Who remembers this press release from Oldham Council in June this year? “Oldham Council is set to choose a private developer to take on and deliver the Prince’s Gate at Oldham Mumps scheme.The decision will bring new jobs to Oldham and bolster the town centre and its retail offer. The local authority has received ambitious and attractive proposals from private investors. A report will go to Oldham Council’s Cabinet on Monday 19 June, when members will make a final decision on the successful bid.It is anticipated that the selected partner will then be announced in July. Further details of the scheme cannot be revealed at this stage due to their commercial sensitivity.”
Like many Labour Oldham communications it was already a huge manipulation of the truth when it was published, the press release infers that the entire scheme will just be Oldham Council and a delivery partner, it is not. What is actually happening is that the Council intends to sell site A outright to a food retailer and develop an Hotel on site B itself. Site C which was to be an Aldi store with residential units over the top is now to be 100% residential and as of yet no delivery strategy has been commissioned. The Old Bank conversion to apartments is in the hands of a private developer who has a 6 months exclusivity agreement to review the development and undertake their own due diligence. Truth is Oldham Council have already wasted a fortune on building work and plans that have been scrapped they state “A new multi-disciplinary design team (MDT) will need to be procured. The delivery strategy decided upon will determine the amount of revenue required for design fees.” This scheme has gone from delivering 150,000 sq ft of extra retail space to now delivering a proposed 50,300 sq ft. Time after time Oldham Council’s development proposals result in failure. The Gateway’s housing project continues forward despite two developers leaving the project because it was not commercially viable, the Foxdenton site continues despite job creation projections falling by 55%, the cinema eventually delivered at four times the original budget, Hotel Future scrapped after four years of expense.