Letter: Proposed new retail development
Date published: 01 January 2018
This Thursday (4 January 2018), Rochdale Council cabinet members will meet to discuss the future of the proposed new retail development on the site of the old bus station.
Despite huge local interest in this long drawn-out saga, both the press and public have been excluded from attending the meeting.
While some obviously thought the development was a plausible idea 10 years ago, it is now just another embarrassing example of what happens when councillors are sold a pup by consultants, so called council partnerships and senior council officers.
We are now at the stage when current councillors need to accept that too much money has already been wasted on preparing the site for a proposed retail development (£26 million of our money, when last reported). It is simply drifting along waiting for someone to put an end to it.
My personal suggestion would be to abandon the current plans and look into the feasibility of the area becoming a dedicated place of entertainment.
Let us have, as a starting point, a high capacity, multi-use theatre that can cater for all types of events. A focal point for the many people of this borough to come together, have a good time and create lifelong memories.
The desire for an ever increasing number of shopping centres has peaked. That ship has sailed. However, the amount that people spend on attending concerts has doubled in the last five years and shows no sign of slowing down.
Now as luck has it, I think the area has, by default, been made perfect for the establishment of various entertainment venues. There are excellent transport links and plenty of parking spaces.
Additionally, music events, concerts, theatrical plays, etc are often held during the evening.
They would have minimal effect on the congested traffic flow that already exists in that particular area during peak hours.
Walk into our beautiful town hall and you are met with a large open floor area that was originally designed for cloth trading.
It was never used for this because by the time the building was completed this type of trade had decreased and the manner in which it was done had changed forever.
Several starting dates for the retail development have come and gone. Marks and Spencer has seen the light.
Will our councillors?
Spotland and Falinge 2018
The views expressed are those of the author of the letter and not those of Rochdale Online.