Oldham Council Leader, Sean Fielding, is pledging that local independent businesses remain a major priority and will play a key role in regenerating the town centre.
Cllr Fielding, who took office on May 23, was immediately keen to speak to businesses in Oldham town centre’s Independent Quarter to hear their ideas on how to build upon the council’s work in the area.
Oldham Council has invested £1 million into a comprehensive package of support for new and existing independent business to set up or grow in Oldham’s Independent Quarter, the area between Yorkshire Street, Clegg Street and Union Street (East).
Established in 2013, the Independent Quarter is home to a variety of different businesses including clothes shops, gifts and events shops, furniture shops, restaurants and more. So far 40 new independent businesses have located to the Independent Quarter bringing 300 jobs.
On Saturday (2 June) Cllr Fielding and Oldham Council’s Deputy Leader Arooj Shah visited a number of the existing Independent Quarter businesses, including Furniture by Lauren, All Wrapped Up and Zutti.
Cllr Fielding said: “What we have in Oldham’s Independent Quarter is unique and it remains a major priority for us. We have a dedicated space here for Oldham’s independent traders to thrive together and to create a great shopping experience for residents.
“That’s why I wanted to start by having honest and open conversations with the businesses who are the spine of this great initiative and talk to them about how we move forward together. They are the people who have invested their own hard-earned money into our town and they are the key to making this work.
“We’re going to ensure that the Independent Quarter and our overall town centre offer remains focused on what we want to achieve.
“As a council we’re committed to supporting the businesses already in the Independent Quarter and we want more to come, whether they are looking at occupying a council or privately-owned building, and we’ll help them every step of the way.
“I’m delighted that we’re welcoming two new business to the Independent Quarter in the next few weeks. Both are independent traders who have benefitted from the Council’s grant offer enabling them to set up new restaurant, Fusion 21 at 17 Mumps and a tropical fish shop at 52 Yorkshire Street.
“A thriving town centre is the responsibility of everyone and for this to work we all need to get behind it. Please visit the Independent Quarter and buy locally.”
If you are an independent business owner in the Independent Quarter or would like to be, there is a range of support available, including building improvement grants, equity grants to help purchase and occupy property, business support and recruitment help.