A NEW open area for arts and events will be developed as part of Oldham’s Cultural Quarter after plans were approved for the public space.
Oldham Council’s cabinet members gave the go-ahead for the development, close to the proposed new theatre, the library and the Old Library in the town centre.
The space will be able to hold an outdoor stage and will also be adaptable to suit activities such as outdoor arts classes, theatre performances and more.
The aim is that it will become the “heart” of Oldham’s growing Cultural Quarter, bringing together the current Library and Gallery, the restored Old Library set to open in early 2025 and the new theatre, which is subject to planning permission.
Cllr Arooj Shah, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “This is great news for residents, community groups and visitors to Oldham, who will soon have a fantastic new outdoor space for arts and culture, right at the heart of our new Cultural Quarter.
“This decision also marks another important step in the fast-moving redevelopment of our town centre, creating a better place for people to work, live and raise their families.
“While there’s so much to be proud of in Oldham’s past, we have a lot to be excited for in the future, and this new addition to our town centre will be one of them.”
This new arts and culture space comes hot on the heels of Hilton Square, another new public space with planting, seating and better paving, opening up in the town centre.
The design includes a fully accessible central square that can hold up to 150 people for a stage, complete with light and sound.
To ensure there is minimal disruption during the construction, the project will be delivered in phases.
Phase one will be combined with the completion of the Old Library in early 2025 and phase two will coincide with the final works to the new theatre, set to open in 2026.
As part of the work, improvements will also be made to Southgate, Ashworth, and Greeves Street to include planting, new trees, seating areas, external lighting and improved paving.
The plans have been designed after feedback from the Big Oldham Conversation and stakeholders including, Gallery Oldham, Oldham Theatre Workshop and Oldham Coliseum Theatre.
The Cultural Quarter, when complete, will include an extended community gallery space and home for Oldham Theatre Workshop at the restored Old Library, a new theatre, and Gallery Oldham and Oldham Library.
This is also part of Oldham’s much wider regeneration programme, creating a sustainable mixed-use town centre for the future.
Developments include a new market, theatre, shops and leisure opportunities, a town centre park and new homes – building a great place for businesses to thrive and where more people want to live, work and visit.
To find out more, visit: www.oldham.gov.uk/regen