PLANS to rebuild Oldham Coliseum theatre are back on the agenda a year after a £27 million redevelopment scheme was scrapped.

A new theatre was part of a town centre masterplan drawn up by former council leader Jean Stretton in early 2018.

But the project was shelved after new council leader Sean Fielding took over following the local elections that year.

Then, he cited the "current financial climate" was the reason Oldham Council would not be progressing with the ambitious proposal at Southgate Street, and "exploring other options".

However, speaking to local business leaders at a Professional Oldham event at the town centre outlet Furniture by Lauren, Cllr Fielding said: "We are still going to build a new Coliseum theatre."

He went on: "I don't think people have realises this. They see that we've cancelled the old plans, but don't know that we're still going to have theatre provision."

Cllr Fielding said he had chaired a meeting with the Arts Council with a person the council had "brought on board" to support devising plans for a new Coliseum.

He said: "We see culture as a key anchor for Oldham."

Cllr Fielding said plans for a the new theatre will culminate in a bid for status as Greater Manchester Town of Culture, a scheme launched by city-region mayor Andy Burnham along similar lines to the London Borough of Culture.

He added: "People are really envious, right across Greater Manchester and the North West about what we have in the Coliseum because it is a production house. It's not just a place where plays are put on - they are also devised and directed there."

Cllr Fielding also hailed the town's cultural quarter, home to Gallery Oldham and the library.

"There are exhibitions that come to the gallery that don't even get to Manchester because of the connections of our artistic director there."