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Diggle Blues Festival 2014

Diggle Blues Festival 2014

Victor Brox at the 2013 Diggle Blues Festival (Photo: Stuart Coleman©2014)

The line-up for the Diggle Blues Festival 2014:

Thursday 5th June – Kent Duchaine, Hanging Gate, 8pm.
Friday 6th June – Sons of the Delta, Hanging Gate, 7pm.
Friday 6th June – Mudcats Blues Trio, Diggle Band Club, 8.30pm.
Saturday 7th June – Garron Frith, Diggle Hotel, 2pm.
Saturday 7th June – Backwater Blues Band, Kilngreen Hall, 3.30pm.
Saturday 7th June – Dani Wilde & Todd Sharpville, Diggle Band Club, 6pm.
Saturday 7th June – Mojo Rising, Hanging Gate, 8.30pm.
Sunday 8th – Angelo Palladino, Woolyknit Café, 12.30pm.
Sunday 8th June – Half Deaf Clatch, Hanging Gate, 2pm.
Sunday 8th June – Blue Swamp, Diggle Band Club, 4.30pm.
Sunday 8th June – John Otway, Kilngreen Hall, 7pm.

(Closing ceremony; sing song & Diggle National Anthem. 8pm).

Free entry to all venues.

To see photographs from last years line-up go to: http://www.stuartcolemanphotography.co.uk/client-area/diggle-blues-festival/

Giant projections to light up Oldham Gallery

oldham galleryOldham Council and Lets Go Global are inviting residents to help light up Oldham Gallery as part of the Big Digital Project.

The local authority’s Arts Development team and local artist Jonathan Lewis have been working with members of the public and with groups including Young Oldham Dance, Oldham’s Institute of Public Information, Oldham Theatre Workshop, Actors House, To Do and a Hoo-Ha, Peshkar Productions and The Rainy City Roller Girls. Together they have created thought provoking short films which, combined with recently digitised archival footage of Oldham from The North West Film Archive, will reveal how the town looked and felt in the 50s through to the modern day.

‘So This Is How It Feels to be Oldham’ will explore the borough’s sense of identity through an hour long performance featuring four projections outside the gallery running simultaneously, enabling the public to interact with unique large scale art. Oldham’s show takes place at 7.30pm on Friday, March 21.

Councillor Jean Stretton Cabinet Member for Co-operatives and Neighbourhoods, said: “I’m pleased so many residents from across the borough have got involved in this project and Gallery Oldham will provide a fitting backdrop for what should be a colourful and entertaining night.”

The Big Digital Project is a community-led project produced by Lets Go Global, working with artists Andy McKeown, Peter Walker and David Harper from externalGalleries. Communities across Greater Manchester have produced pieces of work that will be performed in the places they live. Using custom designed, open source software and multiple projectors, the Big Digital Project has been capturing unique stories, local pride and the strong, individual voices that bring to life the distinctive spirit of Greater Manchester

The initiative will culminate in a spectacular, large-scale lightshow in and around Manchester’s Albert Square on Saturday, March 29 at 7.30pm.

The Big Digital Project is supported by Greater Manchester Strategic Arts Fund, funded by AGMA and Arts Council England.

Saddleworth North Monthly Crime Figures: February 2014 update


Crime Dec Jan Feb
Burglary (Of homes) 1 0 6
Burglary Other (Shed, Garage, Business) 0 1 1
Theft from a Vehicle 5 0 4
Theft of a Motor Vehicle 0 1 3
Criminal Damage 4 2 1
Robbery 0 0 0

saddleworth police









Burglary Dwelling

Rivington Road , Springhead – Offenders used a garden rock to smash a patio door window to gain access to the property.

Heywood Fold Road – Offenders attempted to smash two windows with a brick but were unsuccessful.

Woodbrook Avenue , Springhead – Offenders entered the property via an insecure kitchen window and stole property.

