JDDK Architects is designing the visitors centre. Credit: via Oldham Council

Oldham lodges plans for 160-acre Northern Roots 

A swathe of land at Snipe Clough is to be transformed into what is billed as the largest urban farm and eco-park in the UK, under plans that will benefit from a slice of Oldham’s £25m Town Deal award. 

Oldham Council has lodged a planning application that will see a 66-acre chunk of the proposed Northern Roots close to Alexandra Park come forward. 

The plans feature: 

  • A 7,750 sq ft visitor centre with meeting pods and events space
  • An 8,700 sq ft learning centre
  • A 3,000 sq ft forestry depot
  • A 93,000 sq ft solar array
  • 66 acres of hard and soft landscaping across the site, including an amphitheatre performance space
  • A swimming pond. 

In addition, Oldham is seeking consent to upgrade two of the four existing football pitches within the site and relocate the other two. 

JDDK Architects is leading on the design of the built elements and Planit-IE is the landscape architect. 

Given that the site is designated as Green Belt, Oldham Council will have to prove exceptional circumstances in order to obtain planning consent for the project. 

Any work on the remaining 100 acres of the site will be subject to additional planning applications. 

The vision for Northern Roots is “to take an underutilised asset and develop it in such a way to enhance the biodiversity and ecological value of the site,” according to planning consultant Arup. 

It is hoped the scheme will also create opportunities to “address the economic and health and wellbeing challenges of the surrounding communities and the wider borough of Oldham”, Arup added. 

It is estimated that Northern Roots could attract 100,000 visitors a year by 2026. 

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This is building on green belt, part of a nature reserve in the valley. Shame on you, Oldham council

By Anonymous

I’d say this is actually enhancing the Green Belt.

By Anonymous

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