Cllr Arooj Shah, with William Lees, Maggie Hughes, and Oldham Council and Willmott Dixon staff
Cllr Arooj Shah, with staff from Oldham Council and Willmott Dixon
Published: Wednesday, 19th July 2023

Leader of Oldham Council, Cllr Arooj Shah, led a behind-the-scenes tour of Spindles with members of the Town Deal Board to see how progress is being made on the major redevelopment.

Cllr Shah was accompanied by the Independent Chair of the board, William Lees-Jones, Managing Director at JW Lees Brewery, and Vice Independent Chair of the board, Maggie Hughes, owner of longstanding Oldham business, Zutti Co. 

On the visit, Cllr Shah, William and Maggie had the opportunity to see the detailed plans for the project and see first-hand the progress taking place within Spindles and at the old TJ Hughes site.

The redevelopment includes a new home for Tommyfield Market, new events space, new archives and brand-new offices for small businesses and Oldham Council staff.

Council staff moving into the Spindles will free up the Civic Centre site for redevelopment, as part of the new partnership with Muse Places, as announced last week, to build 2,000 homes in the town centre.

Access Oldham will also be moving into the Spindles, providing a more central location for residents to access vital services such as council tax, housing benefits and financial services.

Cllr Shah said: "I’m so impressed with the progress that’s already been made on the project, and it's great to see that our plans for an all-new town centre are fast becoming a reality.

“My absolute priority, which I know is also shared by William and Maggie, is that together we build a better Oldham for the future - and that means creating more jobs, more homes, and more places for people to enjoy.

“It's genuinely exciting to see our new market, events space and archives take shape, and I look forward to soon seeing a far better town centre not just for the Oldhamers who live here now, but for generations to come."

Work on the Spindles is expected to be completed in early 2025.

William Lees-Jones, Managing Director at JW Lees Brewery, said: “The work done so far is really impressive and it’s fantastic to see such a great investment take shape in the heart of the town centre – I can’t wait for the space to be open.”

Speaking on the behind-the-scenes tour, Maggie Hughes, owner of Zutti Co, said: “It’s been an absolutely amazing visit with Arooj and the team. I’ve got so much excitement for the new market space and the people that this investment will bring into the town centre. It’s very exciting for the future!”

Members of staff from Willmott Dixon, the contractor carrying out the redevelopment works, were on hand on the visit to provide expert detailed information on the progress and talk through the plans.

Anthony Dillon, Managing Director for Willmott Dixon in the North, said: “We’re proud that, as well as shaping the future of the town centre, the Spindles development really is creating opportunities for local people and supporting local businesses.

“To date, alongside Oldham Council, we have invested more than £10m of our project spend with local supply chain partners, created more than 15 new jobs, engaged 500 Oldham school students and delivered 76 weeks of apprenticeships.

“We are working directly with local training providers to create employment opportunities for long-term unemployed individuals and young people not in education or employment through our dedicated Building Lives Academy programme.”

Opposite the new market will also be the revamped Egyptian Room, with a street food-style food court, and the Cultural Quarter right around the corner, with the restored Old Library and new theatre, set to open in 2026.

Oldham's town centre regeneration scheme is anticipated to lock hundreds of millions of pounds in investment, as well as 2,000 new homes, 1,000 new jobs and 100 new apprenticeships. To find out more, visit 

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