Spindles jigsaw pieces fall into place
A demolition programme will start following celebrations for the Queen’s platinum jubilee, the council’s leader elect Cllr Amanda Chadderton said, while retailers are relocating to facilitate works.
The 450,000 sq ft shopping centre’s redevelopment is expected to take 18 months to complete, and will include the relocation of Tommyfield market to the TJ Hughes site, a 33,000 sq ft events space, council office space, co-working space and a 12,000 sq ft arts and heritage archive.
Preparation work is now under way and major works are due to start over the coming weeks. Hoardings are planned to go up around the former TJ Hughes store in Parliament Square in June.
Hoardings on the upper mall have already been installed ahead of work beginning on the co-working and office space.
The new split-level Tommyfield Market will include a food hall opening up onto Parliament Square and linking to the shopping mall. Some businesses, including Waterstone’s, Costa, Asiana Clinic and H&T Pawnbrokers, are relocating within the centre to facilitate the project.
Cllr Amanda Chadderton, leader elect at Oldham Council, said: “We’re really happy to be kicking off the centre’s transformation and I’m sure residents will also welcome this news.
“We’ve got a lot of exciting plans for Spindles which will give the place a new lease of life. Thank you to all the centre’s tenants for being so accommodating of our plans and for their continued commitment to Oldham town centre.
“Spindles and the car park will be open throughout the redevelopment and we’ll do our best to keep disruption to a minimum.”
Cllr Chadderon replaces Arooj Shah, who lost her seat in last week’s elections, as leader of Oldham.
Costa will have a new two-storey store fronting High Street when it moves to Unit 3, Town Square, formerly occupied by Topman, while Asiana Clinic has already moved to Town Square, previously the Thornton’s store.
H&T Pawnbrokers will take over the former Ernest Jones store at Unit 8, Town Square. Tommyfield Market will trade in its existing hall until it relocates to its new home next year.
A planning application for the centre’s transformation was submitted in March and is due to be decided next month. Approval to demolish TJ Hughes was granted in January.
Mike Flanagan, centre manager, said: “It’s great to see the future of the centre coming to fruition along with the tenant moves, demonstrating their loyalty to the centre and the town. We can then build on this momentum as we start the redevelopment works.”
Willmott Dixon has been chosen as the main contractor for the Spindles project. The council bought the centre for £9.5m in October 2020.