Planning submitted to redevelop Hollingworth Lake Visitor Centre to Rochdale's new RSPCA Animal Centre

Date published: 13 April 2021

Planning permission has been submitted to transform the Hollingworth Lake Visitor Centre into a new home for the Rochdale RSPCA Animal Centre.

The plans propose redeveloping the centre to provide animal welfare facilities to enable the RSPCA to continue to provide animal care and rehoming services to the borough of Rochdale and wider area.

Under the plans, a larger dog-friendly café and a new meeting room( bookable for community groups and schools) overlooking the lake would be created.

A small number of dog kennels and an exercise area (separated from the general public areas but accessible externally by RSPCA wardens) is also proposed, as is secure overnight on-site accommodation for RSPCA staff to tend to animals overnight.


Hollingworth Lake Visitor Centre proposals from RSPCA
Hollingworth Lake Visitor Centre - image of draft proposals from September 2020


It is hoped that the new location at the lake would lead to an increase in revenue – enabling the centre to help more animals in need – as well as an increase in those wishing to rehome a pet.

New self-contained accommodation to support the existing park rangers would be created alongside new modern public toilets, which would be fully accessible for public and general use from outdoors.

It was revealed last September that the Rochdale Animal Centre had been offered the opportunity to move to premises at the lake by Rochdale Borough Council and Link4Life.

The visitor centre will be refurbished as part of the partnership arrangements agreed, providing a modern facility for Rochdale & District RSPCA, which will allow it to further enhance its services.

The centre has been located on Redcross Street in central Rochdale since September 1939, recently celebrating its 80th anniversary, and the RSPCA has been looking for the opportunity to develop a brand new up-to-date facility as well as improving opportunities for local people to visit and learn about animal welfare.

Local mutual housing society RBH reached an agreement with the RSPCA to purchase the current Redcross Street site, as part of its plans to regenerate the Lower Falinge neighbourhood.

RBH will bring forward plans for new homes on the RSPCA site, along with other land acquired in the area, in the near future.

A bat survey will be completed in May, ahead of the application being heard at a planning meeting.

David Canavan, Vice Chair of Rochdale RSPCA, said: "This is a really wonderful project. The RSPCA has been supported in our animal welfare work by the people of Rochdale since the Rochdale Branch was established in 1890. We are really looking forward to working with our partners, Rochdale Borough Council, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing and Link4Life to provide some new facilities at Hollingworth Lake including a new café, an attractive meeting room and high quality public toilets together with a really excellent animal centre. The partnership will also facilitate an opportunity to introduce new affordable housing in the centre of Rochdale."

Clare Tostevin, RBH Director of Growth, said: "We're really pleased that another step has been taken towards relocating Rochdale Animal Centre to their new modern facility. By working together with the Council, Link4Life, and the RSPCA, we're helping the RSPCA to develop and improve their services as well as delivering new high-quality affordable homes in Rochdale town centre."

Donna Bowler, assistant director (place) at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “We’re delighted that this collaborative project is moving forward as part of our wider regeneration programme that can only enhance the offering at Hollingworth Lake Country Park.  This new facility will allow the RSPCA to provide continued top-level care for animals in need, coupled with a quality education centre and updated facilities for our park rangers, residents and visitors.

“What a great way to learn more about animal welfare and the natural environment - sympathetically set in an ideal location. The centre will add another string to the lake’s bow on top of the wonderful facilities already on offer at this much-loved beauty spot.”

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