Council's vow to renew and reshape the town centre as it receives £10.7m from Govt's Future High Streets Fund

Date published: 19 May 2021

Oldham Council has successfully bid for £10.7 million to boost the ongoing regeneration of Oldham town centre.

The council insists that the Future High Streets Fund award will support a number of exciting projects which are all set to transform Oldham for residents, visitors and workers and support our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

They include Accessible Oldham – a scheme to make travel easier, safer and more enjoyable around the town centre especially for pedestrians and cyclists.

Officials will create new public realm space on Henshaw Street incorporating trees, seating, cycle parking and street art. 

You can expect to see better connectivity between Oldham bus station and Oldham town centre as the council vows to pedestrianise the lower end of Lord Street and High Street and spruce up the area to make it cleaner and greener.

The Future High Streets Fund will also bring to life Oldham Council’s plans to launch a food hall in the Old Town Hall’s Egyptian Room, featuring six casual dining-style food and drink concessions and a central dining space.

Catering for around 200 people, it will offer both indoor and outdoor seating including a large covered al-fresco dining area on Parliament Square. 

And finally, the council vow to inject funding into the creation of a new business hub for digital start-ups in the town centre - boosting opportunities for entrepreneurs, creating jobs and paving the way for a future-focussed Oldham.

Council Leader, Cllr Arooj Shah, said: “Oldham town centre is undergoing a really exciting transformation as part of our Creating a Better Place programme and there’s a lot to look forward to.

“We’re delighted to have secured this money for our borough which will help us to deliver many things our residents tell us they want to see – better high streets, clean and green streets, heritage buildings brought back into use and opportunities for new work and new business.

“Work will start over the summer and we look forward to seeing each project feed into our wider vision and aspirations for Oldham to be a thriving borough where everyone can get on in life.”

The Future High Streets Fund aims to renew and reshape town centres and high streets in a way that drives growth, improves experience and ensures future sustainability.

To further drive regeneration, Oldham Council is also bidding for £41 million as part of the Government’s Towns Fund to support five regeneration projects in the town centre - Northern Roots, a minewater heat network, a new performance space, the relocation of Tommyfield Market into Spindles and the development of flexible workspace within Spindles.

The Accessible Oldham proposals also go a step further, and will soon bring the first CYCLOPS junction to the borough, at Egerton Street/St Mary’s Way - a key route into the town centre.

The unique design separates people travelling on foot and by bike from motor traffic, reducing the possibility of collisions or conflict. 

The £2.5 million junction is being funded through The Mayor’s Challenge Fund (MCF), which aims to kickstart the delivery of Chris Boardman’s vision for Greater Manchester to become a city region where walking and cycling are the natural choices for shorter journeys and the Bee Network - which aims to create the UK’s largest cycling and walking network. 

MCF will also support many other cycling and walking improvements across the town centre alongside Growth Deal Funding from the Northern Powerhouse for other highway and public realm works.

Cllr Shah added: “Reducing vehicle journeys is essential if we are to cut carbon emissions and protect our planet – so we’re working hard to make it as easy and safe as possible for people to walk and cycle. 

“We’re really proud to be part of the Bee Network and to develop schemes which support our ambitions to becoming the greenest borough in Greater Manchester.

“Oldham was founded on innovation, and we will do everything in our power to build on that legacy, level up our borough and deliver a 21st century town centre.”

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