The council’s refreshed vision for the town centre, including an increased focus on housing, is to move forward with the first major developments due to get under way later this year.
Key sites in Oldham have been earmarked for development for some time, including the Prince’s Gate site at Oldham Mumps, which was originally due to be home to a Marks & Spencer.
This is now due to be developed into a Lidl and a hotel, with Lidl delivering a 28,560 sq ft supermarket on the site. Work is due to get under way in the autumn, while a planning application for a residential scheme on the site is expected to follow.
A refreshed masterplan setting out different development areas is also now being drawn up by the council. This will feature a mix of residential, education, offices, retail, and green space, as well as an area dedicated to boosting the town centre’s night-time economy.
The council’s cabinet is expected to move forward a series of schemes in its 2019/20 year; these include a review of public service accommodation requirements, a potential new market offer, an event space, a hotel and conferencing centre, and a potential education development.
Part of the focus will be to develop more housing within the town centre, although the exact number of homes to be built is yet to be defined. According to the council’s housing strategy, this will be a mix of private-rented, affordable, and “attractive” housing to draw in more aspirational homeowners.
The council will also sign off the potential use of compulsory purchase order powers when it meets on 24 June. Most of the land within the town centre masterplan area is within council or public sector ownership, but some remains private; this will need to be purchased for certain sites to come forward.
Cllr Hannah Roberts, cabinet member for housing, said: “A lot has changed since the last housing strategy was agreed. Oldham has rising numbers of families who need a home that meets their needs or who have no home at all and Government’s changing priorities in funding new homes give us ever bigger challenges in meeting these needs.
“That’s why our strategy sets out new ways of working which will help us develop a broader housing offer and meet the increased delivery of new, comfortable and warm homes.
“Our proposed new strategy identifies our key priorities for the next few years and our vision for how neighbourhoods might look in 20 years. We want to try and make sure that every resident, as well as those looking to live here, can find a home in a place they like and at a price they can afford.”