Council could pedestrianise town centre site

Date published: 21 June 2020

Part of Rochdale’s Town Hall square could be pedestrianised to allow for more social distancing and boost business ahead of the anticipated reopening of the hospitality sector next month.

The council is proposing the closure of Packer Street to allow the businesses which trade there, which includes CAMRA’s Greater Manchester pub of the year 2019, The Flying Horse Hotel, more space for customers to dine and drink outside.

The proposals, which would significantly increase the pavement area, would also accommodate more walkers, as well as increasing the capacity of the existing businesses. The plans also include moving the existing taxi rank to the opposite side of Packer Street, taking up a small section of the existing town hall car park.

A small section of Nelson Street would also close to vehicles at its junction with Packer Street, meaning vehicles can no longer leave the town hall car park via Nelson Street.

Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for regeneration, business, skills and employment at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “It’s important that we do everything we can to welcome people back into our town centres safely and make it as easy as possible for them to support our local economy.

“This small change will make a big difference to the businesses in this area, which contribute hugely to the vibrancy of Rochdale town centre, but have taken a massive hit during the pandemic. It will also allow visitors who want to enjoy the wider town centre offer the extra space to be able to move around safely.

“It’s been a horrible time for our community and businesses, but we’re determined to take any positives from it that we can. This change will allow our visitors to enjoy Rochdale’s beautiful public realm in the town centre’s historic quarter, while supporting our business community.”

The move is part of the council’s work, alongside other key organisations like Rochdale BID, to support the reopening of town centres as lockdown continues to ease.

The cleaning of pavements and street furniture has been stepped up and the council’s licensing team have been visiting businesses across the town centres to offer support and guidance around how to reopen safely.

A consultation on the repositioning of the taxi rank will take place and people will be able to feed in their views on the council’s website.

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