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Oldham Council have been snowed under with entries for their ‘Name a Gritter’ competition and now are ready to reveal the winners.

Recently they asked school children from across the borough to show ‘true grit’ and come up with fitting names for the seven new additions to their gritting fleet.

After a ‘snow’ start the number of entries snowballed by the day and they eventually ended up with dozens to choose from including Super Salty, Salty Gritty, Gritinho and Bear Gritter.

The ‘magnificent seven’s’ names – including a few famous ones – can now be revealed for the first time.

The winning names, along with the young people who came up with them, are: Winston Chur-chill (Evie and Alice Hobson); Brad Grit (Heidi Malinowski); Gritiana Grande (Eryn Middleton); Snowbee One Kenobi (Frederic Oldham); Nick Gritshaw (Sam Caunce); Leonardo de-ice-io (Nicole Delaney) and Basil Salty (Adam Saville).

The gritters have now been branded with the winning names on the front of the cabs and as soon as the cold weather starts residents will be able to look out for the vehicles as they travel around the borough spreading grit and salt.

They will now join Nicole Saltslinger – a favourite with residents and the ‘gritterarati’ – helping to keep Oldham’s roads free of ice and snow.

Councillor Fida Hussain, Cabinet Member for Environment Services, said: “We’d like to thank these seven youngsters for coming up with such great names.

“We’re delighted with how well the competition took off and it’s been really well received.  As in the past it was intended as a bit of fun and it has really captured the imagination of our young people – including every member of one school class entering.

“From our opening tweet and Facebook post more than 45,000 people engaged with us in one way or another.

“Here in Oldham we’re usually hit quite hard when the snow and ice begins but we have an excellent team who work tirelessly to keep the roads clear and the borough moving.

“Our gritters play a vital role in that so we can have a bit of fun running competitions like this whilst teaching young people about road safety.”

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

The 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.


Plan ahead to avoid any unexpected travel spooks this weekend

Commuters are being advised to plan their journeys to avoid any scares ahead of a busy weekend of sporting and spooky events taking place as Greater Manchester celebrates Halloween.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has been working hard to help those travelling into the city centre and areas of Trafford to make their journeys as easy and as stress free as possible.

A travel advice page is available to help commuters with their travel plans.

As well as Manchester United hosting Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford, large crowds are expected for Halloweekend, taking place across the city. A Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest event takes place at the Etihad on Saturday and heavy metal legends Metallica play the Manchester Arena on Saturday evening.

The size and locations of the events mean that public transport and the road network in the region will be busier than normal.

There are also some changes to Metrolink services on both days, affecting the Bury, Rochdale and Manchester Airport lines.

There will also be no direct trains running from Manchester Piccadilly to Leeds over the course of the weekend due to Network Rail improvement works.

TfGM’s Transport and Event Planning Lead, John Fryer, said: “We want everyone coming in to the region for these events to have a fantastic time. We have the skills, expertise and experience to manage these large scale events and have a thorough and detailed plan.

“However, we are expecting large numbers of customers to travel and our advice is to plan ahead, think about your travel options and allow extra time for journeys.

“Whether you’re flying in on the Witch Way or travelling in the midnight hour, there’s nothing scary about travelling this weekend and our plans mean there’ll be no gremlins across the network.”

For information on public transport across Greater Manchester visit, call 0161 244 1000 (7am-8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am-8pm at weekends and bank holidays) or follow @OfficialTfGM on Twitter.

New Sunday Bus service for Saddleworth

In September a new Sunday bus service was introduced to Saddleworth – the 355. This new service replaces the Sunday 353/354 service. The 354 bus only ran from Ashton to Uppermill on Sundays meaning that residents of Dobcross, Delph and Denshaw were not able to use that service on Sundays.

The 355 provides a direct link running from Denshaw through to Ashton. Running every two hours, the bus connects Denshaw, Dobcross and Delph. These villages previously had no Sunday service to Ashton and Denshaw had no Sunday service at all that connected with other parts of Saddleworth.

This service is part of the work Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) are doing following the Saddleworth Transport Survey carried out last year. Other projects are currently being worked on that may be introduced in the future.

The 355 is designed to provide a bus service and bus links that are not currently served, allowing direct journeys to people in Denshaw who otherwise would not have a direct bus to Ashton or any bus to Saddleworth.  Furthermore it provides another option to people wanting to go to and from Delph and Dobcross on Sundays.

The 353 and 354 are still running on Monday – Saturdays and the 355 provides a Sunday service that covers all the areas covered previously on Sundays as well as Denshaw.


