Oldham Council has begun digging up an award-winning town centre flowerbed.

The ‘WOW Bed’, located opposite the Spindles shopping centre entrance on Market Place, has formed part of the borough’s winning entries for ‘Best City’ in the Britain in Bloom awards in 2012 and 2014.

As well as for 10 years in a row in the North West in Bloom awards, between 2010 and 2019.

Contractors could be seen using equipment including a yellow JCB to dig up the garden on Monday (September 25).

Residents nearby appeared unaware that the garden was being replaced, with one person who did not wish to be named saying: “I liked when they had a display, when it was a different one every year.”

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In a thread on X (formerly Twitter), Oldham Council said: “Work to remove the WOW bed in Oldham town centre will be starting on Monday 25 September for approximately one week to make way for the exciting transformation of the Market Place on the High Street.

“The plans to transform the area will begin in 2024 and will see run-off gardens, seating areas, and new paving being installed – much like the changes we made to Albion Street and Henshaw Street.

“While we bid farewell to the beloved flower bed, this is part of our plans to improve the town centre – bringing more leisure opportunities, homes and jobs to the area as well as additional greenery.”

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The Oldham Times: A vehicle has begun to dig up the gardenA vehicle has begun to dig up the garden (Image: Jack Fifield, Newsquest)

Waterhead resident Anita Lowe, herself a gardener, said she was upset by the development.

She said: “It’s an award-winning garden, such as in Britain in Bloom. People come to view the fabulous displays and children view in awe at the marvels of creations by the expert gardening teams.

“There is surely a way to preserve our lovely WOW garden and please create plans around this area that’s being redeveloped. There is always a way.

“This green space garden is the envy of other towns and adds colour to the area. Please do not take this prize garden away”.

Oldham Council has been contacted for a response.