A new Night Time Economy Task Force is to investigate ways to boost and revitalise Oldham town centre.
Sean Fielding, Oldham Council Leader, chaired the group’s first meeting at the Civic Centre on January 28, and also welcomed Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser, to the borough.
Council officers joined a range of leading figures from across the local economy, transport, police, bar and club operators, and the voluntary sectors.
The Taskforce is the next step in plans to rejuvenate Oldham by bringing together a range of retail, cultural and leisure attractions to make it a better place to live, work and visit.
Task Force members discussed ideas about what can be done to make it a safer place that is more accessible and boasts a diverse choice of businesses, events and activities.
Amongst the key issues discussed were the physical environment, how to better connect town centres assets to each other, security, plans for future developments and transport arrangements.
Cllr Fielding said: “This Taskforce is about everyone working co-operatively to help improve Oldham town centre and take it to the next level.”
“The enthusiasm in the room, and the broad representation across a range of sectors, shows the commitment that many people have here to making it a destination in its own right.
“Oldham already has great heritage as a place for art, music and culture, but town centres are changing fast and we can – and must – do more.
“Working together we’re going to be sharing ideas, information and insight that will help to make this a place to visit for food, drink and entertainment.
“That’s what the people of Oldham deserve and want, and I’m delighted that Task Force members are already showing their determination to make it a reality.”
Last year, Sacha Lord was appointed by Andy Burnham, GM Mayor, to work with a panel of experts across Greater Manchester. His role is champion its nightlife, identify what is missing, and make nights out safer with good transport.
He said: “This was a fantastic first step in developing Oldham’s night time economy offer.”
“We held a meeting, attended by 30 partners from the local authority (including licensing and regeneration), GMP, taxi operators, private bar and club operators, festival founders, VCSE partners, bus operators and the Council Leader to look at how we can transform Oldham into a night time destination.
“Oldham has some excellent cultural assets such as Gallery Oldham and the Cotton Clouds Festival, as well as exciting food and drink offerings like the Smoke Yard.
“Sean, the Council Leader, has a progressive vision for what Oldham town centre can and should be. The public sector has the power to create the conditions necessary for a thriving night time economy but it’s essential that we all ensure we work with night time economy businesses, residents and potential visitors to Oldham, to make sure we’re developing a diverse offer that is accessible for everyone. I look forward to working further with Sean and all key stakeholders in realising this vision.”