Works planned to tackle £40m maintenance backlog

Reporter: Charlotte Green, Local Democracy Reporter
Date published: 07 June 2021


Council chiefs are planning works to deal with a £40 million maintenance backlog across buildings and schools in Oldham.

The priorities for 2021/22 include works to Alexandra Park’s conservatory, Diggle Clock Tower, churches in Waterhead and Werneth and cemeteries across the borough, totalling £4m.

The backlog of maintenance works across the council’s corporate estate has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, with just under £5m worth of schemes slipping by a year.

The priorities across the corporate estate for the next three years to 2024 have been determined through a number of factors.

These include condition assessments and whether they are necessary either to allow buildings to continue to operate, or to mitigate legal risks or resolve health and safety issues.

The most expensive repairs highlighted for this year in the corporate estate is essential external works to Diggle Clock Tower.

Coming in at £750k, these are required to ‘stabilise’ deterioration to the building.

Phase two of electrical rewire works at Moorhey Street Depot will cost £570k.

This is followed by £300k worth of works to the conservatory in Alexandra Park to carry out essential timber and restoration repairs.

There is £200k allocated to carry out essential work to Oldham cemeteries to maintain footpaths and flood-affected areas.

The council has pledged to find ways to stop a number of cemeteries flooding after bad weather earlier in the year – including Storm Christophe – led to many graves being under water.

Ground reconciliation works to a closed graveyard at Holy Trinity Church in Waterhead will cost £200k while ‘priority demolition’ to mitigate health and safety risks at St John’s Church in Werneth will cost £100k.

The removal of asbestos ‘textured coatings’ and environmental cleansing at Alexandra Children’s Centre, Shaw and Werneth Life Long Learning Centres and Turf Lane Community Centre will also cost a total £160,000.

Refurbishment works worth £80k are also scheduled to take place at George Street and New Barn Changing Rooms to address vandalism to the buildings.

Priority repairs to the pool at Oldham Community Leisure centre and to the plant room equipment will cost £70k.

A number of repair schemes have also been identified for schools across the borough, which are to be funded from the schools condition allowance grant from government.

This is estimated to be around £1.5m.

However, the council will ask schools to contribute ten per cent towards repairs, subject to the school’s funding capabilities.

In 2021/22 there are £1.57m worth of works identified across ten schools in the borough.

The most expensive of these are priority heating replacement works at Hey with Zion Primary School, which cost £275k.

Roofing works at Mather Street Primary School will cost a quarter of a million pounds, as will the replacement of the heating system at the South Failsworth Junior and Infant Schools.

Removal of asbestos will also take place at a number of schools, including Kingsland Primary where getting rid of asbestos insulated pipework in the ceiling voids will cost £150k.

At Mills Hill and Whitegate End Primary Schools, removing asbestos coatings and residues from boiler room and ceilings will cost £70k.

Essential health and safety repairs worth £75k are also planned to the climbing frame and out buildings at The Castleshaw Centre for Outdoor Education.

Additional funding worth £60k is also required to support the refurbishment of modular classrooms at Diggle Primary School.

According to a council report, the maintenance works are prioritised to ‘maintain the operational use and value of the council’s corporate estate and to mitigate risks association with statutory compliance, health and safety, further consequential damage with associated additional costs and to negate potential legal claims’.


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