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The Grapes Hotel returns to Oldham’s Independent Quarter

PIctured: Guy Barlow, proprietor of the Grapes Hotel, Yorkshire Street, with Oldham Council Leader, Jim McMahonA familiar name from years gone by is set to make a return to Oldham’s Independent Quarter.

After disappearing more than a decade ago, The Grapes Hotel will soon be a fixture at the heart of Oldham Council’s transformation of Yorkshire Street.

The man behind the restoration of the hostelry that dates back to the early 1800s is Royton businessman Guy Barlow together with his business partners.

They have ambitious plans for the property – currently trading as Bar 62 – and are investing a significant amount of their own money in the venture.

Guy has already started work on the project by clearing the large overgrown beer garden at the rear of the property so it can once again welcome drinkers.

The next job is returning the façade to its former glory by stripping back the paintwork to reveal the historic original tiles.

This is all part of Guy’s plans to maintain as many original features as possible – stained glass windows on the top floor will also be removed and used in partitions in the renovated bistro pub.

He is also planning to work with local college students on other aspects of the interior design so the place has local links to it.

One of the most eye-catching elements of the development is the proposal to turn the top two floors into 11 boutique-style hotel rooms in a bid to attract a high-end client base.

Guy said: “Our plans for the pub tie in with the council’s ethos for the Independent Quarter – we want to offer something different that can link with other businesses in the area.

“We don’t want the Grapes to be just another bar or pub we want it to be the kind of place that people can hold business lunches in or where solicitors can meet their clients, for example.

“Once we open the rooms upstairs they’ll be available for business people or even actors from the Coliseum to stay in.

“We fully support what the council is doing with the Independent Quarter and schemes like the ODEON cinema in the Old Town Hall show that they are investing in the future of Oldham and helping it’s economy grow.

“The arrival of Metrolink and the council’s pro-active Town Centre management have given me the confidence to invest

“We’re excited – you don’t often get the chance to invest in something from the start but the Independent Quarter has given us this opportunity.”

Councillor Jim McMahon, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “The fact that people like Guy are choosing to invest in Oldham is great news for the Independent Quarter and the town centre in general. It’s highly encouraging and shows the level of confidence the business community has in our plans.

“Guy is one of the many traders and businesses who are showing interest and support for our proposals to regenerate one of the borough’s most important retail and leisure areas.

“We already have a series of major regeneration projects underway that will enhance our entertainment, cultural and leisure offer and we believe the town centre can become the strongest in the area.

“To help us achieve our aim we want to attract new businesses that will bring something unique to the area – making the Independent Quarter a destination in its own right.

“If you think you have something to offer and want to play a part in Oldham’s future then I’d urge you to get in touch with us.”

Since the Independent Quarter initiative was launched late last year a number of traders have already moved or relocated into new premises after receiving support.

The initial focus is to support businesses in the Independent Quarter in the triangle between Yorkshire Street, Clegg Street and Union Street East.