‘Gamechanger’: Oldham town hall chiefs give green light to new Prince’s Gate scheme

Plans for a ‘gamechanging’ redevelopment of a part of Oldham town centre has been given the green light by town hall chiefs.

Oldham Council will now start the selection process for a developer or investment partner for the Prince’s Gate at Oldham Mumps scheme, was approved by the authority’s Cabinet last night.

The mixed-use development sets out to transform Oldham town centre’s eastern gateway with a range of new shops and jobs, up to 800 quality homes, around 700 car parking spaces and boasts Marks & Spencer as its anchor retail tenant.

Prince’s Gate would also be the first opportunity to be delivered with the selected partner through a brand new development company which would allow for other Greater Manchester sites to be added at a later stage.

The joint venture, the first of its kind set up in the wider devolved City Region, offers the chance to redevelop a number of other council-owned sites in Oldham suitable for residential and commercial, or mixed use, in the medium to long-term.

It is hoped the investment vehicle will be an efficient and cost-effective model for other local authorities to help get strategic and challenging regeneration schemes off the ground.

Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, said: “Prince’s Gate at Oldham Mumps is a fantastic opportunity to deliver our most ambitious scheme for the town centre since the 1980s and we’re delighted to start the process of finding our delivery partner.

“The process of selecting suitable development and investor partners can be time-consuming and costly involving Europe-wide advertising and professional advice. Given the spirit of working as a City Region we thought that we shouldn’t go through this process without allowing for other Greater Manchester councils to join at a later stage, potentially saving time and public money

“The joint venture investment vehicle we’re establishing here is a great way of simplifying potential issues around procurement, council subsidies and state aid when looking at self-delivery of growth at key sites.

“It starts with a foundation ‘bank’ of projects worth in excess of £100 million (and including around 1,000 residential units) in Oldham but will soon be rolled out as an opportunity to our neighbouring authorities. There are many benefits to getting involved– not least being the ability for councils to retain an interest and a say in the development of strategic sites.”

The Prince’s Gate at Oldham Mumps scheme seeks to capitalise on the town centre’s new Metrolink line and was unveiled in November 2014.

The phased development will deliver significant new retail space including a glazed development with the M&S food and clothing store.

The eastern gateway site masterplan would create up to 800 homes in a new neighbourhood with associated retail and leisure uses. These include a separate discount food store with apartments above, improved public realm, walking and cycling links, plus a modern use for the refurbished and extended Grade II–listed Old Bank building.

Councillor McMahon added: “These are exciting times for Oldham and Greater Manchester as we look much wider at how we can use this moment of devolution to deliver the new Oldham we’re determined to see.”

“We’re excited about the opportunities this site holds for our future and work is underway. We’ve already been on-site for several weeks demolishing existing buildings and getting ready to deliver replacement Park and Ride facilities on the opposite side of the site and a planning application for the retail elements of the scheme was submitted in May.”

An independent economic analysis of the Prince’s Gate masterplan by AMION Consulting identified that it is expected to create more than 700 new jobs and could be worth up to £21 million per year to the local economy.

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