Saddleworth Parish Council was formed in 1974, and covers an area similar to the medieval township dating back to the Saxon period, giving the area a strong sense of local identity. It is one of the largest parish councils in the country, covering 29.3 square miles, and with a population of over 25,000.
Saddleworth, like many communities, faces many challenges today and in the future. These relate mostly to the pressure of development accompanied by rising land prices, the decline of a mixed local economy, the lack of affordable housing, and the expense of maintaining local services and infrastructure in a geographically large rural district.
However, these are balanced by Saddleworth's strengths: its largely prosperous, healthy, and well-educated population; its strong community spirit; its businesses and entrepreneurial spirit; and its beautiful countryside, recreational facilities, farming, tourism, biodiversity and heritage. The vibrancy of the community is shown by the large number of voluntary societies and organisations and community festivals such as the annual Whit Friday Brass Band Contest , and the Rush Cart Weekend.
The Council is made up of 20 councillors from five wards: Delph & Denshaw, Diggle & Dobcross, Greenfield, Springhead Higher, Springhead Lower, and Uppermill. It meets on the fourth Monday of the month at the Civic Hall in Uppermill. Meetings start at 7.30pm and are open to the public.
Saddleworth Parish Council runs several local facilities for the benefit of the community, including the Civic Hall, which is available for hire with discounts for local residents, the Cemetery, Uppermill allotments, Dawson's Field in Scouthead, and a Community Toilet Scheme.
It is a notary consultee on all planning applications which take place in Saddleworth, and its planning committee meets monthly to get residents' views and to provide local responses which are taken into consideration as part of Oldham Council's planning process. It provides a strong local voice to represent the people of Saddleworth.
It also has committees which address the most important issues for the people of Saddleworth - Environment; Strategic Planning; and Traffic and Transport, as well as ensure the smooth functioning of the Council - Assets; Communications; Finance; and Staffing.
It is also developing a Neighbourhood Plan for Saddleworth, which will provide a 20 year strategic view of how development across the Parish should be best managed to ensure it benefits the people and communities of Saddleworth.