Old Lane, Austerlands – Offenders gained access to the property via an insecure patio door and stole property. They were disturbed by the home owner and fled.

Dobcross New Road, Dobcross – Offenders forced the rear kitchen door and made an untidy search. Several items were stolen.

Delph Lane, Delph – Offenders attempted to enter the property via an insecure kitchen door. They were disturbed by the home owner and fled.

Burglary Other

Delph Lane, Delph – Offenders forced a garden shed lock and stole several items.

Vehicle crime – Theft from a motor vehicle and theft of a vehicle

Standedge Road, Diggle – Offenders smashed the window of an unattended vehicle. Nothing was stolen.

Oldham Road ,Dobcross – Offenders approached two insecure vehicles parked inside the grounds and removed items.

Ward Lane , Diggle – Offenders smashed the window of a vehicle and removed a handbag.

Ripponden Road, Denshaw – Offenders removed the front, rear offside and nearside doors, the rear windscreen and bonnet from a Land Rover Defender.

Oldham Road, Denshaw – Offenders stole a locked Land Rover Defender.

Clydesdale Rise, Diggle – Offenders stole a locked Land Rover Defender.

Rochdale Road , Denshaw – Offenders stole a locked vehicle. It was later recovered.

Vehicle Interference

Ripponden Road, Denshaw – Offenders gained access to the car park of a public house and cut the battery on a Land Rover Defender. They activated the alarm and fled.

Criminal Damage

Gloucester Drive , Diggle – Offenders damaged the window of a stationary unattended caravan.

PCSO Monica Seville says, “As you can tell from the figures, burglary of dwelling and vehicle crime has increased in Saddleworth North. If you own a Land Rover Defender and have a garage please consider using it especially overnight when most of the thefts are taking place. Can we also ask that if you witness any suspicious activity or persons in the area that you report them to the police as soon as possible.”

PCSO Monica Seville and PCSO Kath Crompton can be contacted at: oldhamborough@gmp.police.uk or on 0161 856 8825.

New school plans may add to flooding risk in Saddleworth

flooding risk in saddleworth

Flooding adjacent to the proposed sports fields in Diggle in 2012. (Photo: A. Hulme)

Following recent national flooding problems Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG) have raised concerns that the plans to relocate Saddleworth School to Diggle may add to the flooding risk in Saddleworth.  The proposals for the new school involve building two sports pitches in the green belt valley below the Pallet Works site, much of which is designated as a flood plane.  A recent (2010) strategic flood risk assessment conducted for the Diggle site1 warned that the valley suffered a “primary risk from surface water and the River Tame and a secondary risk from the Huddersfield Narrow Canal”.

Building Sports fields in the valley will involve levelling and raising the land next to Diggle Brook.  Published plans for the positioning of the sports fields show them encroaching into the flood plane and this seems inevitable due to the constrained nature of the site.  Culverting the river has been proposed by the school’s technical committee to make levelling easier and avoid the risk of the pitches flooding.  However, this would interfere with the flood plane and would almost certainly not be permitted.

Cllr. Mike Buckley of SDAG said, “The risk assessment carried out in 2010 indicated that the site is susceptible to flooding.  Measures such as those that have been proposed to safeguard the sports fields from inundation would inevitably interfere with the flood plane and increase the risk of flooding further down the Diggle and River Tame Valleys.  With climate change, environmental experts believe that extreme events of this kind will become more prevalent in the future and in the light the recent floods central government has warned against development on flood planes.  As recently as 2012 severe flooding took place in the valley and a large lake was formed on the proposed site (See attached photograph).

“OMBC and the Government’s Educational Funding Agency should review the present decision to locate the school’s sports facilities in this vulnerable location.”

For further information on flooding in Oldham see: Oldham Council Hybrid Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, Vol. 3, January 2010.





