BLUEPRINTS have been unveiled which could see the transformation of part of the Oldham Town Hall into an independent food market.

Plans have been been drawn up by the borough council as part of a Future High Street Funds bid for the restored Egyptian Rooms.

Six food and drink concessions would be housed within the historic venue, linking in with a large al-fresco dining area in Parliament Square.

Cllr Sean Fielding, council leader and economy cabinet member, said: "This should be an exciting new food and drink experience for Oldham and a great addition to the Old Town Hall and the fantastic businesses already based there and across the town centre.

“We’re committed to ensuring Oldham has a vibrant leisure and night-time economy and we are confident a market like this will be welcomed by residents and visitors.”

The grade II listed Old Town Hall has been the focus of a £37m redevelopment which has seen the venue become home to an Odeon cinema, Nandos and the Molino Lounge.

Further proposals are being explored, elsewhere within the building, for a hub for digital start-ups.

Cllr Fielding added: “Coronavirus has had a huge impact on Oldham - which is why it’s more important than ever to do everything we can to create investment, jobs and opportunities for people.

“We look forward to hearing the outcome of the Future High Street Fund which will enable us to deliver key regeneration projects to help our town build back better.”

Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, said: “Many residents and operators in Oldham have spoken to me about how thriving the night time economy used to be.

“I have now had many visits and very positive conversations with Cllr Fielding. Sean completely understands and supports the idea of re-invigorating the sector and last year assembled a Night Time Economy Taskforce.

“Last year, during one of my visits, I was shown a very ambitious project, the Egyptian Rooms and was told about the plans to bring it to life and expand footfall into the Old Town Hall.

“Now, even during these challenging times, I’m delighted the Egyptian Rooms are progressing. Not only will it create many jobs but could also become a nucleus to make other independents flourish, as we have seen with food halls in other areas of Greater Manchester.”

If approved, work will begin on the Egyptian Rooms later this year with a planned opening of summer 2021.