“Oldham night time economy task force” not the latest superhero movie but another publicity opportunity chaired by the same inept politicos who have in recent years failed to deliver four out of every five town centre regeneration projects wasting millions of public finance in the process.
So Oldham’s got itself a night time economy task force to sort out the town centre, is anyone expecting big things to come of this? Over 7 years ago Labour Oldham politicians announced they would shortly be renovating the Queen Elizabeth Hall into a national conference and event centre to coincide with Hotel Future neither of which happened. In the last decade Labour Oldham have twice announced a new Coliseum theatre would be built one was opposite the Civic Centre where the courts are and was of course abandoned and the other one which was abandoned just months ago was on Union Street. Our local politicians have failed on three occasions to deliver three versions of “gamechanger” Prince’s Gate and have failed to deliver at least three versions of the town centre masterplan in the last decade. These genius politicians who will revive the night time economy spent £40 million of public money building a cinema that was announced at a cost of £10 million and two years and three months after it opened half of its additional units are still empty. Oldham has lost around 80% of its alcohol related town centre economy which Labour named the “wild west” but it also lost the millions it put into the local economy and the hundreds of jobs and businesses it supported. What has been left behind is a sparse night time economy in the town centre where serious assault and injury is far more common than it was in the past only this week Vibez 924 has its license suspended after a long list of violent disorder incidents occurred at the premises. As for cultural assets the Council name the “Cotton Clouds” festival which has nothing to do with the town centre as it happens in Greenfield which is 5.5 miles away from central Oldham. The Council also list their own Gallery Oldham as a cultural asset which it is but it is one that is heavily subsidised with public sector funding and arts council and lottery grants. What we have is not a taskforce but a selection of the same inept politicos misleading representatives of other organisations and businesses about what they can deliver these are the same political class that are wholly responsible for Oldham’s abysmal and depressing town centre devoid of quality both in the day and night, filled with expanding deprivation, organised gangs of thieves and an unwelcoming demeanour served by a failing bus network and the Metrolink line with by far the highest crime rate on the network.