Letter: Rochdale boom town

Date published: 22 February 2018

Dear Editor,

I am honoured to have recently taken the mantle as cabinet member of regeneration at time when so much is happening in this vitally important area of council work.

At the recent full council meeting, I updated fellow councillors on the many things that we have done since I took on this important role and I wanted to share these exciting updates with your readers.

In the last three months, we have:

  • Signed three new tenants to our new shopping and leisure development, Rochdale Riverside, with Boots, River Island and JD Sports all set to open brand new stores. We have now let more than 60 per cent of the scheme by floorspace and work will start on 26 February.
  • Revised and resubmitted our bid to the Heritage Lottery fund to restore our stunning Grade I listed town hall.
  • Developed plans to restore Town Hall Square, with a heritage architect set to be appointed in the near future to help transform this vital area.
  • Helped the Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum Trust develop their stage two bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to transform the Fire Station Museum in Maclure Road. This bid will be submitted in March.
  • Worked with Miller Brook properties to transform the upper floors of the listed building at 2 Smith Street into seven attractive town centre apartments, as part of our drive to create new homes in and around Rochdale town centre. This work is progressing well, with the apartments set to be ready in summer this year.
  • Secured Heritage Action Zone status from Historic England for Drake Street and the surrounding areas to help bring their many historic buildings back into use. We’re only the second area in the North West to achieve this status and it attracts £500,000 of government funding. This five year project will start in May this year.
  • Started the £600,000 restoration of the Long Street Methodist Church and School in Middleton as part of our townscape heritage initiative (THI).
  • Put together plans for 11 industrial units ranging from 3,000-15,000 square feet at Kingsway Business Park to meet the demand for smaller units. We are working with the private sector to create these units, with work due to start in spring 2018, and the buildings due to be occupied in early 2019.

This is just a snapshot of the many projects we are working on at the moment and I will continue to update Rochdale Online readers as they develop. 

As well as turning Rochdale town centre into a vibrant location with a thriving evening economy, the work we are doing to regenerate the borough will bring millions of pounds of investment into Rochdale, which in turn will help create the many new jobs we need for our residents.  


Councillor John Blundell

Cabinet member for regeneration
Rochdale Borough Council

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