Oldham Council’s ‘Big Bang’ bonfire celebrations are returning for the sixth year and the free event planned to be the biggest and best yet.

Oldham Edge will again host the family-friendly event which this time promises a ‘Feast of Fire’ to light up the skies, above Oldham, on Thursday, November 2.

This year’s firework display is organised by ‘Fantastic Fireworks’, double winners of the British Fireworks Championship. They will be taking centre stage with a pulse-racing, choreographed display.

Headlining the event is Flame Oz, the UK’s premier fire act which has performed in more than 40 countries. They will be performing a spectacular ‘glow show’ display followed by a high energy fire dance and juggling extravaganza.

New to this year’s Big Bang are Raijin Storm whose ancient Japanese guardians will be drumming up thundering rhythms to delight and entrance audiences of all ages in a dynamic and interactive display.

Elliot Eastwick, popular local breakfast show DJ from our event partners Revolution 96.2, will guide the crowds through proceedings.

The Oldham Edge site will open from 5pm, starting with a funfair and food stalls, with the main event at 6pm.

Oldham Council is continuing the tradition of giving one lucky child the chance to push the button and launch a fireworks display that will be visible from every corner of our borough from around 7pm.

Councillor Jean Stretton, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “This is the sixth year that we’ve held the Big Bang in Oldham and once again we’ve lined up another stunning array of entertainment. The event is absolutely free, fun and safe for families and we can’t think of a better way to mark Bonfire Night. Don’t just turn up for the fireworks though – you can get on site from 5pm onwards to enjoy the fairground and food stalls, plus an amazing stage show of fire and light.”

To enter your child in our free prize draw to start the firework display, simply visit The Big Bang webpage at

All town centre car parks owned by Oldham Council will be free of charge from 3pm on the day.

The event – the local authority’s largest annual celebration – aims to discourage smaller groups of people from holding unsupervised bonfires which can put extreme pressure on emergency services. Plans are shared with Greater Manchester Police and the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to help maximise public safety.

Some items – especially alcohol, sparklers and fireworks – are not permitted on site and will be confiscated. Children under 16 years old must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Local weather will be closely monitored in the run-up to the event. If conditions are thought to pose any threat to public safety then some aspects could be cancelled.


It’s the end of an era in Oldham….After years of service keeping Oldham’s roads free of ice and snow gritters Freddie Salted; Grittersaurus; Goliath; Walter the Salter; Gritterbug; Gritney Spears; Gritanator and Thor have retired to the big depot in the sky.

In the course of their duties it is estimated that the incredible eight clocked up more than 1.2 million miles, more than five times the distance from the earth to the moon, keeping Oldham’s roads snow free. Roads cleared have including some of the highest in the region. In that time they have put down more than 20,000 tonnes of salt which is around the same weight as 5,000 Asian elephants.

Oldham are keeping the newest member of their fleet, Nicole Saltslinger, who is a favourite with residents and was named by children in a competition last year.

To ensure she doesn’t feel too alone the gritter will be joined this year by seven new gritters and Oldham Council are asking, once again, for young people to ‘prove their salt’ and come up with a name for each of them.

If you would like to take part in naming the gritters just visit and leave your suggestions along with your details. You can send in one name or as many as you want, Oldham is hoping for an avalanche of entries.

Once the winning entries have been chosen the gritters will be branded with their new names. Winners will be  invited to be photographed alongside the machine they have named.

The competition is open to all school age children aged 16 and under, who either live in Oldham or attend a school in the borough. The competition’s closing date for entries is noon on Sunday, October 22.

Councillor Fida Hussain, Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “Over the years our fleet of gritters have provided a great service to the people of Oldham. But due to wear and tear the time has come to replace them so they, and their drivers, can continue to play a vital role in helping to keep the borough moving during cold spells.

“Every time we’ve run a similar competition it has been well received by members of the public. Last year from 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. We even took the silly suggestions with a pinch of salt. Although this has all been a bit of fun it has also helped teach our young people about road safety and how we keep our roads safe in cold weather.”

To keep residents fully informed of any developments on Oldham’s roads, the Oldham Council website – will be updated continually and feature the latest news on school closures, gritting routes, locations of grit bins and grit sales.

The 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 Council’s account @oldhamcouncil and updates will appear via the local media.


Oldham Council has announced a full schedule of dates and venues for the public consultation on its plans for a new look town centre.

