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Councillors approve game-changing town centre development in Rochdale

posted 11 Apr 2017, 01:52 by Rochdale TC   [ updated 11 Apr 2017, 02:02 ]

Councillors have approved multi-million plans for a new shopping and leisure development in the heart of Rochdale.

The move is another step forward for the Rochdale Riverside project. Phase one of the scheme is in excess of 200,000 square feet, and will bring around 24 shops, restaurants and a new cinema into the town centre.

Next, Reel Cinemas and M&S have already signed up to the development, which will also have 340 parking spaces.

The scheme, which is being led by Genr8, in partnership with Kajima and Rochdale Borough Council, is a key part of a £250m regeneration package, which has transformed Rochdale town centre since 2011.

The extension of Metrolink to the heart of the town centre, the re-opening of the River Roch, the opening of the sixth form college and the new transport interchange are all part of the £250m programme, which the Riverside scheme completes.

A new market, operated by specialists, Quarterbridge, is also due to open on the Butts, next to the reopened river, later this year.

Cllr Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “This is yet more progress for this important development, which will bring high street names that are not currently represented in Rochdale, as well as thriving restaurants and a cinema, which will create a fantastic destination for our residents and visitors. It will also boost our local economy by more than £17m and create around 1,000 jobs.”

Mike Smith, Partner at Genr8 Developments, said: “We’ve worked very closely with the council on Rochdale Riverside to ensure that our approach to this important scheme is in line with its own aspirations for the site and the borough. We recognise that this scheme will play a significant role in the regeneration of Rochdale and it is therefore imperative that we attract the right mix of occupiers to boost the local economy and establish Rochdale as a key leisure and retail destination.”

Councillors also approved outline plans for phase 2 of the scheme, which will see a further investment into the town centre, with the potential for new offices, a hotel, apartments and commercial uses.

As with most major and significant applications, the application will be referred to the secretary of state for consideration, before a final decision notice is issued.

Work is expected to start on the site in Smith Street in autumn 2017


‘Party of the decade’ – Rochdale Feel Good Festival returns for 2017

posted 28 Feb 2017, 08:07 by Rochdale TC

The countdown to Rochdale Feel Good Festival 2017 has begun with the confirmation of the date for this year’s blockbuster summer event.

The festival - celebrating its 10th birthday - will return on Saturday 12 August, confirmed organisers Rochdale Borough Council, who are promising another incredible showcase of entertainment, food and culture.

Past Feel Good performers include The Fratellis, The South, Scouting for Girls, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Toploader, The Feeling, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Badly Drawn Boy and The Lightning Seeds. 

 The 2017 festival will include live music across indoor venues, a main stage against the backdrop of the town hall, a quality food market and family entertainment. 

 The festival is funded by the council together with sponsorship from local businesses.

 Warm-up events will be held the day before the festival and earlier in August.

Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for culture, health and wellbeing said: “To celebrate its tenth birthday we will be delivering a really special Feel Good Festival, not just to mark the occasion but also to thank all the loyal visitors who have been coming down and supporting the festival come rain or shine during our amazing 10-year journey. Since 2008 this event has attracted many tens of thousands of people into town to enjoy fabulous live music, food, arts and entertainment and I’m looking forward to the party of the decade! It’s an unmissable festival for friends and family to enjoy, and always a good opportunity for local businesses to host their own event, so if you would like to be part of it, get in touch now, space is always in high demand.”

Once again a local band will get chance to play the main stage. Last year Rochdale feel good four piece ‘The Jackson Kay Band’ got the party started with a storming set on the Saturday afternoon. The competition will be launched in April with local acts encouraged to apply to win the coveted slot.

If you would like to get involved with the festival, email

For festival updates via Facebook, go to or connect with the festival on twitter @FeelGoodFest

Council set to appoint new market operator for Rochdale

posted 2 Feb 2017, 08:12 by Rochdale TC

Rochdale Borough Council has announced it intends to appoint market turnaround specialists Quarterbridge to take forward the redevelopment of Rochdale’s new market.

The decision means the ambition to create a thriving new market for Rochdale town centre is closer to being realised, with the council proposing to formally appoint the company in the coming weeks.

Consultants Quarterbridge were selected following a formal procurement process, with the council looking for an operator which can make the market an important part of a vibrant and successful town centre, helping to attract more visitors and focus on high-quality products, particularly fresh food.

Bidders were also asked to think about how they could promote and attract traders, and turn the market into a high-quality niche offer, to set it apart from other locations.

Councillor Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “What we want for Rochdale is a thriving market, which will be a focal point of our regenerated town centre and attract visitors from far and wide, as well as providing a great, high quality shopping offer for our residents, alongside our new shopping and leisure development, Rochdale Riverside.

“With many years of experience both advising and running markets up and down the country, we feel that Quarterbridge are in the best position to drive these plans forward.”

A planning application for the new market was submitted late last year, with plans to move it from its temporary base to a new, permanent location on the Butts next to the re-opened River Roch, with the potential to create an indoor market hall and trader facilities in the neighbouring former Santander building, which the council has now purchased. 

Lights, camera, action! Rochdale family could be stars for the day

posted 30 Jan 2017, 05:43 by Rochdale TC   [ updated 30 Jan 2017, 05:45 ]

Families across the borough are being given the chance to shape the future of one of the borough’s most important buildings as part of a unique council competition.

The hunt is on families to take part in a film that will be shown to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support the council’s bid for £15m to transform the iconic building.

The winning family will be shown around the town hall’s fascinating interior, while being filmed, to show how impressive the building is and what its restoration would mean for local residents.

As well as getting the chance to influence this important bid, the competition winners will be given the special prize of a private guided tour, away from the distraction of filming, at a time and date of their choosing. They will also be given a meal for up to five people in the town hall’s new Clock Tower Dining Room.

If successful, the HLF bid will enable the council to transform unused parts of the town hall into new publically accessible spaces, so more people can enjoy this fascinating building and the council can attract a wider range of residents and visitors. The grant would also help the council make extensive repairs to its stunning period features.

The video which the competition winners will be taking part in will be shown to HLF bosses when they visit the borough in March, ahead of them making a final decision on the council’s bid in April. The video may also be used more widely in future, to let members of the public know about our HLF bid.

Councillor Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Our winning family will be able to say that they are part of the town hall’s fascinating story and I think that’s a really exciting opportunity. It’s important to us and the Heritage Lottery Fund that our residents are part of this bid, so we’d love the community to get involved in this competition.

“The town hall has always been a focal point of Rochdale life and has played a huge role in our borough’s history. We want it to continue to be a big part of the Rochdale story for years to come and that’s why this lottery bid is so important.”

Entrants must be available for filming on Sunday 12 February and the competition closes at 12 noon on Monday 7 February. The winners will be drawn on Tuesday 8 February, with winners being contacted by phone within 24 hours of this date. Participants will need to be patient, as filming could take the whole afternoon.

Anyone who would like to enter their family for this competition can do so at:

16/01383/HYBR - Rochdale Riverside planning application

posted 6 Jan 2017, 08:06 by Rochdale TC   [ updated 6 Jan 2017, 08:17 ]

Hybrid application comprising comprehensive phased regeneration of Rochdale A) Detailed application for Phase One for erection of four commercial buildings and decked car park to provide retail, food and drink uses (Use Classes A1, A3 and A4, maximum 22,511 sq.m), cinema (Use Class D2, maximum 1,797 sq.m), gym (Use Class D2, maximum 2,018 sq.m) together with new service road and junction at John Street, ancillary uses, servicing and common areas, landscaping and infrastructure; and for B) Outline application (all matters reserved) for Phase Two for erection of four buildings to provide retail, food and drink (Use Classes A1, A3, A4 and A5 maximum 1,000 sq.m), offices / commercial (Use Classes A2 and B1, maximum 4,000 sq.m), residential uses (Use Class C3, maximum 100 dwellings), hotel use (Use Class C1, maximum 120 bedrooms), and leisure (Use Class D1, maximum 500 sq.m) together with associated car parking, ancillary uses, landscaping and infrastructure. (Application accompanied by an Environmental Statement). | Rochdale Riverside Land Bound By Smith Street To South, John Street To East, Rear Of Yorkshire Street To North, Penn Street And Baillie Street To Northwest And Constantine Road To West Rochdale

Using their loaf: couple open new bakery in Rochdale following council support

posted 23 Dec 2016, 01:45 by Rochdale TC

A new independent bakery has opened in the heart of Rochdale town centre as part of the council’s business rates sale.

Food lovers have snapped up an early Christmas present, with the Laughing Loaf opening in the Walk, selling traditional Lancashire treats like Eccles cakes, Manchester tart and hotpot.

And owners Rachel Goodyear and Patrick Jarrett, will be saving a lot of dough, having taken advantage of the council scheme, which offers new independent businesses 80 per cent off their rates in the first year of trading, followed by a 50 per cent discount in year two and a 30 per cent off in the third year.

The sale has already brought scores of new businesses into the town centre, including restaurant CockaDoodleMoo and shoe repair and key cutting business Shoemaster. It was extended to Middleton and Heywood earlier this year.

Rachael and Patrick have been selling their goods, which they source from independent bakeries across Lancashire, on Rochdale Market for two years and have built up a loyal following. They also run a regular stall on Middleton Market on Tuesdays, but the council’s rates sale gave them the vital additional ingredient they needed to make the move from market stall to shop. And, with some support from Rochdale Town Centre Management, they have now moved in and set up shop, just in time for the festive season.

Rachel said: “Without the council’s rates sale, we wouldn’t have been an able to open this shop, because the costs of setting up in a unit for the first time are so high. It was a great opportunity for us.

“We’ve only been here a few days and we’ve been really busy. We’ve got a full list of orders for mince pies and fresh bread, which people want for Christmas, and we’re already looking to use all the space we have here to start selling fresh sandwiches, hot and cold lunch and breakfast options and Jamaican delicacies in the new year.

