Middleton Conservation Area added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register
Date published: 10 November 2023
Photo: Historic England
Middleton Conservation Area - roundabout where Market Place, Eastway and Long Street meet
The Middleton Conservation Area has been added to Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register 2023, which gives an annual snapshot of the health of England’s valued historic buildings and places.
Over the past year, six historic buildings and sites have been added to the Register in the North West because they are at risk of neglect, decay or inappropriate development and three sites have been saved and their futures secured.
Covering the pre-industrial core of the town, Middleton’s conservation area includes many notable buildings. This includes a selection of works by the prominent Arts and Crafts architect, Edgar Wood.
Middleton’s historic retail area is centred in Long Street and Market Place, behind which sits Jubilee Park and the Grade-I listed medieval church of St Leonard's. Historic industrial buildings include Lodge Mill.
Historic England says the conservation area has seen “some loss of historical character,” especially on Long Street and Market Place, as well as some vacant buildings, including the Grade-II listed Providence Chapel.
Highways alterations from the last century have made it more difficult for people to walk across the area easily, which has led to areas like Market Place “not reaching their full potential.”
Rochdale Borough Council plans to tackle these challenges as part of Middleton’s Masterplan which was signed off earlier in the year.
The council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund also recently worked together on the Townscape Heritage Initiative, which resulted in the restoration of a number of historic buildings in Middleton town centre, including the Long Street Methodist Church.
Working alongside Rochdale Council, Historic England is now funding a combined grant of £35,000 which will build on this work by exploring how some of the other buildings, still in need of support, can be brought back into use. This will help further regenerate the area and encourage improvements to other local buildings.
The Middleton Conservation Area Regeneration Plan and the Middleton Town Centre Masterplan both include the development of a new heritage trail to help members of the local community get involved with the regeneration and revitalisation of the area.
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