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Oldham Council move ‘beyond’ their masterplan

June 14 2005

Oldham Council has launched the grandly titled ‘1000 Days’ body in order to realise the Oldham Beyond document launched by URBED (Urban and Economic Development Group), the Manchester-based regeneration consultancy in Spring 2004.

According to Andrew Fletcher, Assistant Chief Executive Corporate Policy at Oldham Council, the 1000 Days body has been introduced to ensure that Oldham’s ‘vision document doesn’t lie on the shelf’. “The body will act as champions of, or critical friends of, the document. They’ll meet every 200 days and ask to see evidence of how the strategy has moved forward,” said Fletcher.
Urbed, however, will not be invited to take part in the follow-on work at the local level. “When we were commissioned to do the plan it was funded by North West Development Agency and Oldham Council. When the NWDA pulled out due to their budget problems, English Partnerships took over and insisted on working from their own list of approved practices. It’s rather galling,” said David Rudlin, Director of Urbed.

The ‘1000 Days’ body will be chaired by Peter Roberts who is Professor of Regional Planning at Liverpool University’s Department of Civic Design. One of the key strategies outlined by URBED in their “visioning exercise” was the development of Rhodes Bank Creative Quarter, which builds on the recent opening of Oldham University Centre.

One other specific area that the body, which will meet every 200 hundred days, is set to oversee is the use of Housing Market Renewal in creating model, mixed neighbourhoods in the Werneth/Freehold areas of the town.The geographical ethnic segregation of Oldham was seen as contributory factor to the race riots of 2001.

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