrastructural and environmental concerning about the re-location of Saddleworth School to Diggle from its present Uppermill site.

“What we are now seeing is that a statutory body like the EA questioning for the second time, OMBC and the ESFA’s site selection judgment in moving a 1500 pupil school and its associated playing fields onto a flood zone site. 

“This is in addition to The Victorian Society also objecting to the demolition of the Dobcross Loom Works buildings and the listed Link Bridge, in their letters to OMBC planning dated 30thNovember 2017 and 8thMarch 2018, “on the grounds that it would cause substantial harm to the Dobcross Works Office Building that could be avoided by exploring the Uppermill site as an alternative location for the proposed new school. The Victorian Society went on to recommend “that the current application and any others associated with this development are refused and the Uppermill site is explored as the preferred option for the new school development.”

“With two statutory consultees now objecting to the proposals to move the school to Diggle and InterServe Construction Ltd/WYG’s FRA not meeting the required National Planning Policy Framework standards, even on its second attempt, SDAG have to ask: What will it take for OMBC and the ESFA to really listen to Mr Justice Kerr’s judgment and the objections of two statutory consultees?

“We are all fully behind Saddleworth parents and pupils in getting a new school. If OMBC had listened to local public wishes for a new school to be built on the present Uppermill site in the beginning, a new secondary school would have been up and running by 2015.

“SDAG ask that OMBC please stop wasting considerable time and public money trying to move Saddleworth School to Diggle? It just isn’t achievable under planning legislation and regulations. We feel that an urgent enquiry is needed and that the public of Saddleworth get behind the appeal for the school to be rebuilt on its present site in Uppermill without any further delays.”

OMBC were not available for comment at this time.

Small dam fails above Diggle

Looking downstream through the breach

On Tuesday 17th April large amounts of peat flooded into Diggle Brook. The peat appears to have been released through a breach in the dam at Little Black Moss Reservoir situated at the head of the valley above Diggle Firing Range (Grid Ref: SE 0315 0861).

WILDFIRES highlight the vulnerability of the diverse and valuable South Pennines habitat

The South Pennines Fire Operations Group (FOG) has warned of the danger posed by wildfires, which can strike anywhere in the South Pennines, to endangered wildlife, farm livestock, valuable habitat and human health.

As good weather both dries out the peatland and encourages more people into the countryside the likelihood of wildfires increases at this time of year, explained Danny Jackson, FOG chairman. “Spring is a real danger period for moorland wildfires, which is why the partners working together through FOG, including firefighters, local authorities, local police and landowners, are asking members of the public to be extra vigilant when out in the countryside.

“The negative impact of wildfires across the moors is widely recognised, including the economic impact on farmers through the loss of grazing,” said Danny. “The loss of habitat and the effect that these fires have on nesting birds, such as the endangered twite, can also clearly be seen but in addition we want to highlight the hidden dangers; the pollution, the release of carbon into the atmosphere, and the impact on people’s health.”

Between October 1 and April 15 some controlled burning by landowners takes place, but a fire started outside of these dates, or without the appropriate control measures, is a wildfire and any person caught starting one can be prosecuted for arson.

Adam Greenwood, wildfire officer for the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said the message was clear: “Please be very careful when you are out on the moors. Dispose of any glass bottles and cigarettes in a responsible manner and remember to use your barbecue at home rather than on the moors. If you see a wildfire please report it through the 999 service giving its location as precisely as possible. And we would also ask people to report anyone acting suspiciously.

“Until recently moorland fires were seen as a low priority but now the uplands are recognised as being as valuable as bricks and mortar. If the peat burns it can be very difficult to extinguish and these fast moving fires in off-road locations can be tiring for firefighting crews and resource intensive, which means that we may be stretched if fires occur elsewhere,” he added.

Established by the rural regeneration company for the South Pennines, Pennine Prospects, Fire Operations Group brings together representatives from the three fire services of the area, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire; the area’s water companies Yorkshire Water and United Utilities, as well as private estates; the six South Pennines local authorities and Natural England.

Mr Greenwood added: “Through the Fire Operations Group landowners can see how the fire services operate and how they can assist when dealing with a wildfire. They know the areas well and have their own specialist equipment, such as all-terrain vehicles, as well as additional human resources to tackle fires. We are firefighting together.”

And hopefully this will also benefit the wildlife at risk, including the twite, which is an endangered species on the national red list. Fires during their breeding season can have a devastating impact said Robin Gray, South Pennines Local Nature Partnership Development Manager.

