Oldham outlines ‘ambitious’ town centre vision
Oldham Council is set to launch the search for a developer to take forward 21 acres of town centre redevelopment, should a masterplan proposing the residential, office and leisure rebuild of five sites be approved at a cabinet meeting next Monday.
The plan, created by Leach Rhodes Walker, identifies a number of publicly-owned plots that are seen as underused or no longer fit for purpose. These include Tommyfield Market, the Civic Centre, Oldham Police Station, the former Oldham Sports Centre and Oldham Magistrates Court, and the current Oldham Coliseum Theatre.
A priority proposal is to deliver a rebuild of the Tommyfield Market on its existing site, next to a new 600-capacity multi-storey car park, plus retail and leisure units, and public realm.
A new Civic Hub is proposed using land including the former Oldham Sports Centre, to consolidate several council agencies into one building, alongside commercial office space.
The current Civic Centre, Magistrates Court and Oldham Police Station sites could be the location for a refurbished Queen Elizabeth Hall with a new hotel, plus offices and homes.
Additional homes could go at the current Rock Street car park site and the surrounding area.
In total, the plan could deliver 600,000 sq ft of new and refurbished employment space.
Subject to sign-off at the cabinet meeting on Monday, the plan will be put out to potential development partners, with a deal to be agreed by summer next year.
Cllr Jean Stretton, leader of Oldham Council, said: “Many positive regeneration schemes are already improving our town centre, like the Old Town Hall, the Cultural Quarter with a new Coliseum Theatre, and the Independent Quarter, but we cannot make the mistake of standing still.
“The plan looks to improve connections in and between different sites so that footfall and movement works better. It also strives to increase town centre resident, visitor and user numbers to make it a place that thrives round the clock.
“We have the opportunity to do what other local authorities have done and look to share assets and cut costs with public sector partners to benefit everyone. We also have a fantastic opportunity to attract private sector development partners into a joint venture to deliver this scheme, or specific elements of it, and we’re confident this will be attractive to them. It is one of the biggest and most ambitious town centre schemes in Greater Manchester.
“Due to the amount of land that is publicly owned, there are relatively few issues around site assembly, and these plans can deliver a return on our investment back to the public purse.”