Young people help co-design proposed centres at UK’s largest urban farm and country park in Oldham

YOUNG people from across Oldham have been helping to co-design Northern Roots’ proposed Visitor Centre and Learning Centre as part of ongoing community consultation.

Students from Oldham College and young people from Mahdlo Youth Zone met with the Northern Roots team and architect Alison Thornton-Sykes to talk about what they’d like to see and do in the proposed buildings.

Alison Thornton-Sykes (JDDK Architects) and young people looking at the designs

They shared ideas for how they’d like the buildings to look, the materials they could be constructed with, and how the buildings could be designed to be sustainable and use green technologies like solar power.

Cllr Abdul Jabbar, Cabinet Lead for Northern Roots, said: “We had some fantastic ideas and suggestions from the young people who took part in the events.

“They’re the future of our town and we will be taking their comments on board so that the final design reflects what they tell us they want.”

The Northern Roots project will transform the 160-acre site at Snipe Clough, near Alexandra Park, into a destination for leisure, enterprise and learning.

Northern Roots unveiled the initial masterplan for the site in August 2021, inviting residents to meet the project team, get involved and share ideas and feedback.

Alison Thornton-Sykes (JDDK Architects) and young people looking at the designs

Alison Thornton-Sykes, from JDDK Architects, said: “Northern Roots is at the heart of the community in Oldham so we want the community to be at the heart of the design.

“It’s been amazing to meet and work with these young people and hear their wonderful ideas first-hand. We look forward to bringing them to life.”

The initial masterplan proposal is the result of three years of ongoing community consultation and working with experts to develop an initial business model, enhance biodiversity and habitat on site, and explore the possibility of using green technologies, such as solar power.

Northern Roots site and Oldham town centre (May 20)

The Northern Roots project has consulted on a wide range of leisure and skills activities, inviting residents to share their suggestions for what they would like to see and experience at Northern Roots. This has resulted in proposals that include a brand new Learning Centre, Bike Hub facility and swimming pond.

At this stage in the consultation process, none of the proposals are fixed. Residents’ feedback is crucial and will help to shape the plans.

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