Oldham’s councillor Jim McMahon wins ‘Leader of the Year’ award

Jim McMahon, Leader of Oldham Council

Jim McMahon, Leader of Oldham Council

Councillor Jim McMahon, Leader of Oldham Council, has been honoured nationally for his outstanding leadership at the Councillor Achievement Awards.

Councillor McMahon was announced the winner of the ‘Leader of the Year’ title last night (Tuesday, February 25) at a local government gathering in London – which celebrated some of the best work done by councillors across the country. Hosted by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), the annual event championed the strong leadership and direction Councillor McMahon has brought to the borough, since he was elected to his post in 2011.

Councillor McMahon said: “It is an honour to be recognised and I am very surprised that people involved in Oldham have taken the trouble to make the nomination. As humbling as this award is, this is recognition for the outstanding co-operative and partnership work taking place in Oldham of which I am one part. Oldham is very much at a tipping point and it would all not be possible without the collective support and action from residents, local businesses, the voluntary and community sector, council staff and councillors.

“As all local authorities deal with cuts to their budgets, we are being proactive and fighting back. We’re investing into our borough with innovative and radical regeneration projects to deal with symbols of decline and to create jobs, for example the Old Town Hall project. The most important thing for me is that the people of the borough believe that Oldham can realise its full potential. I’ve tried to work hard to get regeneration moving again, to modernise the council and to make the most of the opportunities available to us, rather than be beaten by negativity. I respect that although we’ve started well there is a great deal still to do and I hope people judge me by results on the ground over the next five years.”

Councillor McMahon was chosen as the winner by a panel of judges made up of councillors and local government experts. He was praised for his strong leadership, which has helped bring a dramatic improvement in service delivery and driving a significant improvement in resident satisfaction rates. He has established the co-operative approach as the council’s clear vision. Last year, an independent and comprehensive review of the local authority from the Local Government Association hailed a ‘remarkable transformation’ that has seen it become ‘an ambitious and effective council’.

Norman Stoller CBE, Chair of the Stoller Charitable Trust and Freeman of the Borough, said about Councillor McMahon: “The people of Oldham are blessed with a Leader who stands head and shoulders above all others. At a time of great challenge Jim has demonstrated amazing vision, determination, great negotiation skills and an ability to gain the support, both of his council colleagues and the backing of those who live and work in Oldham.”

William Lees Jones, Managing Director of JW Lees Brewery, added: “Jim is an outstanding leader who has selflessly led Oldham through difficult times. He never makes excuses but tirelessly looks for better solutions to challenges, be they budgets, pot holes or residents’ problems. I feel confident that Oldham will continue to become a better place to live and a better place to do business because of Jim’s leadership.”

Workman run over by his own van in Denshaw

denshawPolice are appealing for any witnesses to a robbery where the victim was run over by his own van.

At around 2.40pm today, Monday, 24 February 2014, a 50-year-old man who works in road maintenance, was collecting several road signs on Ripponden Road, Denshaw. While he was putting the signs into the back of the van an offender sneaked into the cab and started to drive off. The victim jumped onto the Ford Transits bonnet, but was thrown from the vehicle, hitting the floor. As he lay prone on the floor, the back wheels of the Transit then ran over his right leg, shattering it in two places. He was taken to hospital where he is being treated for the double break. He remains in a stable condition.

Police now want to hear from anyone who has seen the white Ford Transit Gallaghers works van, YT62 AVL. Detective Constable Leigh Carnally, based at Oldham, said: “This workman just trying to do his job when he was the victim of the worst kind of opportunist. It sounds strange to say when he has such horrific injuries, but in a way he was fortunate not to be killed. Clearly the thief was so desperate to steal the van that he was determined to harm whoever got in his way. I now want to hear from anyone who has the stolen can or anyone who saw the incident if we haven’t yet spoken to you.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police ion 0161 856 6386 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

OMBC’s review of the Site Allocations Plan – deadline extended

Site Allocations Plan

Local councillors and members of the public examine the Site Allocations Plan

Oldham Council has extended the time that residents are able to submit their views about future developments in the borough as part of the Site Allocations Plan consultation.

