New stadium to become a reality?

Athletic have unveiled ambitious plans for an £80 million redevelopment of Boundary Park. The changes will create a 16,000 capacity stadium that has been given the provisional name of the Oldham Arena. Plans for the 21 acre site include a 130 room hotel, space for the hospital including staff housing, office space, community housing and luxury apartments and a health and fitness centre. Club officials expect that planning permission will be applied for by the end of this year. The scheme could generate 1,000 new local jobs. The high rise hotel will have 130 rooms including a swimming pool and will be situated in the Chaddy End. The club also intends to develop 100,000sq ft of office space, which will be incorporated into the stands, including a second landmark tower.

Latics Director Ian Hill said, “It is not hard to see that the town is bereft of conferencing and banqueting facilities to provide for the educational, social and corporate gatherings that could take place in Oldham but are currently held elsewhere. We propose to build facilities to accommodate 500 people for dining and 1,000 people theatre-style. In addition, the stadium will be capable of hosting meetings from 10 people upwards to we can satisfy everyone’s requirements. We anticipate making a start in May, 2007, at the end of the season. We will develop an arena for the football and rugby clubs to a standard that can host major, national events. We will incorporate bars, restaurants, hospitality boxes, catering, in fact everything we now all expect from a 21st century stadium. We have avoided an ego trip and opted for a modest and sensible capacity.”

Alan Hardy added, “We want the new Oldham Arena to become a community hub, a statement that Oldham as a borough is going places and that Oldham has the confidence to move forward.".

There is currently no funding in place for the development, but the club anticipate making a start on a new main stand (Broadway side) of the stadium within 16 months. The club are prepared to sell off land which borders Clayton playing fields, including the training pitch known as Little Wembley.

Oldham MP's Phil Woolas and Michael Meacher are officially backing the project and preliminary discussions have started with council leaders, politicians, officers, senior management at Pennine Acute Trust and the Royal Oldham Hospital.