Oldham Coliseum’s plans for new £27m home dropped as council ‘reviews costs’
Oldham Coliseum’s plans for a new £27 million home have been scrapped, after the local council said it was reviewing its “work and costs”.
However, Oldham Council has said it will work with the venue on new proposals over the next few months.
Plans for the proposed building, which would have been part of a new cultural sector, were originally given the green light last year.
The purpose-built venue would have had a 550-seat main house as well as a 170-seat studio theatre.
However, the local authority said the theatre would no longer form part of the plans being developed for a cultural sector, including a new heritage and arts centre in the city.
Councillor Sean Fielding said: “In the current financial climate we have to spend our funds wisely and that means reviewing our works and costs to ensure we get the best value for money for the taxpayers of the town.
“A lot has changed since the idea was first discussed six years ago, including the costs involved, so at this stage we are not going to continue with the current proposals to build a new Coliseum on the Southgate Street site.”
He added: “However, we’d like to make this clear – the council and our partners at Oldham Coliseum and Arts Council England remain fully committed to providing a high quality performance space in the town centre, which is relevant, sustainable, and delivers high quality theatre.
“Over the next few months, we will continue to draw up plans with the Coliseum and Arts Council England for a fit for purpose facility.”
Construction work had been due to begin this year, with the new building due to be opened in 2020.
The news comes shortly after the announcement that artistic director Kevin Shaw is to leave the venue.
Gail Richards, chair of the Coliseum’s board of trustees, said: “It’s absolutely right in the current climate that we examine every penny of spend to ensure the very best value for money and so we understand the need to look at alternate options. We’re excited to be working with our partners at Oldham Council and Arts Council England to find a sustainable solution to secure the future of theatre in Oldham”
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