A major regeneration project which will create 1,000 new homes, over 135,000m2 of employment space and a new link road to junction 19 of the M62, has been given the green light.

It includes the creation of a new primary school, provision for 15% affordable homes, eight hectares of public open space, including a multi-use games area and sports pitches, and a cash contribution to improve facilities at Heywood Sports village.

A new 2.2km single carriageway between Pilsworth Road and the roundabout at junction 19 of the M62 will create direct access to Heywood Distribution Park, reduce motorway congestion at Simister and divert HGVs away from local roads and Heywood town centre.

The scheme, which it is estimated will be worth £175m a year to the local economy when complete, will create around 2,800 full time equivalent jobs.

A planning application which was approved by Rochdale Borough Council in 2018, subject to the completion of a section 106 agreement, has now been signed off by all parties, which includes Trafford-based house builder Russell Homes.

Tenders have been received for building the new road and a main contractor is expected to be appointed within the next two months, with plans to start on site towards the end of summer.

The road and employment space is expected to be complete sometime in 2022, with the entire project due for completion by 2035.

The development will kickstart the Northern Gateway project which aims to rebalance the economy of Greater Manchester by creating new housing and employment opportunities along the M62 corridor.

When completed, the Northern Gateway will be the biggest employment site in the region, with 1.2m2 of employment space, around 10,000 new jobs and up to 3,900 new homes.

The project is being funded by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Highways England and the private sector.

Rochdale council leader Allen Brett said: “Times are very challenging at present, but we want Rochdale to emerge from this even stronger. That’s why it’s vital that we plough ahead, wherever we can, with long term regeneration projects like this, which will be the source of major future prosperity for our borough and its residents.”

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