“Twite is England’s most threatened song bird with only approximately 100 breeding pairs, the majority of which breed on moorland to the north of the M62,” Robin explained. “Many farmers in the Calderdale area have been working really hard to restore meadows and pasture where twite feed so that this enigmatic little finch isn’t lost from England, it would be very sad if moorland fires meant that this effort was wasted.”


Oldham Council recently invited residents to celebrate the completion of a natural wooden sculpture in Uppermill Gardens. The masterpiece, which was shaped in the form of a heron, was carved from the trunk of a recently felled cherry tree which has been in decline in recent years.

The sculpting took place during the Easter school holidays with the finishing touches added on Friday 13 April. To mark the occasion a variety of woodland craft stalls were put on alongside a range of family activities.

This project initially came to light following detailed discussions with the council’s Arbor and Countryside Service over the tree’s deteriorating condition. When a decision was made for the tree to be removed, it was seen as the perfect opportunity to create a lasting feature in the gardens with what remained of the trunk. With the trunk’s prominent position and proximity to the nearby river and local wildlife – of which there have been several sightings of a heron on

The sculpted Heron and the Saddleworth District Team (From right to left: Christine Wilson, Linda Cain, Lisa Macdonald, and Jane Soriente)

the riverbank – the coastal bird was chosen as the figure to mark this carving.

The heron has a variety of positive meanings and symbolisms in a number of cultures, including self-determination, self-reflection, inquisitiveness, curiosity and determination along with strength and patience. This suited the sculpture’s location as it would be based near Uppermill Library and alongside the existing peace pole situated in the gardens.



Oldham Council is reminding residents of, ‘Get Oldham Working’s Career and Apprenticeship Fair’, following two recent closure announcements.

Digital retail firm Shop Direct outlined plans yesterday to close its centres in Shaw and Chadderton, whilst Carpetright has also announced the closure of their store at Elk Mill Retail Park in Royton. Oldham Council is disappointed that workers are set to lose their jobs and will prioritise support to all those affected.

Opportunities across various employment sectors will be available at the upcoming Career and Apprenticeship Fair, with a wide range of apprenticeships, work experience, training courses and jobs on offer from various employers within the borough and beyond. Employers attending this event include Barclays, North West Ambulance Services and O2 along with Greater Manchester Police (GMP), Lloyds Bank, Web Applications, Greater Manchester Fire service and many more.

One of the great myths around apprenticeships is that they are exclusive to the younger generation – this is incorrect. Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16 and there is no upper age limit. If you have been affected by the recent closure news and you think OMBC can help, or if you’re job hunting for the first time, looking for a return to work, or searching for the next step in your career, this event is open to everyone and it’s free to attend – just turn up on the day.

Working in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, the National Careers Service, and Ingeus, the fair runs from 9am-2pm on Wednesday 18 April at Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre, Greaves Street, OL1 1AL. Staff from our GOW team and other partners will be available to advise you about careers, apprenticeships and access to training. There will also be plenty of space for you to complete any applications that you pick up, with additional support on hand in case you get stuck with any questions. Don’t worry if you have your little ones, there will be story time sessions in the library at 10am, 11am and 12 noon, so there’s no excuse to miss out.

Helen Lockwood, Executive Director for Economy, Skills and Neighbourhoods, said: “We were disappointed to hear the news of these planned closures and I’m sure this is really difficult for the staff and their families affected. Our Get Oldham Working team are ready to offer our help and support to staff, and with our Career and Apprenticeship Fair coming up next week – I’d urge anyone to attend if you think we can offer support. These events have proved to be a great success in securing residents with employment in the past and they also open up new avenues of opportunity.”

Make sure you follow the Get Oldham Working team via social media in the build-up to the Career and Apprenticeship Fair event for all of the latest updates. Facebook: @GetOldhamWorking / Twitter: @EmployOldham

If you cannot attend on the day it’s now even easier to contact the GOW team. They are located on the first floor of Metropolitan Place, Hobson Street, Oldham, OL1 1TT – across the road from the Job Centre Plus – and operate an ‘open door’ policy.

This means residents of working age can go along – without an appointment – and speak to a careers advisor, weekdays 9am until 4pm.

Contact the GOW team via their website www.oldham.gov.uk/gow, by email employability@oldham.gov.uk or by telephone 0161 770 4674.

Blocked culvert responsible for floods in Diggle

After a night of flooding along Sam Road and Huddersfield Road, the blocked culvert on Harrop Court Road which was responsible for the deluge has now been cleared.

Some ground floor flats opposite The Gate public house and some low lying properties were flooded.

Special thanks go to the local residents, the police and Oldham Council workers who helped last night and this morning to clean up and remove debris.

To report drainage problems in the area or for information on flooding visit: