What Oldham wants to spend £40m Levelling up cash on

Theatre refurbishments and a green tech business centre are among some of the ambitions.
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Town hall chiefs are bidding for £40 million of government cash to ‘level up’ parts of Oldham which could see a business centre created to support green tech start-ups.

The council has applied to the Levelling Up fund with two bids of £20m each, covering the borough’s main parliamentary constituencies.

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The bid for Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency would see cash used to support the borough’s ‘green new deal’ commitment to being carbon neutral by 2030.

This would include the creation of a ‘Green Shoots Centre’ which would be a new business centre to support environment technology start-ups based at Rhodes Bank.

If successful the money would also be used to develop a learning centre at the Northern Roots site, the project that will become the UK’s largest urban farm on land at Snipe Clough near Alexandra Park.

Bosses say the learning centre will provide training linked to green and sustainable skills, supporting the Green Shoots Centre. It would also be used as an educational centre to help strengthen environmental skills through vocational courses.

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And a new path for pedestrians and cyclists, the ‘Oldham greenway’ would be created to link the Green Shoots Centre with Northern Roots and the new Jubilee Park being built in the town centre.

In the Oldham West and Royton constituency the council wants to use £20m to develop a ‘creative improvement district’ in the town.

This would see the Lyceum Theatre and Masonic Hall refurbished to create a ‘flexible workspace’ for creatve industries.

And funding would also be put towards the re-opening of the Old Library , which would see an ‘enhanced’ gallery space and workshops developed.

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A renovated garden area is planned in the area between the Old Library, Gallery Oldham and the forthcoming new theatre.

And some of the cash from the bid would also be put towards a new events space at the redeveloped Spindles Town Square shopping centre for use by creative industries.

Council Leader Amanda Chadderton said: “Oldham has so much potential and as a council we will do everything in our power to help our borough thrive.

“Towns like ours have been hit hardest by austerity, the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. Despite this we remain one of the most entrepreneurial towns in the UK.

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“We have a clear direction for Oldham and have identified exciting projects as part of our Levelling Up bids which will help us to build a better borough and future.

“This is a real chance for Government to prove they are serious about spreading opportunity more equally across the UK and we look forward to hearing the results of our application.”

The Levelling Up bids follow the authority’s successful applications to secure Towns Fund and Future High Streets Fund grants of £24.4m and £10.75m respectively.

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