Oldham ‘close to agreeing M&S deal’

Oldham Council is in advanced talks with Marks & Spencer to open a 51,000 sq ft department store in the east of the town centre.

The local authority is considering its development options for the Prince's Gate project at Oldham Mumps, including joint venture, self-build or appointment of a developer.

Prince's Gate would contain nearly 100,000 sq ft further retail along with up to 800 residential units including apartments and 700 car parking spaces.

The proposal follows a masterplan produced for the council by BDP in 2013. Council leader, Cllr Jim McMahon, said talks had been ongoing with M&S since 2011 and "both parties are hoping to finalise an agreement shortly."

An M&S spokesman said: "It is our intention to open a clothing, home and food store in the Prince's Gate at Oldham Mumps development."

McMahon added: "Our eastern gateway is opening up as a major new opportunity and it's vital we grasp this chance to make the most of our new Metrolink connection, attract new high street names, offer quality town centre living options, and preserve the historic grade 2-listed NatWest bank building for modern use. Prince's Gate at Oldham Mumps will also complement our blossoming new Independent Quarter (between Yorkshire Street, Clegg Street and Union Street [East]) which will benefit as the natural link between this new development and the Old Town Hall ODEON cinema, Parliament Square and the Spindles/Town Square shopping centre.

"I hope people can now see, as with the action we're taking to provide a town centre cinema and better sporting and heritage facilities, that we're definitely 'on with the job'."

Residential units could be provided on the former Mumps station and rail line owned by Transport for Greater Manchester plus other plots in the area. The one-time NatWest bank building would also be refurbished for apartments, plus café/bars and leisure. The focal point of Prince's Gate at Oldham Mumps would be a glazed retail development anchored by M&S. This will have a natural wave form roof, plus around 200 underground parking spaces, and a further 66,000 sq ft of retail space available.

The retail development will be built on the current park-and-ride site and the council has already agreed a land swap with TfGM for a replacement facility. This is proposed to be located on the opposite side of the road on land between Beaver Street and Wallshaw Street. This would have the same car parking capacity.

Another new retail unit will also be provided on the RSPCA/Roscoe Mill site to the west of Prince Street where landowner negotiations and talks with a major supermarket tenant are ongoing. Above this 18,000 sq ft store there would be around 50 apartment units set across three storeys.

Cabinet approved the Prince's Gate masterplan last night. The next steps will be the submission of planning applications for the replacement Park and Ride facility, and the overall scheme.

A future Cabinet report will set out all the delivery options for this development with a full financial analysis.

Amion Consulting advised the council on the economic case for the development.

Work could begin on site next year for a 2017 opening.

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