As Oldham Council is set to formally launch its search for a development partner to deliver its ambitious Town Centre Masterplan, the latest plans may see the 1970’s built Queen Elizabeth Hall demolished.
The Masterplan outline went out to public consultation last year and has since been refined based on feedback and the input of a team of top industry advisors.
The original masterplan proposals included retaining the Queen Elizabeth Hall but – following further detailed appraisal of the venue – it has now been determined that it falls short of the event and conference venue standards that will be required.
Oldham Council’s Cabinet is being asked to consider demolition of the Hall. This would mean the relocation of the proposed hotel to the former Magistrates’ Court area with combined new conference facilities to also be housed on the site. The remainder of the existing Civic Centre site would then be released for redevelopment.
The hall, ttached to the Civic Centre, wasdeveloped and opened in 1977 to commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee
The vision for the Town Centre revolves around significant areas of publicly-owned land where many sites are under-utilised or have buildings coming to the end of their economic life.
Totalling around 21 acres in size, these include Tommyfield Market, the Civic Centre, Oldham Police Station, the former Oldham Sports Centre and former Magistrates’ Court, and the current Oldham Coliseum Theatre.
The Masterplan benefits will be the building of new homes, new and refurbished employment space and economic activity worth an estimated £50 million each year to Oldham’s economy, as well as hundreds of new jobs.
As part of the updated vision, Tommyfield Market traders are set to be relocated to a new temporary home.
At a recent meeting with market traders it was agreed that Oldham Council will examine how it can support them over the next 18 months as part of the transition period while the new market hall is built. Cabinet will be asked to reduce rent levels to demonstrate their support and commitment to traders during that time.
Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, said: “This is an exciting time for Oldham and we’ve made great progress in refining our plans to bring the Town Centre Masterplan to market.
“We’re looking for a partner who shares our drive and ambition to make Oldham a great place to live, work and do business – and deliver on our vision for a town centre that can thrive round the clock as a place where residents want to live and spend their leisure time.
“Tommyfield Market is an important part of Oldham’s history and is important to many residents. As part of traders’ relocation during the building of the new market hall it is important we look to support them through this change before delivering a great new venue.
“Subject to Cabinet approval, further details and information on the OJEU notice and process to secure a partner will be announced shortly afterwards. We’re looking forward to selecting and working alongside our developer partner on the next stage of this vital journey for Oldham.”