The Northern Roots charity is creating the UK’s largest urban farm and eco-park on 160 acres of stunning, under-used green space, ten minutes from Oldham town centre. A unique new community asset and visitor destination.
Vision: Harnessing urban green space to benefit people, planet and place.
Mission: Transforming 160 acres of green space into a destination for learning, leisure and growing to benefit the environment, and improve health, wellbeing and livelihoods.
Northern Roots is being developed for and with local communities and will create a wide range of activities, facilities and business opportunities on the site. From growing edible crops at scale, bee-keeping and animal husbandry, to mountain biking, outdoor events, and arts and culture, there will many opportunities for local people – and visitors – to discover, utilise and enjoy the site.
Northern Roots was initiated by Oldham Council, which owns most of the site. Feasibility work started on the project in 2017. Over the last six years the Northern Roots project team has been working with experts in business modelling, ecology, landscape architecture and green technologies, and consulting with local communities, to explore what could and should be done on the 160-acre Northern Roots site.
An initial masterplan proposal for the site was shared for public consultation in August 2021. Five months of in-depth community consultation followed, involving consultation events, site tours, community co-design sessions and online consultation. Feedback from this consultation was used to revise the masterplan, and shape designs for the Visitor and Learning Centres.
Northern Roots submitted a hybrid planning application in April 2022. The hybrid planning application for Northern Roots was unanimously approved by Oldham Council in October 2022. Oldham Council issued approval of planning permission for the scheme, which includes detailed planning permission for the Visitor Centre, Learning Centre, Forestry Hub, Solar array and sports pitches, and outline planning permission for the market garden and swimming pond. Work will start on the Visitor Centre and other elements in late 2023.
The Northern Roots site is located ten minutes from Oldham town centre, in Greater Manchester. The 160-acre site stretches from Alexandra Park in the north, past Park Bridge Heritage Centre, to Bankfield Clough in the south. It is bordered by Glodwick, Fitton Hill, Hathershaw and Alt.