Newsletter, April 2021

A brief summary of what’s in our April 2021 newsletter…

A brief summary of what’s in our April 2021 newsletter… We celebrate one of Saddleworth’s heroes who worked through both World Wars to help combat the German naval threat. Also on an historical note, we bring you news of how we’re working to preserve the rich history of Saddleworth – from ancient milestones and gas lamps to red telephone boxes. Plus, we bring you updates on road safety initiatives and pushing for disabled access to Greenfield railway station.


SPC – face-to-face meetings back on the cards?

Despite the disruption of the last year, Saddleworth Parish Council continues to work on behalf of the local community, holding our meetings via Zoom rather than in person.

The regulations that allow local authorities to hold meetings remotely apply to local authority meetings that are required to be held, or held, before 7 May 2021. This means that, without any further intervention from the government, all local authorities including local councils must return to face-to-face meetings from 7 May.

Unless the government steps in to extend the remote meetings legislation, and we need to begin face-to-face meetings again, SPC will be following the Covid safety guidance to the letter to help to keep council members, administrative staff and others on our premises as safe as possible.

In the meantime, please keep visiting the Government’s website for advice on how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe in addition to the latest changes and updates to lockdown rules: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

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Blue plaque to commemorate local hero given the go-ahead

Born in 1890 in Uppermill, Albert Beaumont Wood OBE DSc (1890 – 1964), better known as A B Wood, was a British physicist, known for his pioneering work in the field of underwater acoustics and sonar and worked through both World Wars to help combat the German naval threat.
In 1951 he was awarded the Duddell Medal by the Institute of Physics and in 1961 the Pioneers of Underwater Acoustics Medal by the Acoustical Society of America. The A B Wood Medal is awarded by the Institute of Acoustics in his name.

A member of the public, Mr Roy Crozier, has requested that a blue plaque be erected to honour A B Wood and we will be working with Mr Crozier to enable this to take place. The project would be funded from the grant previously provided by the District Partnership.

You can find out more about Saddleworth’s local hero, A B Wood, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Beaumont_Wood

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Preserving the rich history of Saddleworth

Our villages have a rich history and we are privileged to have remnants and relics of that heritage, which are of significant value and importance, scattered across the Civil Parish of Saddleworth.

Wherever possible, we will work towards protecting and preserving the history and heritage of the Civil Parish of Saddleworth, by resolving to continue to maintain the red telephone boxes already under the management of the Parish Council, and looking at adopting the remaining ones within Saddleworth currently managed by BT.

We will also be seeking to ensure that the twenty-five 1894 milestones still in situ are kept in good long-term condition and we will make representations to the relevant authorities to ask for the repainting, where required, of our Parish’s remaining gas lamps.

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Recognising Saddleworth’s Covid heroes

It’s been a dreadful year, but some good things have come out of the pandemic. Here in Saddleworth we are so very proud of those heroes in the community who have carried out outstanding work during the pandemic.

Who are our Saddleworth Covid heroes? Generally they are people who’ve looked out for neighbours during the pandemic, doing the shopping and keeping a socially-distanced but friendly eye on the lonely, elderly or vulnerable.

We want Saddleworth’s Covid heroes to be officially recognised and have set up a scheme to award them with certificates. In an ideal world we’d hold a presentation to thank them personally but of course this isn’t possible at the moment. Certificates have been sent out in the post with a covering letter.

The pandemic isn’t over yet. So we would urge anyone who may live next door to someone who lives alone or is elderly or vulnerable to keep an eye on them, even if it’s just a phone call every few days to check how they’re getting along or an offer to pick up one or two items for them at the shops. A friendly voice at the end of the phone could be just what they need.

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More about the ‘Fatal Four’

Last month we brought you news about Oxfordshire Council’s ‘Fatal Four’ and how they’ve been working to make local roads safer by warning drivers that ‘it’s not worth the risk’ through eye-catching signage supported by simple measures drivers can take which could save lives – for example taking breaks on long journeys to avoid tiredness and ways to avoid being tempted to use a mobile phone while driving.

This comes as a result of studies showing that 90% of crashes on our roads are due to one – or a combination of – just four factors:

  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • Distraction
  • Speed
  • Drink and drugs

SPC has been discussing the possibility of setting up a similar scheme in Saddleworth. All signs need to be approved by the Highways Agency and it’s not possible to put up non-standard signs. However, all our local 20 mph road signs are now in place on the appropriate road and we will be looking into identifying specific road safety issues over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, Oxfordshire Council has set up a very comprehensive web page with facts and figures about the ‘Fatal Four’ which you can find here: http://www.365alive.co.uk/cms/content/its-not-worth-risk

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Pushing for Access at Greenfield Station

For some time, we’ve been highlighting the lack of disabled facilities at Greenfield Station, one of around one third of stations run by Northern Rail that are not yet fully accessible.

The government has promised to publish its “Rail Improvement Plan” in the very near future which should give more information on its plans. If, as expected there is to be no electrification between Stalybridge and Huddersfield in the near future, then that will be the time to once again really make a big push for full disabled access at Greenfield in a joint campaign with Mossley and Marsden.

We’ll bring you news of any developments.

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Celebrating an ancient meadow and woodland

The Incredible Edible Network was originally set up in Todmorden with the goal of transforming underused plots of land into free fruit and vegetable larders for the community. We now have our own branch – Incredible Edible Saddleworth – which has sought permission to plant fruit trees on a small section of the field between the canal, river, allotments and Kenworthy Gardens.

As this field is an ancient meadow that’s never been used for anything else and is already valuable for nature, serious thought needs to be given to its future. It could be used for a number of different purposes or a combination of all of the following:

  • Allowing part of the field to be used by Incredible Edible Saddleworth for fruit trees.
  • The allotments could be extended onto the field, thus serving the community.
  • Native British species tree planting to increase biodiversity and slow any floods.
  • Conserving some or all of the field as a ‘community nature reserve’.

Whatever decisions are made, it’s vital that we do so in a way which respects the diversity of woodland and scrub, with rough, nicely overgrown meadow that supports at least 9 species of Butterfly; Ringlet, Small White, Green-veined White, Gatekeeper, Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma and Painted Lady, with Large Skipper, Holly Blue & White-letter Hairstreak also seen,

There are also at least 5 types of Bumblebee and 30 species of Hoverfly, with many other diptera and Beetles in abundance – all important pollinators (good for allotment holders).

The wall next to the canal has the locally rare Broad-leaved Helleborine – a species of orchid not found anywhere else in the Oldham area and very rare in Greater Manchester.

In addition, work being done by Uppermill Community Action Network (UCAN) next to the viaduct and allotments includes pond creation, woodland management & habitat enrichment. This has received a grant from the Saddleworth Hydro Sustainability Fund.

Please watch this space for more information about the future of this incredible ancient field. Meanwhile you can find out more about Incredible Edible here: https://www.incredibleedible.org.uk/