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Spotlight On Oldham’s £350m Town Centre Regeneration Masterplan

Oldham town centre masterplan
Plans for the £350m regeneration of Oldham town centre are taking centre stage today (Wednesday, March 14) at the international property conference MIPIM, currently under way in Cannes.Oldham Council’s director of economy and skills Tom Stannard is announcing a masterplan which will move a step nearer when it is presented to the authority’s cabinet meeting on Monday, March 26.The council is seeking investment and investment partners in the upcoming procurement process.

The plans, which are expected to be approved by the cabinet, would signal the green light to procure a development partner to work on an ambitious 21-acre project to transform Oldham town centre over period of 10 to 15 years.

Since outline plans for the masterplan were announced last year, the authority has undertaken public consultation and worked closely with real estate company Cushman & Wakefield to finalise the scheme.

It centres on significant areas of publicly-owned land where many sites are under utilised or have buildings coming to the end of their economic life.

These include Tommyfield Market, the civic centre, police station, the former sports centre, magistrates’ court, and the current Oldham Coliseum theatre.

Plans are for 900 residential units; new retail/leisure, including a new market; a 120-bed hotel; a new civic hub; new and refurbished offices and a 600-space multi-storey car park.

The benefits of the masterplan will be the building of new homes, new/refurbished employment space and economic activity worth an estimated extra £50m each year to Oldham’s economy, as well as hundreds of new jobs.

Meanwhile market traders at Tommyfield are set to relocate to a temporary home.

At a recent market trader meeting the council agreed to look at how it could support traders over the next 18 months as part of a transition plan for the move into a temporary market while a new market hall is being constructed.

Previous masterplan proposals included the retention of the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Following further appraisal of the hall it was determined that it fell short of the required current event and conference venue standards.

The recommendation to cabinet seeks to demolish the hall. This will mean the relocation of the proposed hotel to the site of the former magistrates’ court, once the council have completed the purchase.

Combined new conference facilities will then be housed on the alternative site. The remainder of the existing civic centre site will be released for redevelopment.

Oldham Council leader Cllr Jean Stretton said: “This is an exciting time for Oldham and we’ve made great progress in refining our plans to bring the town centre masterplan to market.”

“We’re looking for a partner who shares our drive and ambition to make Oldham a great place to live, work and do business – and deliver on our vision for a town centre that can thrive round the clock as a place where residents want to live and spend their leisure time.

“Tommyfield Market is an important part of Oldham’s history and is important to many residents. As part of traders’ relocation during the building of the new market hall it is important we look to support them through this change before delivering a great new venue.

“Subject to cabinet approval, further details and information on the OJEU notice and process to secure a partner will be announced shortly afterwards. We’re looking forward to selecting and working alongside our developer partner on the next stage of this vital journey for Oldham.”

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