Historic park to get £1.6m makeover as plans are approved

Date published: 02 July 2024

The historic Broadfield Slopes in the centre of Rochdale will soon be transformed after £1.6m plans were given the green light.

The site, which forms part of the Grade-II listed park which runs behind the town hall, is currently seen as ‘dangerous’ and a ‘hive of anti-social behaviour’. Proposals include plans for a new platform for event space with seating at the centre of the transformation.

In addition to the stage, new footways will be lined with trees and planters designed to spruce up the area leading to the historic Packer Spout feature. 

The existing pool at the top will be cleaned up and expanded to create an ecological pond which can be used by the local school and community for education. The existing drainage channel will be cleaned up and restored with stone edging to visually demonstrate the water link between the pond and Packer Spout. 

Better lighting and an expanded CCTV network are also included to deter crime and anti-social behaviour in the area. The council’s public consultation found that people think the area is unsafe – and regeneration plans are aiming to change that.


A historic view of the Broadfield slopes
A historic view of the Broadfield slopes


At last week’s council cabinet meeting, £879,390 of National Lottery Heritage Funding was approved for the restoration – matching what the council themselves put in. The project, which has been ongoing since 2021, is worth £1,680,471 in total.

Following cabinet approval of the funds, a decision of approval from the planning team at the council has swiftly followed.

Planning papers read: “There has been a keenness for local people to be involved in the upkeep and so areas of existing vegetation have been identified which can be managed by the local community and developed into a coppiced woodland. The feature curved wall in Packer Spout has been retained.

“A new feature tree will be planted to recreate this focal point from Town Hall Square, as local people had strong memories of taking photos by the tree that was once located here. Concerns were raised regarding anti-social behaviour and the design has reacted to that by including more robust design choices.

“Light columns instead of illuminated bollards will be more resistant to vandalism, sight lines have been kept clear to enhance natural surveillance and artwork and interpretation will be built into furniture and surfaces. The existing CCTV network will be extended to cover the main area of Broadfield Slopes to provide further deterrent.”

George Lythgoe, Local Democracy Reporter

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