Northern Roots Masterplan Consultation – help shape the vision

Thanks to everyone who participated in Northern Roots’ consultation events, site tours, building co-design sessions and online consultation this autumn. We’ve gathered all your feedback and used it to revise the masterplan proposal and Visitor Centre and Learning Centre designs – and we want to know what you think.

Northern Roots online community consultation

View the updated interactive site map, explore proposals, look at other people’s comments, and share your ideas and feedback. This phase of the online consultation will run from the 24th November to the 12th December 2021.

Northern Roots in-person community consultation

Meet JDDK Architects and the Northern Roots project team and Trustees, view the updated masterplan proposal and revised building designs, and share your feedback in person.

Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre, Saturday 4th December 1pm to 4pm.

Short presentations will run at 1pm and 3pm. Find us in the former River Island retail unit on the ground floor of the shopping centre.

On the basis of your feedback, the final masterplan and building designs will then be developed for inclusion in the planning application for Northern Roots. We aim to submit the planning application in early 2022.

Consultation feedback – the story so far

We’ve spent the last six weeks analysing consultation feedback in order to revise the masterplan proposal and Visitor Centre and Learning Centre designs. We can see there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the project, and for many of the proposals. The natural swimming pond is a big hit, along with community orchards, the Bike Hub and Trails facility, and plans to create new habitats and increase biodiversity on the site.

We also hear your concerns, particularly about proposals for the southern end of the site – the natural amphitheatre, festival field and glamping pods specifically.

More generally, what we are hearing from you is that you would prefer proposed buildings to be located at the northern end of the site near to Alexandra Park, and the southern end of the site to be remain largely undeveloped and natural.

This feedback has clarified that Northern Roots needs to do more work and consultation on proposals for the southern area of the site, before taking them forward.

As an immediate result of your feedback, we have reduced the scope of the area included in the initial planning application for Northern Roots to focus on the top third of the site. We have specifically responded to your concerns as follows:

Natural amphitheatre/performance space

Initially located half way down the site, near to residential housing in Fitton Hill , we have relocated this feature to sit next to the Visitor Centre at the northern end of the site, where it is not near to any existing buildings.. 

Festival Field

Originally proposed for the southern end of the site, feedback suggested that this is not the right location for this feature. As a result, we have relocated this feature to the northern end of the site close to the Visitor Centre and existing car park, where there are currently two football pitches, which can double up as an events/performance space when occasionally needed.

Please note, there will be no reduction in the number of pitches currently available. Northern Roots will retain and upgrade two existing football pitches and create two additional new pitches.

Glamping Pods

There was a mixed reaction to the proposal for glamping pods, so we’ve removed this proposal for the time being and in future will instead explore camping for children and young people in an area adjacent to the proposed Learning Centre.

Infrastructure

Some of you expressed concern about the volume of buildings, car parks and roads proposed for the site.

Roads

To clarify, no new roads are proposed for the site. There is already a hard-surfaced road (Tip Road) running between the existing car park at the northern end of the site and the location of the proposed Learning Centre. Existing tracks and paths will be improved.

Buildings

The combined footprint of the proposed Visitor Centre and Learning Centre is 1270sqm – equivalent to 0.19 % of the overall 160-acre site. Both buildings have been designed with input from local communities, will include green roofs and habitat friendly walls, and will utilise green energy.

Due to feedback expressing concern for the woodland where the Visitor Centre is proposed, JDDK Architects have relocated the main features to sit outside of the woodland, on the edge of it.

The Learning Centre structures have deliberately been situated in locations where the woodland is affected by ash dieback, a disease that is unfortunately wiping out ash trees across the UK. The affected ash trees in these locations will need to be removed, regardless of any building proposal, creating clearings where the buildings can be located. 

Carparks

A carpark already exists at the northern end of the site. Two small additional parking areas have been proposed adjacent to the Visitor and Learning Centres. Car parking facilities for these buildings are necessary to facilitate deliveries, disabled access and parking for school groups.

The combined footprint of all three carparks is 3,377m2 and represents 0.5% of the 160-acre site. All three car parks will be designed to be permeable and provide additional habitat in the form of swales, hedgerows and trees.

Consultation next steps

Early 2022: Northern Roots shares final proposal for Northern Roots masterplan and buildings to be included in planning application.

How have we arrived at the initial masterplan proposal?

Northern Roots shared its initial masterplan proposals for the 160-acre Northern Roots site in August 2021. The initial masterplan was the result of three years of ongoing community consultation, and work with experts in ecology, hydrology, business modelling, landscape architecture and green technologies to explore what we can and should create on the Northern Roots site.

Initial designs for the proposed Visitor Centre and Learning Centre at Northern Roots were shared through in person and online public consultation in October 2021.

Follow us on  TwitterInstagram and Facebook for daily project updates and start a conversation with us at northern.roots@oldham.gov.uk

Young person at Northern Roots design consultation, Mahdlo Youth Zone, October 2021.
Young people sharing ideas with architect Alison Thornton-Sykes at Northern Roots design consultation, Oldham College, October 2021.
The 160-acre Northern Roots site, looking towards Oldham town centre.
Community consultation at Alexandra Park Depot, October 2021.
Community feedback on top five sustainability ideas.
Students at Oldham College exploring building layout possibilities at a Northern Roots design consultation.