THE council has received £24.4 to boost the town centre – but it is £16.6m less than the local authority asked for in a scheme and decisions will have to be made on how the pot is split across four projects.

Oldham Council put a £41m bid together for the government's Towns Fund with hopes to invest in five projects.

A large portion of the money, £16m (39 per cent), was due to be spent on the proposed Making Space project.

This would see the old post office redeveloped and the former Quaker Meeting House on Union Street used for arts and culture performances.

A total of £8m has been set aside for the Northern Roots project, which would see 160 acres of green space with facilities open to the public a short walk from the town centre.

Relocating Tommyfield Market from its existing site into Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre is another major proposal with £7m earmarked from the Towns Fund for that.

Introducing office space into Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre to appeal to entrepreneurs and sectors such as creative design and media, offering jobs to people in the town, was forecasted to take up £6m from the figure.

And creating a "minewater heat network", which would convert water from flooded coal mines into energy to create an environmentally friendly power source for the town centre to support the drilling of two boreholes and feasibility testing would cost £4m.

But following the £16.6m deficit, the council has made the decision to not use money from the Towns Fund to pay for the "minewater heat network", with hopes that another source of money could be found to deliver the environmentally friendly plans.

But the council must also weigh up how the funds will be split between the four projects.

Without the £4m commitment to the heat network, £37m would still be needed under the original plans, £12.6m less than what the council has been awarded. 

Council leader, Cllr Arooj Shah, said: “We’re confident we will be able to move all four projects forward and will be discussing the next stages of this exciting regeneration programme at the next Town Deal Board meeting.”

The investment comes after Oldham received £10.7m from the Future High Streets Fund which will be used to make the town centre more accessible, launch a food hall in the Old Town Hall's Egyptian Room and create a business hub for digital start-ups.