Oldham bidding for £25 million town centre boost

PLANS to secure £25 million to improve Oldham town centre have moved a step closer thanks to the Oldham Town Deal Board.

The board, made up of representatives from across the public and private sector, is working up the borough’s bid to the government’s Towns Fund.

Four ambitious projects have been earmarked to receive a proportion of funding, with residents invited to help develop the project business cases starting from autumn 2020.

The projects are:

  1. New flexible performance space: a new, sustainable 21st century venue to be developed in Oldham town centre, as part of the wider cultural quarter.
  2. Oldham town centre offices: the development of Grade A office space to attract private sector occupiers to Oldham instead of Manchester city centre.
  3. Oldham town centre district heat network: utilising energy from flooded coal mines to create an environmentally friendly power source.
  4. Northern Roots: to provide key infrastructure and anchor features such as a visitor centre for the project which is set to become the UK’s largest urban farm and eco-park.

Peter Holbrook CBE, Chair of the Oldham Town Deal Board and Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: “This funding will play an important role in supporting Oldham’s bold town centre regeneration plans.

“We have identified four exciting projects which we believe will help to transform Oldham for the better – but we want the community shape the process and welcome their thoughts on the projects we’ve put forward or any other ideas they might have.”

The Town Deal Board meets monthly – and has been meeting virtually during the coronavirus pandemic – to continue to develop Oldham’s investment bid to the Towns Fund.

The £3.6 billion government fund aims to help support regeneration projects in towns which have a proud industrial and economic heritage but have not always benefitted from economic growth in the same way as more prosperous areas.

Oldham is among the 101 towns selected to submit a bid, with up to £25 million available per place.

The local bid will focus on a designated area of Oldham town centre, up to and including Alexandra Park. It will be submitted in July.

Cllr Sean Fielding, Oldham Council leader and cabinet member for economy and enterprise, said: “The town centre is at the heart of our borough and the heart of our vision to create a better place and make Oldham the greenest borough in Greater Manchester.

“This ambition will be crucial in helping us to build back our local economy following the coronavirus pandemic and we look forward to submitting our bid.

“The funding will help bring some of these regeneration projects to life and level up investment and opportunity for our town.”

Local charity Action Together will help the Town Deal Board to work with the local community whilst developing the project business cases required by government. To submit comments in the meantime, email regeneration@oldham.gov.uk

For more information visit www.oldham.gov.uk/towndeal

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