OLDHAM is one of five towns across Greater Manchester with a chance of receiving up to £25 million to reinvigorate its high streets.
Stockport, Wigan, Stretford and Farnworth have also it into the final 50 towns picked to go through to the second phase of the Future High Streets Fund.
The £625 million national project, funded by the government, is designed to make town centres ‘fit for the future’.
The cash could be used to improve transport and access into centres as well as converting shops into new homes, according to Westminster.
Prime Minister Theresa May said the fund recognised high streets lie at the ‘heart of local communities’.
The successful bids mean the five town halls will receive a grant of up to £150,000 to help develop a full business case.
In Oldham bosses hope to ‘improve, adapt and modernise’ the town centre and believe they have submitted a strong bid.
If successful the money will go towards the new masterplan, which aims to offer a mix of employment, homes, culture, leisure and heritage attractions, as well as building the night time economy.
Oldham Council leader Sean Fielding said they have to adapt if the town centre is to compete with the ease of shopping and banking online.
“Our town centre will always have shops but people now want a bit more – something to visit, see or do that they can’t just do with a click or a swipe on a screen,” he said.
“They want a modern and vibrant place that has something for different members of the community.
“Competition will be fierce because retail’s decline is affecting every high street but if we’re successful we can use this money for important steps like addressing empty shop units, making the environment more attractive and improving the infrastructure.”
Other towns who also bid for the cash – including Stalybridge and Hyde – have not been given an opportunity to transform their struggling towns.
The next phase of the Future High Streets Fund will involve submission of a detailed business case over the next six to nine months.