Oldham high street regeneration plans to receive £500k boost

Date published: 16 May 2024

Oldham and Hyde town centres are two of 10 areas across England receiving half a million pounds each to revive their high streets and entice residents back to the shops. 

A total of £1 million will breathe new life and greenery onto their high streets, making them more attractive places for people to visit and spend their time - whether that’s to relax and socialise, visit the shops and cafes, or take up new jobs in their local town.

The Minister for Levelling Up, Jacob Young, said: “High streets are the beating heart of our communities and we’re determined to keep them alive and flourishing through our levelling up support.

“Coupled with the new powers we’re giving to councils to rent out persistently empty spaces, our High Street Accelerators programme will make our towns more welcoming and pleasant places for people to enjoy.”

Oldham town centre will be revived with new innovative, multifunctional structures that will be installed on Union Street and Yorkshire Street.

These bespoke structures will have green roofs, planting and integrated lighting that can be used as seating areas and adapted into stalls for daytime and evening markets.

In partnership with businesses, green features, such as planters, hanging baskets and green walls, will be added near to the high street shops to create a better scenery for shoppers.

These changes will create a high-quality public environment where people want to spend more time, helping more businesses to flourish.

In Hyde Town Centre, the Market Square will be reconfigured with new high-quality seating, new bike storage units and enriched greenery.

The adjacent park to the high street – Millenium Park – will also be revamped for use by the wider community, with plants added, footpaths resurfaced and new space to support events.

These changes will create a more welcoming, greener town centre that people want to spend more time in.

Maggie Hughes, Chair of the Oldham (Union Street and Yorkshire Street) High Street Accelerator partnership and owner of Zutti, said: “This is another boost for Oldham town centre and the great work that is already underway.

“We have been meeting up with other businesses and people who live, work and shop in the town to talk about what we want to see happening.

"There is so much enthusiasm in these meetings as we share our knowledge, experience but most importantly our pride in Oldham and what we want to see happen in the town.

“There is so much already happening to make a town centre to be proud of, with the new market, events space and the changes to Spindles, and this extra funding to make our streets brighter with planters and green walls will just make even more difference.

"As a business owner in the town centre, I want to do everything I can to make Oldham town centre thrive and I am really looking forward to working with fellow businesses on this and a whole range of other great things that we have planned this year.”

Mark Whylie, Chair of Hyde Town Centre High Street Accelerator partnership, said: “This is great news for Hyde and will enable the group to continue with the work carried out to date.

"The group, stakeholders and the council working in partnership have achieved a great deal since the group’s inception just a few months ago.

“Hyde is great town with passionate people working hard to make our town a better place to live, work and visit and the award of this funding will help further create this environment within the town centre.”

Along with the government’s wider levelling up interventions that total over £15 billion across the UK, these changes help speed up local regeneration, helping turn once-bustling town centres into vibrant places again.

The changes will also help tackle the wide-ranging issues stemming from high street emptiness - from struggling businesses, to increased unemployment and anti-social behaviour. 

The £1 million funding comes from the government’s High Street Accelerators pilot programme launched in December last year, which is backed by up to £7 million. 

The pilot is working with 10 local authorities in England to accelerate improvements to their high streets, while empowering residents and local businesses to partner with them on a regeneration plan that meets the needs of the community.

The funding follows an earlier grant of £237,000 to each of these 10 areas, to help them kickstart long-term regeneration plans with residents and businesses.

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