Work to begin on new eco centre after cabinet appoints contractor

The first work on a new climate conscious ‘eco centre’ which will replace a dilapidated council depot is due to begin this autumn.  

The modern-designed environmental centre will be built in place of the ageing depot in the Grade Two listed Alexandra Park in Oldham town centre. 

The council has now appointed a contractor to start the initial works on the new building, which will be heated by green energy. 

It means that the building work can begin shortly, and bosses hope it will coincide with the COP26 conference.  

The eco centre will form an ‘anchor development’ as part of the Northern Roots project to create a huge urban farm and park at land in Snipe Clough. 

Speaking at the cabinet meeting on Monday night, council leader Arooj Shah said: “It’s a really, really important project for several reasons. 

“It’s going to provide a home to more than 200 staff who are currently spread all around the park. 

“It’s going to renovate the much loved but dilapidated Gardener’s Lodge which we would all welcome, and it’s going to create a high-quality new space to work and support our residents from.” 

She added it will be powered by an air source heat pump that will provide sustainable heat and hot water, in line with the council’s aim to be carbon neutral. 

“And it will be an important first step in the development of the Northern Roots which is our fantastic new country in nearby Snipe Clough,” Coun Shah said. 

“We’re all really keen to get on and see this project progress.” 

The former depot comprised of a car park, storage shed, gardeners lodge and other infrastructure. 

The new building will house the environmental services teams, but there will also be opportunities for people to share the space for events, education and recreation. 

Whitfield and Brown Developments, which is carrying out the construction, has committed to supporting the local supply chain and Oldham community through a total social value investment of more than £2m. 

It is the first building to be constructed as part of several at the new sustainable hub in Alexandra Park, which include greenhouses and other buildings powered by green energy, and are being built on a phased timetable. 

Councillor Abdul Jabbar, cabinet member for finance and low carbon said: “This will be one of our brilliant environmentally friendly buildings that the council is committed to building. 

“And hopefully the commencement of this construction will coincide with the COP26, the United Nations conference on climate change in Glasgow starting in November. 

“I’m genuinely excited by this project.” 

Construction is expected to be completed in winter next year. 

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