The deadline to submit feedback has been extended by a week to Friday, 28 February 2014.

The borough’s Local Plan covers land allocations for residential uses, recreational purposes, employment or protection.

See Diggle News, 16/2/14 ‘Only five working days left to comment on site allocations!

For detailed information go to: http://oldham-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/oc/planning/

To submit your comments please email: spi@oldham.gov.uk  or write to the LDF Team, Level 3, Civic Centre, West Street, Oldham OL1 1UH. Be sure to clearly identify the site/s you are commenting on.

Important changes to your medical records – you may need to act now!

act-nowGP practices across England will soon be required to supply patients’ personal and confidential medical records, on a regular and continuous basis, to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

The data upload is due to commence in March 2014 and all households should receive a leaflet (‘Better information means better care’) through their letterbox about this in January.

Details from your medical record will be extracted from the practice in a form that can identify you, and will include your NHS number, date of birth, postcode, gender and ethnicity, together with your medical diagnoses (including cancer and mental health), their complications, referrals to specialists, your prescriptions, your family history, details of your vaccinations and screening tests, your blood test results, your body mass index, and your smoking/alcohol habits.

This programme is called care.data, and the information uploaded will be used for purposes other than your direct medical care (so-called “secondary uses”).

Medical staff treating you in GP surgeries, hospitals, A&E and out-of-hours centres will not use, or be able to use, this database. However, the uploaded data is likely to be made available to organisations outside of the NHS, such as universities and commercial organisations.

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, GP practices have no choice but to allow the HSCIC to extract this information.

Once the data has been extracted, the GP practice is no longer the data controller for that information, and cannot control or protect in any way how that information is used, shared or who has access to it.

Although GP practices cannot object to this information leaving the practice, individual patients and their families can instruct their practice to prohibit the transfer of their data, i.e. you have the right to opt-out.

If you do nothing, i.e. you do not opt out, then your medical information will be extracted and uploaded to the HSCIC.

Once uploaded, you will not be able to get this data deleted by the HSCIC. So if you want to opt out, you need to act now.

To opt out, simply fill in your details on the form to the right of this page, cut it out and post it or drop it in to your GP practice, marked for the attention of your GP. If you wish to opt out your children or other members of your family for whom you are responsible, you can add their details on the back of the form.

This is not the Summary Care Record. The two databases are very different. Opting out of one database does not mean that you have automatically opted out of the other.

For further information see: ‘Doctors raise fears over sharing NHS patient medical records, The Independent 19/2/14′.

Copy the following and drop it in to your doctor if you want to opt out. If  you are not sure what to do, the advice is to opt out.

Dear Doctor,

I am writing to give notice that I refuse consent for my identifiable information and the identifiable information of those for whom I am responsible [delete as appropriate] to be transferred from your practice systems for any purpose other than our medical care.

Please take whatever steps necessary to ensure my confidential personal information is not uploaded and record my dissent by whatever means possible.

This includes adding the ‘Dissent  from  secondary use of GP patient identifiable data’ code (Read v2: 9Nu0 or CVT3: XaZ89) to my record as well as the ‘Dissent from disclosure  of personal confidential data by Health and Social Care Information Centre’ code (Read v2: 9Nu4 or CTV3: XaaVL).

I am aware of the implications of this request, understand that it will not affect the care we receive and will notify you should I change my mind.

Signature:                                                                                                 Full name:                   Address:                  

Postcode:                                                                                               Date of birth:                                                                                          NHS number (if known):     

Further information about the care.data programme is available online www.care-data.info

Copies of this leaflet can be downloaded at http://optout.care-data.info


Letter to the editor: What is the Green Belt and why should it be defended?

