Oldham Council and ODEON have agreed an exciting deal to open a seven-screen cinema in the town centre.
The local authority has been in discussion with Europe’s largest cinema operator for several months about plans to transform the Old Town Hall into a first-class family entertainment venue. This landmark development will restore the Grade-II listed building as a civic ‘jewel’ in a scheme that will re-use and extend it to include a new 805-seat family cinema boasting seven screens, plus six restaurants* and a branded café franchise.
The plans are designed to capitalise on the Old Town Hall’s town centre location – sympathetically conserving as much of the existing building as possible whilst also adding a modern glazed ‘light box’ extension. There will also be a new public square adjacent to the venue in Clegg Street which will feature restaurants and play host to arts and cultural events.
Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, said: “This is box office news for us in every respect – and a real coup for Oldham. ODEON is the largest cinema operator in the UK and synonymous with great film experiences, so we were absolutely determined to get them on-board this project. Their commitment to us is a huge vote of confidence in our exciting plans. Oldham has lacked a cinema and family entertainment venue for far too long and this is brilliant news for residents, businesses and visitors alike.
“A thriving town centre isn’t just about retail any more – it’s about other complimentary uses that make it a place that people want to spend time in. That means combining a wide range of high street retailers with varied markets, thriving independent businesses and a leisure offer with a range of cultural venues, attractions and events, new open public spaces and a more attractive environment.
“The redevelopment of the Old Town Hall is absolutely central to this vision. By using this historic building as its shell we have a fantastic opportunity to deliver a cinema in a unique venue and backdrop that will put it in a different class from out-of-town retail centres. Our vision has always been to restore the Old Town Hall as a symbol of civic pride. Today is an important step and we can’t wait to get started on work with ODEON to make this happen.”
Roger Harris, Chief Operating Officer ODEON, said: “We have been delighted to work with Oldham Council to achieve an attractive and innovative cinema design. This is a further example of the close strategic partnership we have been developing with a number of local authorities who are seeking similar exciting redevelopment opportunities.”
Initial work is already progressing on the historic Old Town Hall building in preparation for the start of major works later this year.
This Spring a specially-designed hoarding featuring photographs of local people and their memories of the Old Town Hall will be put in place as the building works take place.