Oldham cultural hotspot could face ‘critical failure’ unless urgent repairs are carried out

Reporter: Charlotte Hall, Local Democracy Reporter
Date published: 28 February 2024

A cultural hotspot in Oldham could face “critical failure” and closure unless ‘urgent’ repairs are carried out.

Parts of the infrastructure at Gallery Oldham were found to be at an ‘end of life’ stage during a building survey, according to a council report.  

Council boss Arooj Shah said: “It’s really important to us that Gallery Oldham is kept in the best condition. 

“It does serve as an important cultural and educational asset in Oldham so it’s vital we carry out this work so that we can continue the usage of that for families across Oldham and beyond, boosting footfall and wider spending in the town centre.” 

Several mechanical components in the 20-year-old building have come to the end of their ‘15-year shelf life’ which could lead “to the potential closure of the Gallery Oldham”, according to the report. 

The council have been informally told that a bid for funding from the Arts Council to fix up the creative hub was successful.

The government-run culture organisation supports local galleries through the Museum Estates and Development Fund (MEND). 

The exact size of the grant is yet to be confirmed and will be ringfenced for “limited aspects” of the “urgently needed” maintenance. 

The rest of the maintenance is likely to be funded out of the Corporate Landlord Capital Budget, the council’s money pot for buildings owned or managed by them. 

The cabinet voted to accept the grant at a meeting on Monday (February 26). 

Councillors noted how the gallery supported local people by attracting outsiders to the town, who would visit local businesses.

It recently became the first of five Greater Manchester venues to house LS Lowry’s “iconic” painting ‘Going to the Match’.

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