The upper floors are to become offices. Credit: Aew Architects

Oldham to sign off Spindles redevelopment

June’s planning committee will be asked to rubberstamp the shopping centre’s overhaul, which will see office and archive space introduced along with a market hall.

Oldham Council bought the 450,000 sq ft site in 2020 for £9.5m, and took the decision to self-deliver the scheme in October 2021, with plans by Aew being revealed this March.

CBRE is Oldham’s planning advisor, with Willmott Dixon in place as main contractor for the scheme.

A significant element of the project is the reconfiguration of upper floors into 76,000 sq ft of office and co-working areas, including space for council staff relocating from the Civic Centre.

The second headline element is the creation of a 50,000 sq ft market hall adjacent to the Town Square shopping centre, replacing the TJ Hughes unit. Tommyfield Market units will relocate to this space, which will also include a foodhall.

A 33,000 sq ft event space and rooftop terrace will also be introduced, with trading hours and programmes aligned to the foodhall.

Part of the mall and car park will be reused as an archive space, accounting for a further 12,500 sq ft. This will store museum, archive and library collections available to the public, with a reading room taking up a former retail unit in Town Square. Sixty seven parking spaces will be given up.

In summing up the proposals, the planning officer said: “The social benefits include a major step forward in delivering on the Council’s key regeneration ambitions including those set out in ‘Creating a Better Place’ and the Oldham ‘Town Centre Investment Plan’ establishing a strong sense of place, enhancing the quality of the streetscape, public realm and the architectural fabric of the town centre.”

Vacancy rates at the Spindles currently sit at around 30%, highlighting why the borough council wishes to be proactive in reshaping its town centre. Once the Tommyfield units move to the new market hall, that space will be taken up by a linear park and some residential development.

Last month, the council said that demolition works on TJ Hughes will start following the Platinum Jubilee weekend. Deals to relocate several retailers to facilitate the reconfiguration within Spindles were also confirmed.

The committee meets on Wednesday 8 June.

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