The first images of plans submitted to build the UK’s biggest urban farm and eco-park in Oldhamhave been released.
Following what was a lengthy period of public consultation events, a planning application for the new ‘Northern Roots’ project has now been submitted to Oldham Council by JDDK Architects, which – along with outline proposals for new 160-acre site – also includes some detailed design proposals for a new visitor centre and learning centre.
When complete, Northern Roots will be the UK’s largest urban farm and eco-park, and is expected to attract around 100,000 visitors each year.
Set in the heart of Oldham, developers say the project will create “a unique community and visitor destination” that offers a wide range of new facilities and activities, while also aiming to create hundreds of jobs, training, and business opportunities for local people, and support the health and wellbeing of residents.
Facilities included in the submitted plans feature a natural amphitheatre, a swimming pond, a multi-use / learning and interpretation space, a forestry depot, a community allotment, and a cafe, as well as the visitor and learning centres.
According to JDDK Architects, plans for the Visitor Centre have been designed to “blend with the surrounding natural environment” and nestle into the woodland edge of the nearby Grade II-listed Alexandra Park, while the Learning Centre will house a reception, teaching kitchen and breakout space, staff facilities, multi faith prayer and meditation space, classrooms, toilets and a bunkhouse.
The site could host outdoor performances, weddings, festivals, workshops, and more.
Speaking on the submitted design proposals, Anna da Silva – Project Director of Northern Roots, – said: “Actively involving communities in Oldham in the design and co-creation of the proposed Visitor Centre and Learning Centre at Northern Roots has been really important [as] not only has the process been dynamic, iterative and allowed for meaningful involvement in shaping the final proposals, it will foster a sense of ownership in the community in the long term.
“These are buildings that have been shaped by people in Oldham for people in Oldham – and that is key to the overall ethos of Northern Roots.”
Funding for the Northern Roots project is is coming from the UK government’s Towns Fund – which awarded Oldham £24.4 million for four projects – as well as from outside charities, funds, and organisations.
If the plans are approved, building work could begin in late 2022.
Popular London bakery Gail’s to open string of North West cafes next year
Popular craft bakery Gail’s has hinted at plans to open a string of new cafes in the North West next year.
The group, which already has a large number of bakery-cafes in the south of England, has announced it will open its first North West site in Wilmslow in early 2023.
Bosses have also said that ‘further locations in the North West’ will be announced in the new year, adding that all the new bakeries will serve GAIL’s artisan sourdough breads, pastries, sandwiches, and cakes alongside its specialty House Blend coffee.
The news also seems to potentially confirm speculation that the brand is planning a move into Manchester after The Manc shared news of potential plans for a Gail”s opening in the city centre in October.
Having already seen planning documents that suggest the chain is planning to take over the former White Stuff unit on King Street, it now appears that more news on that opening will be coming in 2023 – although it’s hard to say if it will be the first Manchester site to be announced.
The bakery group already has strong ties with Manchester, having run its sister wholesale bakery The Bread Factory in Openshaw since 2017.
Formed in the early 1990s by namesake Gail Mejia, Gail’s began when its eponymous founder decided to bring together the best bakers in London to create bakes for the capitals top chefs and restaurants.
Today, is known more as a customer-facing cafe and bakery whilst The Bread Factory continues the original wholesale legacy – supplying high quality, artisan breads to some of the region’s top local restaurants.
Gail’s first cafe opened on Hampstead High Street in 2005, and now the brand has 79 in neighbourhoods in and around London, Oxford, Brighton and more.
Turning back the clock on industrialised baking practices and moving to bake bread as it used to be baked: by hand, using quality ingredients and time-worn artisanal methods, Gail’s soon established a name for itself and has come a long way since those early days.
Still, the stuff that matters – the ethos, the suppliers, the skill and a handful of tried-and-tested sourdough starter cultures – hasn’t changed.
A champion for sustainability, the bakery also prides itself on minimising food waste by carefully setting aside any leftover food and donating it to a selection of local charities in each eatery’s neighbourhood
On Twitter, someone said: “I wouldn’t mind knowing where he is either he’s [flame emoji].”
In all serious though, Humberside Police said of Robert Rimmer: “If you see him, or know where he is, please do not approach him but instead call us immediately on our non-emergency 101 line quoting investigation reference 20900368291.
“If you would prefer to report information anonymously you can do so via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”