Decision details

Cultural Quarter Update

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The Cabinet gave consideration to a report of the Team Leader, Regeneration, which updated them on the development of the Cultural Quarter project to date and sought approval of the progress of OMA (Oldham Museum and Arts/Archive) into the next phase of contractor procurement. Approval was also sought to the development of feasibility options to consider delivery solutions for high-quality sustainable performance space in the town centre.


Members were informed that the cultural offer for Oldham would provide the widest possible participation and promote excellence in theatre, heritage and the arts. It would foster civic pride, act as a catalyst for economic growth and well-being and promote Oldham as a destination of choice for investors and cultural attenders.


Cabinet noted that the Outline Business Case (OBC) for OMA and OCT (Oldham Coliseum Theatre) was first agreed in April 2013, and then subsequently revised and agreed by Cabinet in April 2017. In August 2016, Gilbert Ash was awarded a pre-construction contract and this pre-construction activity had been concluded. Ellis Williams Architects had been engaged as a replacement for Mecanoo.


In relation to OMA, Members were informed that the designs had been further refined by the architects. The building had been secured and was ready for the next phase of the project. In May 2016 the Council had secured £3,379,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards the costs. This was supplemented by a commitment from a private contributor in the sum of £3,934,809 (previously £4,034,809).


An integral element of the OMA project was to provide off-site storage and archiving facilities, to accommodate those archives and collections which could not be accommodated within the refurbished and remodelled former library building and adjacent Gallery Oldham building. The location approved by Cabinet was Prince of Wales Units A & B and Kier had been commissioned to undertake a detailed feasibility study of these units.


Cabinet were informed that, in relation to OCT, the Arts Council for England (ACE) in September 2018 had recognised the increase cost of the project and value for money, and acknowledged the need to revisit proposals and recognise a new vision for the long term sustainability of theatre production. ACE had confirmed their continued support for a Town Centre arts and cultural performance offer.


Members noted that, in order to progress the realisation of the cultural vison for the theatre, a feasibility exercise should be implemented with a focus on cultural and performance solutions that were sustainable and complimented current regional and national theatre ambitions. ACE were currently consulting on their new 10 year strategy which had a strong focus on diversity, collaboration and sustainability and there was an opportunity to align the theatre project and the cultural offer for Oldham closely to a strategic body for the arts and major funder.


Options/Alternatives considered:-

These were set out in the report in the restricted part of the agenda.


RESOLVED that the Cabinet would consider the commercially

sensitive information contained at Item 19 of the agenda.


Publication date: 27/11/2018

Date of decision: 19/11/2018

Decided at meeting: 19/11/2018 - Cabinet

Effective from: 05/12/2018

Accompanying Documents: