Rochdale Council reveal ambitious Town Centre re-development plans

Rochdale council is forging ahead with ambitious plans to develop the area around the town’s railway station despite losing out on £20m in ‘Levelling Up’ cash.

The authority has confirmed it has submitted a planning application for the multi-million-pound scheme – including images of a new public square that will form its centrepiece.

The area, which is a key gateway into the borough, will also benefit from new signage intended to better connect people to the town centre and wider area.

Street art and enhanced lighting is also proposed.

Improved walking and cycling routes would form part of a regenerated Milkstone and Deeplish, where an active travel trial recently got underway in the area.

Coun John Blundell, cabinet member for economy and regeneration, says Station Square is ‘a really important part of the borough and the first place many of our visitors see when they arrive.’

He said: “ At the moment, it’s an underwhelming space, which does little to hint at the fantastic town centre and wider area which lies just beyond.

“By relocating traffic from directly in front of the station, we’ll create a really attractive space where people can relax and enjoy the area and businesses will benefit from the extra footfall and space. It will also better connect it to the town centre and enable people to get around more easily and sustainably.”

Bosses hope the new space will act as a catalyst for further investment, supporting the wider regeneration strategy in place for the town and the borough.

The proposals are part of a wider rail strategy, which aims to regenerate brownfield areas around the borough’s five railway stations by creating 7,000 new homes and one million square metres of new employment space.

Bosses hope that, in addition to a new square, more than 1,000 new homes could also be built near to the station,  together with new green spaces.

This would include more than 200 apartments and houses on the site of the former Central Retail Park, which is currently a derelict brownfield site.

The development –  to be known as Station Gardens – was also part of the recent levelling up bid which was rejected by the government.

However, the council still plans to push ahead  with it and is now looking at different ways of delivering the scheme.

The proposals are intended to complement other recent regeneration schemes in the area, including the multi million pound refurbishment of the Greater Fire Service Museum and ongoing work to redevelop Drake Street, as part of the Heritage Action Zone initiative.

A brand new pocket park is also set to be created on disused platforms at Rochdale train station, with designers due to consult with community groups in the coming months, as they start to work up plans.

If the planning application is approved, work on Station Square will begin later this year.

The redevelopment of Station Square is being led by Rochdale Development Agency on behalf of Rochdale council. Broadway Malyan are the architects, with Nexus as planning consultants and Faithful and Gould as cost managers.


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