Work set to start on OMA

Work to transform the former Oldham library building into a new state of the art, arts and heritage centre is a step closer following the appointment of the lead contractor.

Interserve, the international support services, construction and equipment group, have been chosen to deliver the £13m project and restore the grade two-listed former library and art gallery. The transformation is being funded by the Council, benefactor Norman Stoller and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The revamped venue, named OMA, will offer three new state-of-the-art galleries, a modern archive search and study space to discover local and family history, and a performance space offering a diverse programme music, comedy, talks, local talent showcases and theatre. Alongside this will feature extensive visitor facilities such as a new shop, café and bar. 

The transformation is part of the Oldham Council’s wider plans to regenerate the town alongside an improved cultural offer. Just two weeks ago plans to extend the town centre conservation area were approved, the youth zone Mahdlo is being extended and the old magistrates court site is being cleared to encourage redevelopment and investment.

Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Economy and Enterprise, Councillor Sean Fielding, said:“This is another great step in the regeneration of our town centre and our plans to make Oldham a destination for culture, arts, history and entertainment. The development means a key gateway to the town will be transformed.

“Interserve have a excellent track record in similar projects and were responsible for restoring the Corn Exchange in Manchester. I’m certain they will produce a great building which reflects our proud history and heritage, but also adds the modern touches that demonstrate we are looking forward to an improved future.

“We’re grateful to the National Lottery Heritage fund and of course local business man Normal Stoller for his generous donation to the project. Once again Norman has stepped up through his charitable trust to help provide another lasting legacy for Oldham. This donation is on top of the donation to various projects including Mahdlo and Maggies.

“The new Heritage and Arts Centre will bring a much-loved listed building back to life that Oldham can be proud of – attracting residents and visitors from outside the borough.”

Phil Shaw, Divisional Director at Interserve Construction, said: “This is a great new business win for Interserve in the North West and builds on our experience of refurbishing Grade 2 Listed properties following the recently completed Corn Exchange in Manchester. We are excited to work Oldham Council and Procure North West in delivering our first win on the Framework.

“As the council’s delivery partner, Interserve will deliver quantifiable, measurable, real world initiatives that benefit the people of Oldham – because preserving heritage must go hand-in-hand with improving the present.”

As part of Oldham’s commitment to improve the local economy and boost job creation, Interserve will be working with our Investment and Get Oldham Working Teams throughout the project to ensure local firms and local people can get involved with the transformation.

Interserve will be hosting a ‘Meet the Buyer’ day with Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce to source a quality local supply chain. The event will take place at Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground on the 13 November 2019. Work at the Union Street building is expected to start on site in early 2020.