By Dr. N. Cox

It has been repeatedly stated by members of OMBC that, contrary to the arguments of those who have opposed the relocation of the school, the proposed development adjacent to Huddersfield Road, will not be on Green Belt land.  In recent comments Amanda Chadderton, cabinet member for Education, Employment and Skills states:

I… want to make it clear again that, despite repeated and misleading claims to the contrary, there is no truth in the suggestion that we’re building a school on Green Belt land.

The Diggle site is designated for industrial use. Green Belt land would only be used in this scheme for sports facilities and ancillary buildings, which does not alter its current status at all.

(Quoted on Saddleworth News, 16 January 2014)

Just how ‘misleading’ are these claims though?  Ms Chadderton states that there is ‘no truth’ in the assertion that the school is to be built on the Green belt; but this depends on what is meant by ‘a school’ and what is meant by ‘building’.  No one has contested that the plans indicate that the main school buildings will be constructed on land to the front of the former Shaw’s Pallet Works site.  This land is not in the Green Belt, it is greenfield land and has been designated for some time as suitable for industrial use should the Shaw’s site expand to provide more opportunities for employment. There is an argument that this land should not be used for building, but this is a debate separate from that concerning the Green Belt.  However, as Ms Chadderton’s remarks acknowledge, in addition to the main buildings on this land, the current plan for the site proposes ‘ancillary buildings’ – most significantly a two-storey sports hall.  This building is sited on land which is in the Green Belt.  What is this, then, if it is not building part of the school on Green Belt land?  National planning regulations do allow for the construction of some buildings associated with recreational use on Green Belt land, but these are usually of the order of village cricket pavilions, grounds-man’s huts or sheds to store a mower.  Look carefully at the plans for the proposed new school and the scale of the sport’s hall envisaged is striking.  There is no doubt that this will be a large building, certainly dominating the view to the East of Huddersfield Road, from where it will entirely obscure the current prospect of Running Hill and Broadstones Moor.

It is therefore not the case that there will be no school buildings on Green Belt land if the proposed school is built.  However, we should also consider the ‘sports facilities’ mentioned by the Cabinet member.  Currently, the area to be taken for these is a collection of fields sloping steeply towards the Diggle Brook and acting, in places, as its flood-plain.  Diggle youths attempting to play football on this land in the mid-twentieth century, I’ve been told by a local, gave up because they sank into the ground and the ball ran repeatedly into the Brook.  The land will therefore have to be drained and levelled: bulldozed, to put it more bluntly.  The banks of the Brook will have to be prevented from flooding by artificially raising them, a procedure – incidentally – which will increase the flood-risk down-stream at Brownhill and in Uppermill.  These are significant engineering works which will utterly transform the topography and character of the valley.  OMBC has given an undertaking to Sport England that it will continue to provide an ‘astro pitch facility’ in Saddleworth, after it has given up the current school site in Uppermill to ‘A Local Developer’. One, at least, therefore, of the pitches shown on the plans will be an artificial surface.   No doubt pathways will need to be constructed to and from the ‘sporting facilities’ using concrete, asphalt or other hard surfaces.  If the sports pitches are to be used after school this will mean flood-lighting, which will light up the valley and transform its night-time atmosphere of relative remoteness.

If all of that were not enough, just before Christmas some residents at the upper end of Huddersfield Road received notice that OMBC intended to alleviate the inevitable problems to be generated by the huge increase in traffic into the village if the school were built.  Their proposal was to place double-yellow lines down both sides of the road and to provide parking, for residents who would be affected, at the rear of their properties in the fields that form part of the Green Belt.  The residents were informed that, for this generous provision, they would – of course – be required to make a financial contribution.  Astonishing as it sounds, residents were, then, being asked to collude in, in fact to help pay for, the conversion of part of the Green Belt into a car park.  Not surprisingly it’s my understanding that they the majority have refused to participate in this ill-considered scheme, but OMBC clearly had no qualms about building (that word again) a car park on Green Belt land.

