OLDHAM Council has bought the Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre, safeguarding an important town centre building and paving the way for a new Tommyfield Market, homes and businesses.
The purchase will be a catalyst for delivering Oldham’s Creating a Better Place strategy, which supports economic recovery and embeds regeneration at the heart of the plans.
This includes providing a sustainable future for Tommyfield Market with exciting plans to relocate the market to a more prominent location as part of the refurbished shopping centre.
The council will liaise closely with indoor and outdoor market traders as the scheme progresses to ensure they can help shape the new venue.
Cllr Sean Fielding, Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills, said: “The Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre is a landmark of Oldham town centre, and acquiring it is a fantastic opportunity to kickstart transformational change and provide a catalyst for post-Covid recovery.
“Creating a Better Place is about making Oldham an even better place to live, work and do business.
“The council has bought this building as part of a wider plan to lever in additional external monies to support the delivery of our regeneration plans, new developments and importantly new homes.
“We look forward to breathing new life into the shopping centre, the town centre and the borough as a whole.”
The investment and acquisition will release brownfield sites across the town centre, allowing Oldham Council to put these forward for future housing and employment development, to help protect open green spaces and reduce the green belt take in the Greater Manchester’s Plan for Homes, Jobs and the Environment (GMSF).
It will also deliver the council’s ambitious vision for the town centre, including building around 2,500 modern homes, creating 1,000 jobs and 100 apprenticeships.
Following relocation of the market, a brand-new linear park will be developed stretching from the existing Tommyfield Market site to the former Sports Centre site, with new homes to be built surrounding it.
The park will boost access to greenspace in the town centre to benefit both visitors and new town centre residents, who will also have access to public transport connections, shopping and leisure on their doorsteps.
Cllr Fielding added: “We have a bold vision for Oldham but the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the local economy.
“It has underlined that we need to do everything we can to safeguard the future of our town, build homes, protect and create jobs and enable businesses to thrive.”
The council has taken over ownership from previous owners following the satisfactory completion of extensive due diligence checks.
The purchase – part of the council’s capital programme – is self-financing as plans for the centre will help release operating efficiencies and budget savings from other land and property owned by the council.
It will be business as usual at Spindles Town Square initially, with the existing property management company continuing to run the centre in the immediate future.
Over the coming months Oldham Council will continue to work with its development and delivery advisors CBRE to progress redevelopment options ahead of a wider public consultation and engagement exercise.