Plans to transform Egyptian Room into food hall approved

Thursday, March 25th, 2021 4:19pm

By Charlotte Green, Local Democracy Reporter @CharGreenLDR

Proposals to transform Oldham's historic Egyptian Room into a food hall have been given the green light – and bosses say it could open in time for Christmas.

The authority had applied to convert part of the Grade II listed Old Town Hall into a casual dining and drinking destination in the style of Altrincham Market and Mackie Mayor in Manchester.

The Egyptian Room, which is ornately decorated with floor to ceiling glazed tiles and double-height vaults, was once home to the Borough Treasurer’s Rates Hall but is currently lying empty.

Planning permission for listed building consent for the works to the building, which dates from 1841, has now been granted subject to a number of conditions.

It will feature six independent food and drink retailers, and the council is in ‘discussions’ to appoint an ‘experienced’ single operator to run the food court.

There had been no objections from conservation officers over the plans, and they concluded there would be ‘less than substantial harm’ to a listed building.

They stated: “In retaining this section of the listed building and bringing it into use, it will help retain the quality of the townscape and public realm in the heart of the conservation area.”

Chiefs say refurbishment work is due to start in June, and the site could be operating in time for Christmas later this year.

The new food hall will operate as a casual dining and drinking area for around 200 people, with indoor and a large outdoor al-fresco dining area on Parliament Square.

Council leader Sean Fielding said it would be a ‘fantastic addition’ to Oldham town centre and would ‘further enhance’ the Parliament Square area.

“It’s great news and something else for us to look forward to. With many businesses soon set to reopen and lots of exciting new additions coming to the town centre, there’s a real buzz about Oldham and the future is looking bright,” he added.

The council has submitted a £10.7 million bid to the government’s Future High Street Fund to support the delivery of the redevelopment and several other town centre regeneration projects.

Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester’s night-time economy adviser added: “It’s clear Oldham has a strong vision to create a thriving town centre which offers something for everyone at all times of the day.

“It’s brilliant to see this ambition starting to take shape at time when jobs, opportunities and support for the hospitality industry is so desperately needed. I look forward to seeing the Egyptian Room come to life and Oldham going from strength to strength.”

A major £37m redevelopment of the rest of the Old Town Hall building was completed in 2016, with it becoming home to a seven-screen Odeon cinema, Nandos and Molino Lounge.

Images: Oldham council/BDP

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