It is a source of great regret and disappointment that the next phase of the Metrolink line through to Shaw and on to Rochdale will not be open as previously promised by December, some 12 months late!
Would the Leader join with me in expressing concern that the delay will lead to a further loss of goodwill from the public and significant potential revenue loss for Oldham Town centre and the conurbation of Greater Manchester by failing to latch on to the busy pre-Christmas retail period.
Would the Leader also agree that it had been possible for the line to be opened before Christmas and that it appears to me a policy decision has clearly been taken to delay the opening until the New Year, when it is clear that the line to Shaw and Crompton could even have been opened later this month?
Coliseum theatre refurbishment
The refurbished Coliseum has recently re-opened its doors to the public of this Borough and I would like to take this opportunity, as I am sure the Leader would also like to do, in welcoming the return of the Coliseum back to its home.
The Leader will remember and I am sure welcome, the actions of the previous administration which had the foresight and political will to set aside more than £1.4 million in 2010 for the refurbishment of the Coliseum Theatre.
Would he also remember that when the investment in the theatre refurbishment was announced, he responded publicly in less than enthusiastic fashion saying “Is this value for money — for the investment you are making?”
His sceptical tone was echoed by his Shadow Cabinet colleague responsible for Leisure who said “We still support the Coliseum but we have to look at the real price of it in the light of severe council cuts. We should be looking at a building or a site somewhere else in the town.”
Indeed the Leader may also remember that in September 2008 he called for the Coliseum to be located in the Oldham Town hall, a suggestion which only a year later, was described as a ‘pipe dream’, a sentiment, echoed by a former Labour Cabinet Member who said: “it was always a pipe dream.”
Would the Leader now accept that the proposals put in place by the previous administration to refurbish the Coliseum, therefore maintaining and retaining one of Oldham’s crown jewels was right and correct?
Oldham Town Hall
The re-use and redevelopment of Oldham Town Hall continues to receive a very positive response from all quarters.
I am sure the Leader would recognise the role of the previous Administration which, in 2009/10 set aside more than £700k to stabilise the crumbling building and make it watertight.
Would he also agree that the urgent actions we took some three years ago have provided the foundation for the current administration to take rejuvenation of the building to the next stage?
Something that was always in our long term vision and in fact I spoke in this chamber some time ago – and specifically about a cinema being located in the old Town Hall.
That vital investment of a little under three quarter of a million pounds turned back the tide of decades of neglect under successive Labour administrations.
In fact without that cash there would have been no prospect of using the building, because it was in imminent danger of major roof collapse – causing the whole structure to become unsafe – then it would have gone the way of the Park Road Warehouse – that is demolition!