Willmott Dixon is main contractor on the project. Credit; Oldham Council

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.

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This will not do a thing for Oldham they have kicked the spine out of the town and l think every one has got used to going to a proper town like Bury!!!

By Nixon

I disagree Nixon.

I used to believe the narrative played by locals that the town centre is a horrific place to be….. despite not going into the centre for the past 15 years.

Now, I visit the centre 4 times a week now and although it doesn’t half the shops it should, its still a rather pleasant experience with some independent people putting their neck on the line to open up shop, Lucknow Junction in Tommyfield, Miljul Chai House down the road and even the classic Stocco (which was once Marios)

I’d rather go up and support my local than moan about how its not like it used to be and contribute nothing.

I applaud the behaviour of “Build it and they’ll come”

Too many locals taking pride in putting down the area and not being proud of what they have when they could be contributing to making the area better for everyone.

We’ve seen deprived areas come up with schemes like this and be a success but I don’t see the same enthusiasm for the Oldham area. I hope they prove the naysayers wrong.

By Josh

Completely agree Josh, things have to improve and vast empty shopping malls is not the way forward. Clever thinking of how to re-model and improve the shopping area by breaking down the large frontage to make it more welcoming and open is step one and introducing the market hall in to the centre is a good idea. This approach will work and will regenerate a once thriving area as opposed to how it is now, those rabbit runs through the shopping centre to small outlets is a thing from the 80’s / 90’s and doesn’t promote business’s. Brining commerce in to the centre will help footfall aswell, and considering it has swathes of parking facilities that are massively under used in the basement aswell. can only be a good thing.

By Meat Pie, sausage......

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