As you may have seen already in the press, this week I was delighted to be able to announce that the Council and Oldham Athletic are on the verge of signing a deal that secures the club’s future and benefits the Borough and its residents.
The agreement was not reached overnight and it is the result of weeks of negotiations between officers, councillors and representatives from Latics.
I will not go into all the details as it would take up this entire blog and probably next week’s, but I think it is fair to say all the hard work has paid off and the parties involved have ‘had a result’, to coin a football themed phrase.
The headline grabbing news is that Latics are staying in the Borough, at their historic home of Boundary Park. I’m positive this was the outcome the majority of fans, residents, and even those who have had just a passing interest, would have wanted.
Under the proposals, which are subject to contract following Cabinet’s decision, Boundary Park will be regenerated and vital community schemes run by the club can continue.
Another successful spin off for residents is that the Council has acquired the Lancaster Club site in Failsworth.
This could see the development of a football centre with six-a-side pitches, plus the provision of additional leisure-oriented retail and community facilities.
This fits in with our plans for the Borough as a destination in its own right and as a place people want to live and work.
This latest announcement means the long term future of Latics is now secure and it could not have come at a better time with the new football season just days away.
Let’s hope they can now use this platform to push on and once again reach the highest tier of English football and make us all proud.
I was pleased to welcome judges from the North West in Bloom competition to the Civic Centre last week.
The duo was in town to assess if our latest ‘Bloom and Grow’ entry has flower power.
They were taken on a three-hour tour of the Borough and I’m not beating about the bush but they must have been impressed by our efforts to retain our ‘Best City’ title.
All the displays are eye catching and the Past, Present and Future themed garden in the Town Centre looks stunning.
I welcomed the judges alongside Councillor Richard Knowles, the Mayor of Oldham. I was keen to get across that the decision to proceed with our entry, despite the budget pressures faced by the Council, was because of our desire to build the Borough’s confidence.
The Bloom and Grow team has once again excelled themselves and I hope their efforts are duly rewarded when the results are announced later in the year.
I attended the Annual General Meeting of the Credit Union last week which was not just a routine meet, but also recognition that the CU is now stronger than ever with a healthy membership list and good financial management.
I am keen for the CU to become more involved in tackling financial exclusion. We have done well at providing an alternative to doorstep lenders but there is still a lot to do. If you are interested in becoming a member of the CU go to www.oldhamcreditunion.co.uk
This Wednesday I am meeting with representatives from BAE Systems to discuss the future of the Greengate site at Chadderton.
I share everyone’s concern about the loss of BAE from our Borough, but we also need to make sure that this strategic site is not left to mothball and instead is used for employment growth.
In these hard financial times it is always very welcome news when we hear of more than 50 jobs being created in the Borough.
Mouchel, whose joint venture Unity Partnership with Oldham Council runs a number of the Authority’s services, has relocated to a new Shared Services Centre in the Oldham Business Centre, Cromwell Street.
The good news is local people have been recruited to fill many of the new posts. Twenty of the roles were filled following a successful recruitment day in the Council’s offices open to local residents, Council and Unity Partnership staff.
Over the coming weeks it is going to be a quiet time around the Civic Centre as the Council is officially in recess – a sort of summer holiday – until August 19.
This means there will be no Council meetings for the next two weeks or so. But as far as the services we provide to you it is business as usual.
As my diary won’t be as cluttered it will give me a chance to take stock of what has been a very busy time since May 5 and do some forward planning.
For me it gives me time with my family for a week’s holiday in the UK before a short break visiting my mum over in Ireland. And it couldn’t have come too soon!