Published: Tuesday, 19th December 2017

The Old Town Hall – Oldham’s iconic regeneration scheme – has amassed an astonishing haul of visitors and major awards in its first full year of busines

The landmark development in Oldham town centre has had a significant impact on civic pride, business confidence and the local economy since reopening in late-October 2016. 

The project exemplifies Oldham Council’s determination to use its heritage buildings, people and history as the foundation to our regeneration as a place. Restoring the iconic Grade-II listed building and giving it a modern use in the heart of the town centre meant overcoming huge challenges. 

In 2009 it had been named in Britain’s ‘Top Ten most endangered buildings’ by the Victorian Society after lying vacant since 1995 beset with wet and dry rot. 

But after three years of painstaking restoration and a £37 million investment it is now reborn as a state-of-the-art ODEON cinema with popular restaurants next to Parliament Square, a high-quality new public space. 

James Rielly, ODEON Oldham General Manager, said: “We’re thrilled to have been involved in such a fantastic regeneration project, and the reaction to the new ODEON Oldham as part of the redevelopment of the Old Town Hall has been extremely positive.”

“Since the launch of ODEON Oldham last year, we’ve welcomed nearly 300,000 guests through our doors to see some of the biggest and best entertainment on our screens, and we’re predicting another great year in 2018.”


The Old Town Hall development has put Oldham firmly on the map – and its success has also been recognised by a haul of 14 awards this year**. 

Amongst that recognition, the project won Building of the Year 2017 from the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, plus two NW Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA) awards and three NW awards from the Royal Chartered Institute of Surveyors (RCIS), including Build of the Year.

Despite the specialist nature of work on the scheme, 84 per cent of apprentices’ weeks went to Oldham residents. More than half of work experience placements were local and 55 per cent of the total project costs was spent with the local supply chain – no mean feat on a project that required so much specialist input due to the dilapidated nature of the building. 

BDP were appointed by Oldham Council as architects on the scheme to utilise their conservation skills and contemporary design expertise – providing the architecture, landscape architecture, acoustics and lighting solutions to bring the venue back to life. 

This week the project team joined BDP project lead architects Andrew Capewell and Alan Davies in bringing all the awards together at the Old Town Hall*.

Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, said: “It has been an amazing first year for The Old Town Hall.”

“Everyone involved can be proud of the fantastic ‘haul’ of awards that it has received but what matters most is the verdict of the people of Oldham – and the feedback I’ve had from residents, businesses and partners has been overwhelmingly positive.

“This is a scheme that has put the pride, confidence, footfall and optimism back into Oldham town centre. 

“The opening of Parliament Square has also given us a fabulous new public space that has proved a great home for our growing calendar of family friendly events like Illuminate, Festival Oldham and OldhamLIVE.

“We’ll be announcing another new tenant for the Old Town Hall soon and are still talking to interested parties about the historic Egyptian Room, for which we want to be certain we find exactly the right tenant.

“We’re very excited about Oldham’s future and – when you put all this development alongside our plans for the Cultural Quarter and the new Town Centre Masterplan – you can see that this is a place with a clear and ambitious plan.”

In awards’ judgements this year the RCIS described the Old Town Hall as “an exemplar public/private sector partnership” while the RIBA described it as “a bold composition and a very simple idea that has allowed the retention of a significant moment of Oldham’s past and gained a string urban participant in its future.”

Gavin Elliott, BDP Manchester Studio Chairman, said: “To be awarded so many awards for the regeneration of the Old Town Hall is something we are all really proud of.”

“In 2009 the building made the top ten most endangered buildings in the UK, and so it is a massive achievement to have been able to transform it into a fantastic public space that the people of Oldham will be able to enjoy for years to come.”

The Old Town Hall development scheme was projected to create around 75 full time and 160 part time jobs giving an annual boost of £5.5 million to Oldham’s economy and creating an extra 214,000 visits to the town centre.  

Oldham Council’s Get Oldham Working team assisted in recruitment at the venue with around 80 per cent going to Oldham residents when the development opened in 2016. Some were long-term unemployed residents who had been helped by GOW to tackle barriers preventing them from getting work.

The final available unit at the Old Town Hall – The Egyptian Room – is the former treasurer’s hall which has been restored to its former glory. For all letting enquiries, contact Dan Davies at Metis Real Estate on 0161 359 4306 or email ddavies@metisrealestate.com

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