An ambitious regeneration masterplan across five strategic sites was recently unveiled at a launch event in the Egyptian Room at the Old Town Hall and was seen by hundreds of people. The plans centre on significant areas of publicly-owned land where many sites are under-utilised or have buildings coming to the end of their economic life.

Totalling around 21 acres in size, these include Tommyfield Market, the Civic Centre, Oldham Police Station, the former Oldham Sports Centre and Oldham Magistrates’ Court, and the current Oldham Coliseum Theatre. The masterplan seeks to change Oldham town centre to match our aspirations for it to be an even more vibrant place with high-quality attractions, an excellent cultural and shopping offer and a night-time economy making it stand out as a destination in Greater Manchester and beyond.

The benefits will be the building of new homes, 55,000 square metres of new/refurbished employment space and economic activity worth an extra £50million each year to Oldham’s economy.

Residents, businesses and partners are all invited to attend any of the ‘drop in’ sessions announced today and view the proposals in a mini exhibition, submit comments and ask questions.

Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, said: “This is our biggest-ever forward planning exercise for Oldham town centre and it’s all about making sure that it is a place that has a clear plan for the future. Our consultation launch event at the Egyptian Room was very well attended and produced valuable feedback.

“It’s also important we take these plans around the borough – giving as many audiences as possible the chance to see them, have their say and help us to get this right. That’s why we’re trying to ensure there are consultation opportunities in every district and convenient places for the public to access. Every one of us has a stake in the future of Oldham town centre so we are asking all residents, partners, businesses and visitors alike to do your bit and help us to shape these plans.”

The schedule of consultation dates* can be found on the Oldham Council website at – and more will be added soon. Residents can also visit this address to have their say about the plans online.

Wed 11
Tommyfield Market
Thu 12
Staff drop-in session at Oldham Civic Centre
Wed 18
Chadderton Market
Tue 24
10am – 1pm
Crompton Library
Thu 26
10am – 12noon
Shaw Market
Wed 1
Tommyfield Market
Thu 2
1.30 – 3pm
Royton Market
Thursday 2
1.30 – 4pm
Royton Town Hall
Tue 7
Tesco – Featherstall Road, Westwood
Wed 8 Oldham Civic Centre*
*Drop-in session for residents and councillors from 4pm prior to Full Council meeting at 6pm
Fri 10
11.30am – 1.30pm
Egyptian Room, Old Town Hall, Parliament Square
Wed 15
Failsworth Town Hall
Fri 24
11am – 1pm
Chadderton Library and Wellbeing Centre
Thu 30
Delph Library
Sat 2
11am – 2pm
Brass Monkeys event – Oldham town centre*
* Consultation in Egyptian Room, Old Town Hall, Parliament Square
Wed 6
Uppermill Library
Thu 7
Staff drop-in session at the Civic Centre
Mon 11
Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre
Tue 12
10am – 12noon
Greenfield Library
Wed 13
Lees Library

Mayor refocuses planning debate on town centres

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is refocusing the planning debate on town centres and infrastructure led development in response to public concerns expressed in the first consultation on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.

The first step in the next stage of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) has been taken as all responses to the first round of public consultation are published.

More than 27,000 people responded to the initial consultation on the draft GMSF.  Responses included around 17,000 letters and 18 separate petitions, as well as thousands of comments made through the GMSF consultation portal.

All responses are now available to view on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) website at

Andy Burnham said: “We had a huge public response to the first round of consultation on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and we have listened carefully to what people have told us.  The plan does need radical change and we will consult every step of the way as we develop the next draft that responds to those concerns.  There will still be difficult decisions to be made but we will take those decisions in an open, transparent and consultative way.

“I want the new plan to refocus the debate on the transformational development opportunities for our towns, and in the coming weeks I will set out details of a new town centre challenge. Each borough will have the opportunity to nominate a town with regeneration potential. Our aim will be to kickstart the regeneration effort so we can breathe new life into our smaller towns.”

Both positive and negative issues were raised during the initial consultation. These included:

Concerns about the amount of greenbelt land allocated for development. This was the single biggest issue which was raised during the consultation process.

Others recognised the need for new housing of all types and welcomed the ambition in the plan to provide much-needed housing

Concerns around effects on the environment and air quality

The potential for job creation which the GMSF highlights was welcomed.

The need to link developments to infrastructure improvements

The types of housing and jobs being created.

The redrafted spatial framework will aim to make the most of Greater Manchester’s brownfield sites and reduce the impact on greenbelt, making sure that we capitalise on our existing town centres and transport links. The plan will ensure the right mix of homes across the city region, including truly affordable housing to allow young people to find a home in communities where they want to live.

