Oldham Council’s cabinet has approved the purchase of the Magistrates’ Court on West Street, a major step in assembling the key sites in its town centre masterplan.
The courts were closed permanently by HM Courts & Tribunal Service in 2016 and transferred to the then-Homes & Communities Agency. They will be demolished immediately.
In his report prepared for cabinet, head of regeneration Roger Frith noted that the council’s adviser Cushman & Wakefield said the market would be given “certainty” by the acquisition and demolition of the four-storey, eight-court complex.
The 21-acre masterplan by Leach Rhodes Walker pulls together public assets around the town centre that the councils deems underused or to be nearing the end of their useful lives – the plans went out for consultatio in autumn 2017.
Sites included within the masterplan include Tommyfield Market, the Civic Centre, Oldham Police Station, the former Oldham Sports Centre, Magistrates’ Court, and the current Oldham Coliseum Theatre. The theatre is to relocate to a new building on the Southgate Street car park site.
By developing homes and new employment space the council believes it can create economic activity worth an estimated extra £50m each year to Oldham’s economy.
Jean Stretton, Oldham Council leader, said: “The purchase of the Magistrates’ Court shows we are making great progress in our plans to transform the town centre.
“Oldham is already benefitting from several regeneration schemes like the Old Town Hall, the Cultural Quarter and new Coliseum Theatre, and the Independent Quarter.
“This masterplan is the next stage in ensuring a bright future for our residents and bringing our aspirations to fruition.”