Just weeks after the Greater Manchester spatial framework rejected Foxdenton as a first phase development site Oldham Council resurrects the long-dormant project, and its vested interest, and finances infrastructure work to commence just before the new Greater Manchester mayor takes over city region construction control. What Oldham’s Councillors, under the tutelage of Jim McMahon who also wants to see the green field’s of Foxdenton buried under lucrative financial profit, is doing is making the Foxdenton site more desirable ahead of inevitable spatial framework revisions. Labour Oldham are of the mindset if you want something bad enough you will get it. Jim’s ex-underlings, and business colleagues at Foxdenton LLP, won’t allow five years of disinterest in the site from the business community dampen their resolve and certainly won’t be scuppered by GMCA plans for alternative developments. They will build empty warehouses using public finances and lure in firms with undisclosed financial incentives because without some industrial development the housing option would be illegal and contrary to terms of the development. They will justify clearing green fields to build the lowest GVA project in Oldham by calling it future employment land. They will offer an endless and exponentially expanding workforce of high fertility, high benefit dependency unskilled residents more interested in protecting lucrative tax credit payments than increasing their minimum wages. All this bodes badly for a future Oldham under devolution where we will see our impotent and immoral council elite out of their depths left to collect scraps left over from the central and south Manchester budgetary table. Oldham Council leader Jean Stretton has already been thrown a bone and will lead on the fairness, equalities and cohesion portfolio, a strange appointment when you consider Oldham Council’s failure on integration, education, child poverty, low pay, ESOL and inaction on cultural and religious misogyny. This appointment will enable her to continue delivering the Oldham policy of allocating the majority of council spending, grants, benefits and improvement schemes into Labour’s failed and ever expanding non-contributory and unrecognizable central Oldham financial black-hole. Jean Stretton certainly won’t be leading on business development or the economy for the GMCA as her cost calculation to Oldham Council for the town hall cinema is off by more than £9 million and she considers a business relocating premises just 0.1 miles as being new to the area. Does this mean that the few who pay for the many in Oldham will now be paying twice, funding the GMCA and mayoral construction priorities and Oldham Council’s escalating borrowing which will adopt an additional set of rejected schemes?
Oldham Council currently has listed 1117 empty commercial properties in the borough.