Oldham Council has revealed plans to create a food hall within its redeveloped former civic headquarters, and is in discussions with potential operators.
The food hall is to be developed within the Egyptian Rooms at the grade two-listed Old Town Hall, which has already been transformed in a £37m project that saw a seven-screen Odeon cinema open in 2017, with other leisure occupiers including Nando’s and Molino Lounge.
The Egyptian Rooms will be the last part of the project to be fitted out, and have long been talked of as a key asset, which the council were keen to hold back for an appropriate use.
Formak plans have now been submitted for the food hall plan, for a pace that would feature six concessions and accommodate around 200 diners at a time using both indoor and outside space, with an al fresco dining area on Parliament Square.
Cllr Sean Fielding, council leader, said: “This would be an exciting new food and drink experience for Oldham and a great addition to the Old Town Hall and the fantastic businesses already based there and across the town centre.
“We’re committed to ensuring Oldham has a vibrant leisure and night-time economy and we are confident a market like this will be welcomed by residents and visitors.”
The council has submitted a bid to the Government’s Future High Street Fund to support the delivery of the food market. If successful, the funding will also support other regeneration projects across the town centre including public realm improvements and the creation of a digital start-up hub.
Cllr Fielding added: “Coronavirus has had a huge impact on Oldham – which is why it’s more important than ever to do everything we can to create investment, jobs and opportunities for people.
“We look forward to hearing the outcome of the Future High Street Fund which will enable us to deliver key regeneration projects to help our town build back better.”
If approved, work will begin on the Egyptian Rooms later this year with a planned opening of summer 2021. BDP is the architect for the project, as it was on the earlier Town Hall work.
Since Nick Johnson’s Market Operations led the renaissance of Altrincham’s leisure offer with the town’s market, food halls have become a key focus for councils keen to boost footfall, with others now operational including Macclesfield’s Picturedrome and Manchester’s Mackie Mayor, both owned by Market Operations; Stockport’s Produce Hall; and Baltic Market and Duke Street Market in Liverpool.