Paul Dennett, Greater Manchester Combined Authority Lead for Planning and Housing and Homelessness said:  “The Spatial Framework is our plan to provide the land for jobs and new homes that will help make Greater Manchester a global city we can be proud of and is a huge part of securing the future success of Greater Manchester.

“To do justice to the tens of thousands of responses we received as part of the initial consultation, and to demonstrate continued trust and transparency in the process, Greater Manchester Leaders agreed a timetable last month with a series of steps leading up to the publication of the revised plan in June 2018. Publishing all of the consultation responses is the first step in this process.”

The next step in the GMSF process will come later in the year when the GMCA will publish data and associated sources of information such as the population and household projections produced by the Office of National Statistics, the new national methodology for calculating housing need, reviewed economic growth forecasts, transport studies and information on brownfield land.

Paul added: “We will, of course, continue to listen to and engage with the public as the new draft of the plan is developed, as well as keeping people updated on progress. This includes meeting with interested groups in the coming months. We recognise that to make our vision a reality, the process must be shaped and informed by local people”

The second draft of the plan will then be developed in the new year, with a publication date of June 2018. Following publication of the plan, there will be a 12-week public consultation period.

The GMSF consultation portal has been improved following feedback from respondents. We are currently reviewing our systems to make them more user-friendly ahead of the consultation that will take place from June next year.


W.H. Shaw Pallet Works site

It has just been announced by Oldham Council that four planning applications related to the proposed new Saddleworth School are ‘going live’ for public consultation and comments from today, Wednesday September 27th, at

Oldham Council has received a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) submitted by Interserve – the construction partner selected by Government on this project.

The new EIA, published today, relates to four planning applications that were subject to a Judicial Review last year.

These have now been re-submitted and are open for public comments for the next 16 weeks until Wednesday, January 17, 2018.

The planning applications are for:

A) Building the new Saddleworth School on the WH Shaw Pallets site in Diggle;

B) Demolishing the existing buildings on the WH Shaw site, excluding the listed building;

C) Demolishing the link bridge attached to the Grade II listed building on the WH Shaw site;

D) Providing a parental drop off area plus residential car parking as part of the wider highways scheme in Diggle.

Following consultation it is anticipated these four applications will be considered by members of the Planning Committee in early 2018.

All relevant paperwork can be viewed or downloaded from the planning section on the Oldham Council website at


Women picking tea on an estate near Srimangal, the town at the centre of Sylhet’s large tea industry.
Photo by Tim Smith.
Part of the exhibition River of Tea: From Bengal to Britain.

A new exhibition is coming to Oldham, telling the untold story of how our love for a cup of tea has helped shape our towns and cities today.

Gallery Oldham’s latest exhibition opens on 16 September. River Of Tea – From Bengal To Britain is an exhibition of photographs by Tim Smith.

Tea enjoys a special place in British culture and the industry has played a key role in our history. Behind Britain’s cup of choice is a fascinating story that is rarely told; how the early tea trade sparked a migration that has helped to shape our towns and cities.

Tim Smith is a photographer based in Bradford and for over 35 years he has worked with a range of communities to explore issues of migration and identity.

For this new exhibition he has worked with the Bangladeshi community in Oldham and other British towns to explore the story of how the tea trade built early links between Britain, India and Bangladesh.

Over 500,000 British-Bangladeshis now live in Britain. Over 90 per cent are of Sylheti origin, from a region in Bengal that was once part of Assam Province in British India. Sylhet now lies in northern Bangladesh, just south of India’s Assam State.

The connections between Sylhet and Britain were forged when the British established tea plantations in Assam in the 1830s. They relied on river transport to get the tea from plantations to the port of Calcutta for export.

It was the Sylhetis, master sailors and boat builders, who first provided this transport. Sylheti sailors then joined ships bringing the tea to Britain, and some of these sailors then found work ashore in Britain. It was these pioneers who laid the foundations of the communities of today.

This exhibition explores the history of Sylhet and Bangladesh, focusing on the region’s

Women grading tea at the Tezpore and Gogra Tea Estate in Assam. The estate is owned by McLoed Russel, the world’s largest tea producing company. During the 1800s the British discovered Assamese people making a drink from a wild plant, which proved to be a variety of tea. India’s first tea estates were established in Assam, a region which has since become the world’s largest producer of tea.
Photo by Tim Smith.
Part of the exhibition River of Tea: From Bengal to Britain.

links with Britain and the impact these have had on people and places in Bangladesh.

