Oldham Council has unveiled its designs for the 450,000 sq ft Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre, including a new market, flexible offices, event space, and heritage archive.
Chief among the plans is a new Tommyfield Market. The council is opting to both relocate and replace the existing market hall, which it said is no longer fit for purpose. The new Tommyfield Market would extend from Town Square through the old TJ Hughes space and into Parliament Square. The location would offer enhanced visibility and provide access to both the town hall and the shopping centre.
Those who enter by the shopping centre would encounter a retail market at first. If they opted to go downstairs, they would find a food court that would also link to Parliament Square. Inside the food court area would also be two flexible spaces that could host cooking demonstrations, small exhibitions and family activities.
Above the market hall would be a large split-level events venue. Oldham Council said that area would be available for private and public events, including conferences, weddings, festivals and more. The events venue would offer roof-top views of the borough and be able to be accessed at both street and mall levels. Because it would be located at the end of the building it could operate for longer hours than the rest of the shopping centre.
A new space on Town Square would showcase artefacts from Oldham’s arts and heritage services. The council’s proposals also call for a lower-level archive to be built within one of the multi-storey car park levels.
At Spindles, Oldham Council plans to condense the retail offer, making the downstairs area the main shopping hub and repurposing the upper levels. The downstairs area would let out into Town Square and towards Tommyfield Market. The upper floor areas would become a flexible workspace. Oldham Council would also be relocating staff offices to the upper floors of Spindles, in an effort to help the council vacate the Civic Centre and open that area up for new development.
These plans, designed by AEW Architects, will be discussed at Oldham Council’s cabinet meeting on 26 July. If the cabinet approves the proposals, a more detailed planning application to support them will be submitted later this year. Money for the projects comes, in part, from the £24.4m Oldham received from the Towns Fund.
The Spindles proposals are part of Oldham’s Creating a Better Place strategy to create more than 2,000 new homes in Oldham town centre, 100 apprenticeship opportunities and 1,000 new jobs. Creating a Better Place also aims to unlock £285m in investment for the town. The Creating a Better Place framework was approved in August 2020.
Oldham purchased Spindles from investor Kennedy Wilson in October 2020 in an effort to kick-start its regeneration efforts.