The crass destruction of the contours of a valley which has not been significantly altered for centuries; the bull-dozing of flood-plain grazing marsh which is currently a nesting site for important upland wader species; the imposition of hard surfaces, astro turf, flood-lighting; the creation of a car park; the erection of a twelve-metre wire fence; not to mention, of course, the building of a school sport’s hall – all on the Green Belt.   It is these separate acts which together constitute a pre-meditated act of vandalism, which the Council would like us to overlook, that have angered those of us who have stated that not only will parts of the school be built on the Green Belt but, more than that, the measures proposed will violate the very basis on which the concept of Green Belt is founded.

Generally ascribed to the early-twentieth-century social reformer and town planner Ebenezer Howard, who developed the concept of the ‘garden city’, the green belt was envisaged as a means of preventing what many in late Victorian England saw as the erosion of the separation between urban and rural landscapes and the sprawl of cities into the countryside.  The very rationale for the creation of green belts, as enshrined in the first Green Belt Act of 1938, was to prevent the homogenisation of the English landscape, the gradual destruction of distinctive local variations between places.  The proposed development of the Green Belt at Diggle will not only destroy the unique, rural character of the Diggle Valley it will also erode the distinctive identity of Diggle as a village.  In place of the open, green space which currently acts as a border separating the village from neighbouring built-up areas there will be a huddle of unprepossessing buildings surrounded, where the Green Belt once was, with a suburban clutter of ‘ancillary buildings’, artificial surfaces, fences, flood-lighting and a car park.  Saddleworth may be part of Oldham Metropolitan Borough but that should not mean that its distinctiveness as a locality is lost and only by defending the Green Belt against suburbanisation can the individuality of its villages and their rural setting be secured.

Readers wishing to find out more about the Green Belt and efforts to protect it may find the joint Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and Natural England report Green Belts: A Greener Future of interest, a summary is available at:


The views and comments expressed in letters to the editor and in comments on posts do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the editor. Letters may be edited.

Only five working days left to comment on site allocations!

Greenfield and Greenbelt site at Shaw's Pallet Works, Diggle  (Photo: Paul Marsh)

SEA8: Greenfield and Greenbelt site at Shaw’s Pallet Works, Diggle (Photo: Paul Marsh)

OMBC Local Site Allocations

Have your say on how Saddleworth’s sites should be developed/protected. There are only five working days left for the public to comment on how sites should be used in the future

Currently Oldham Council are going through the process of updating the Local Plan for the borough. It is a document called the Site Allocations Development Plan and will allocate land for development or protection in the borough.

There is a consultation stage at the moment until 5.00pm on the 21st February 2014 requesting comments from Oldham residents. Also, there is a public meeting with the Joint sub committee of the Saddleworth and Lees District Partnership and Saddleworth Parish Council  on Tuesday 18th February from 6.00pm to 8.00pm in the Civic Hall Uppermill.

The consultation is looking at all sites in Oldham and Saddleworth and many of the existing sites are being reassessed for different uses. So if you want to comment on how Saddleworth’s land sites should be developed or protected, this is your chance. If you want to influence how Saddleworth will look in the future, get involved and have a say. 

At the last Diggle Community Association meeting, the five proposed sites up for reassessment in Diggle – Shaw’s Pallet Works, Wharf Mill, Ward Lane and Harrop Court Mill – were discussed and are included their details below.

The Save Diggle Action Goup, who are opposed to the building of a new Saddleworth Secondary School on a ‘Greenfield Site’ in Diggle, have created a standard letter which addresses the site  allocation earmarked for the new school. If you would like to comment using this or your own letter, be sure to include your name and address, and sign and date the letter.

Any comments need to be received by Oldham before 5.00pm on the 21st February 2014.

See Oldham Council’s website for all site allocations for Saddleworth and Lees and other Local Plan consultations.

If you wish to comment on sites in your area, you can do so by writing to the following address LDF Team, Level 3, Civic Centre, West Street, Oldham OL1 1UH.