Tim said: “Drinking tea is such an important part of British, Indian and Bangladeshi culture, yet the story of how tea arrived in Britain and the people it brought with it is rarely told.

“It was a real privilege for me to be able to retrace this journey. I photographed life along the rivers and in the tea estates of India and Bangladesh, in the bustling cities of Dhaka and Calcutta, and in Sylhet itself where I met loads of people from all over Britain.

“Although it was a personal journey it was one guided by many British Bangladeshis, who suggested where to go and who to meet. Everywhere I went I encountered extraordinary help and hospitality from local people.”

Cllr Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Co-operatives, said: “We all love a cup of tea but most of us probably never stop to think about where it comes from and what impact it has had on our country.

“This really is a fascinating story about how our love of tea helped shape the communities we have today.”

River of Tea opens on 16 September and runs until 6 January. After this launch in Oldham the show will tour to several other venues around the UK. The exhibition is supported with funding from Arts Council England.

Join Tim Smith for a talk in the exhibition on 20 September at 2pm.

Man smelling the quality of tea on the Monabarie Tea Estate in Assam. Owned by McLoed Russel this is the largest tea estate in Asia. During the 1800s the British discovered Assamese people making a drink from a wild plant, which proved to be a variety of tea. India’s first tea estates were established in Assam, a region which has since become the world’s largest producer of tea.
Photo by Tim Smith.
Part of the exhibition River of Tea: From Bengal to Britain.


More than 500 job-related opportunities will be on show to Oldham residents as the annual Get Oldham Working (GOW) Festival of Work event returns.

With a wide-range of jobs, apprenticeships and work experience openings on offer from various employers across Oldham and beyond, this is a great chance for residents to present their CVs to someone who could turn out to be their next boss.

So whether you are job hunting for the first time, looking for a return to work, or you are 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, no booking is required.

The day runs from 10am until 2pm on Thursday, September 21 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Oldham, OL1 1QJ, with parking available just outside the venue and Metrolink’s Oldham King Street stop only a two to three minute walk away.

Staff from the GOW team will be available on the day to advise you about jobs, careers and access to training across a wide range of sectors within the borough. There will also be plenty of space for you to complete any job applications that you pick up on the day, with additional support on hand in case you get stuck with any questions.

Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre and Yodel will be among the employers offering opportunities in retail and HGV driving respectively.

There will also be positions available in the care, construction, metalwork and security industries; office, customer service and administration roles and other driving and warehouse opportunities, among others.

This event comes as Oldham Council has recently been nominated for the ‘Supporting People into Employment Award’ as part of Greater Manchester’s 2017 Skills for Business Awards. Award winners will be announced on Thursday, November 30 at The Point, Emirates Old Trafford.

Councillor Shoab Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Employment and Skills, said: “Year after year, these events have proved to be an extraordinary success.

“With residents having gone on to work for employers such as Greater Manchester Police and First Manchester through our Festival of Work, I strongly encourage you to attend if you are looking for a new career opportunity.”

Mike Flanagan, Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre Manager, said: “Spindles Town Square is the heart of the retail community across Oldham and it is the place to be for shoppers across the borough and beyond.

“With a warm and welcoming environment around our centre, Spindles Town Square wouldn’t be what it is today without a fantastic team behind it that makes every shopper’s trip, one to remember.

“So if you want to be a part of our team, we look forward to seeing you at the upcoming Festival of Work.”

 Darren Walker, head of recruitment at Yodel, said: “Yodel is looking to recruit around 200 people in the Greater Manchester area over the next three months as we gear up for our busiest time of year ahead of Black Friday and Christmas. We look forward to participating at Get Oldham Working’s Festival of Work, and hope to see many local residents on the day to talk about working for Yodel.”

Make sure you follow the Get Oldham Working team via social media in the build-up to the Festival of Work event. Facebook: Get Oldham Working and Twitter: @EmployOldham

If you cannot attend on the day it’s now even easier to contact the GOW team, which has supported the creation of 6,000 employment opportunities in less than three years.

They are located on the first floor of Metropolitan Place, Hobson Street, Oldham, OL1 1TT – across the road from the Job Centre Plus.

The base is operating an ‘open door’ policy, which means residents of working age can go along – without an appointment – and speak to a careers advisor, weekdays 9am until 4pm.

Over the next five years GOW is looking to engage with 6,000 residents and fill 5,000 work-related opportunities, so if you are looking for work it is a good time to get in touch.

Contact the GOW team via their website, by email or by telephone 0161 770 4674.