Oldham council’s 2012 central Oldham hugely expensive masterplan failed to deliver on both outcomes and budgets so they have replaced it with an even more expensive and long-winded development with more ludicrous economic projections that have no basis in reality. The met office struggle to forecast the weather tomorrow but Jean Stretton and her band of merry head nodders can predict Oldham’s economic and social future in twenty years time despite the world currently experiencing unprecedented levels of economic and political turmoil.
“Oldham Council has been developing a masterplan looking ahead to 2035 with key schemes across five strategic town centre sites totalling 21 acres.
The benefits would be the provision of new homes, 55,000 sq metres of new and refurbished employment space, and economic activity worth an additional £50m per annum to Oldham’s economy.
The masterplan seeks to remodel Oldham town centre to match the local authority’s aspirations for it to be a vibrant place with high-quality attractions, an excellent cultural and shopping offer and a night-time economy that make it stand out as a destination within Greater Manchester.”
Labour MP Jim McMahon’s version of the Oldham masterplan was supposed to see “Hotel Future” open in 2014, “Aldi” open on the old RSPCA site in the autumn of 2016 and an operational M&S store by early 2017 none of which happened. To be fair he did deliver the new state of the art Oldham sports centre complete with broken tiles in the pool and failing plumbing just months after opening, the town hall cinema two years behind schedule and at four times the original budget and his “Our House” store managed to operate for three months before declaring bankruptcy. What has changed since McMahon’s private cabinet report from November 2014 which stated private developers won’t touch Oldham town centre housing developments because margins would deliver limited return? Oldham pay is the lowest in Greater Manchester and the town centre has seen both an increase in crime and the biggest increase in unskilled migrants ever recorded none of which would encourage property developers to take any financial risks in Oldham.
So here is the £350,000,000 2017 masterplan with the main residential developments in St Mary’s and Coldhurst the two areas in Oldham which already have the highest numbers of housing benefit claimant’s. We have a new hotel facing the walk in centre on the plot originally reserved for the failed Hotel Future scheme. We have a new Tommyfield market except it is not it is a new replacement indoor market which is needed. Tommyfield market traditionally refers to the outdoor market that has all but vanished and under these plans will vanish altogether to be replaced by a multi storey carpark. The site of the old sports centre will become council offices.