Oldham is finally going to get a cinema as pioneering plans to transform the Old Town Hall are given the go-ahead.
The planning committee unanimously approved the ambitious £10m plans to convert the derelict Grade II listed building into an eight-screen 1,000 seater complex complete with high end restaurants and cafes.
Design company BDP were brought in by Oldham council to bring life back to the empty Victorian building after years of neglect, and Virtual Planit worked with architect Alan Davies to create these images.
It is hoped the town hall will reopen to the public by 2014 and councillors were told there has been considerable interest from potential tenants.
The development would ensure certain architectural features and decorations are retained while allowing the building to have a new use.
The existing ballroom, council chamber, committee rooms and court rooms will be kept and transformed into the cinema screens and a new extension and glass ‘light box’ facade on Clegg Street.
Architect Alan Davies told the meeting: “It’s not an easy building to bring back into use with lots of small rooms, corridors and different levels.
“To get to this stage a considerable number of issues were considered but this was the best solution for the building and the town as a whole.
“This will link the town hall back into the town centre while conserving the best of the town hall.
“The plans are widely supported by the public and this is an important milestone to bringing it back into use and securing its future in the long run.”
A number of ideas for the building have been put forward in the past but none have seen fruition until now.
Coun John Hudson said: “This is a very imaginative scheme that is long overdue. Our duty as a council to do everything we can to make it happen and think everyone in Oldham will welcome it.”
The building, which was built in 1841 with extensions in 1877 and 1917, has stood empty since the council moved out in 1978 and the court closed in 1995.
Work is expected to start on site next year.