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Reporter: DAWN MARSDEN and ANDREW RUDKIN
Date online: 14 January 2013
£3.5m plan to boost town-centre tram route
HISTORICAL local figures, public art and urban gardens are the key features of a £3.5million plan to boost the new town-centre Metrolink route.
Councillors will discuss proposals for land around the line, due to open in 2014, at Monday’s Cabinet meeting.
Landscape Consultants were appointed by the council a year ago to develop a plan to enhance the Union Street corridor.
Plans could include erecting statues of famed Oldham industrialist John Platt and of Sir Winston Churchill, who started his political career in the borough.
Around £500,000 has been set aside to cover the installation of art and sculpture along the route to celebrate the borough’s past, present and future. Improvements will also be made to linking streets, Oldham War Memorial and the old town hall area.
Councillor Dave Hibbert, Cabinet member for housing, transport and regeneration, said: “These improvements are planned to create a lasting impression for anyone who visits Oldham.
The King Street stop, a main entry point to the town centre, will feature a raised plaza overlooking the tramline with a seating area adorned with plants and trees.
Union Street will be a pedestrian-only zone around the central stop and is predicted to be the main drop-off point for shoppers arriving by tram.
There are existing green areas at Gallery Oldham, Sainsbury’s and near George Street with more planned close to Waterloo Street and Bridge Street.
At Mumps, green areas will enhance one of the major gateways to the town centre. Trees and bulbs will be planted along Oldham Way to create a “boulevard” effect.
If plans are approved, Metrolink contractor MPT has confirmed it can incorporate the work without affecting its current schedule.
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