“Independent businesses are a really important part of the high street and people are responding well to us. None of our food is mass produced, and some of our customers just pop in for a chat and some company, which you wouldn’t necessarily be able to do in larger stores.

Council leader, Councillor Richard Farnell, said: “While our £250m regeneration programme will bring the well-known names we desperately need into Rochdale, independent businesses are an equally important part of any quality high street.

“But the huge cost of setting up in a unit for the first time means that having a proper high base is often beyond their reach for many of these small businesses. That’s why we set up this initiative, to give them the push they needed to invest in Rochdale and turn our empty units into thriving businesses.”

Businesses which would like to find out more about the council’s rates sale and other support available, can visit:

Flowing along nicely: Rochdale town centre’s regeneration praised following River Roch award

posted 29 Nov 2016, 07:50 by Rochdale TC

A national planning expert has said that the best is yet to come for Rochdale during a special tour of the town centre.

Phil Williams, President of the RPTI (Royal Town Planning Institute) made the comment during a visit to Rochdale, after the river re-opening scheme scooped the RPTI’s prestigious award for Excellence in Planning for the Natural Environment.

Mr Williams heard about Rochdale town centre’s £250m regeneration programme, which has changed the area beyond recognition since it started in 2010.

Mr Williams, who is also Director of Planning and Place at Belfast City Council, said: “Rochdale is looking fantastic and it’s clear that the best is yet to come. In my experience, once you’ve achieved big things, like the river-re-opening, there’s a real momentum behind you and achieving even more starts to become a lot easier.

“Rochdale town centre is a great example of physical regeneration and there’s a lot more in the pipeline, including plans for the restoration of the town hall and the new Rochdale Market. I’m sure that these future projects will be as successful as the obvious recent achievements.”

Mr William’s comments cement a growing national confidence in Rochdale town centre, following the recent news that the borough’s council building, central library and customer service centre, Number one Riverside, will host the Natural History Museum’s famous Diplodocus dinosaur cast when it goes on a national tour for the first time.

The borough’s flagship regeneration scheme, the new shopping and leisure facility, Rochdale Riverside, has also taken a major step forward in recent weeks, with a detailed planning application being submitted to the council.

Councillor Jacqui Beswick, Deputy Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “There was some doubt around aspects of our regeneration plans, like the river re-opening, but I think it’s really exceeded people’s expectations. Lots of people have come to the town centre just to see it. I think people understand that we are building a better Rochdale town centre and we’ve got off to a cracking start.”

Michael Howarth, owner of new Rochdale wine bar, Vicolo Del Vino, said: “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the river re-opening. It’s really improved the town centre. I’m doing much better than I expected to and now I’m looking into opening an additional business in the town centre.”

Rochdale’s 2020 vision helps secure world famous exhibit

posted 18 Nov 2016, 05:54 by Rochdale TC   [ updated 18 Nov 2016, 06:14 ]

One of the most famous museum exhibits in the world is heading to Rochdale as part of an unprecedented national tour.

The Natural History Museum’s famous diplodocus skeleton ‘Dippy’, which has been seen by tens of millions of visitors since it was first presented to the museum in 1905, is leaving the museum for the first time to go on a tour of the UK, and Rochdale’s Number One Riverside has been selected as one of just eight host venues around the country.

The council’s award-winning customer service centre, office building and central library will welcome Dippy from February to June 2020 and will be the only North West stop on the tour.

Rochdale was selected following a competitive bidding process, which saw 90 venues from across the country apply to host the iconic exhibit. The bid was led by Rochdale Borough Council in partnership with Touchstones Rochdale Museum and Art Gallery.
The main aim of the tour, which is being supported by The Garfield Weston Foundation, is to use Dippy as a way of inspiring people to get involved in science and encourage more youngsters to study the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and take up careers in STEM industries.

Cultural and educational activities focussed around the key themes of origins and evolution, sustainability and climate change and biodiversity will be put on at each venue to coincide with Dippy’s stay.

Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for Culture, Health and Wellbeing at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “This must be the first time an internationally famous museum exhibit has been placed in a council building and I think it is fantastic. In doing this, both ourselves and the Natural History Museum are bringing the natural collection right to people’s doorstep and that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our young people, many of whom would not be able to see these incredible artefacts in their usual home.

“Rochdale might seem like an unconventional location for Dippy, but we have a compelling story to tell. As a place which was at the forefront of the industrial revolution, we inadvertently damaged the environment, but we are now leading the way in a sustainable development and our host venue Number One Riverside, which has a number of environmentally friendly features, is probably the best example of that.”

Darren Grice, Head of Culture, Health and Participation at Link4Life, said: “At Touchstones Rochdale we are always looking for opportunities to excite, educate and inspire people through learning about our past and thinking about our future. Hosting Dippy in Rochdale provides us with a unique opportunity to do just this. Not only will people across the North West be blown away by the awe inspiring scale of a Dippy, we can create a real conversation around climate change, biodiversity and their impact on the world in which we live.”

Katrina Nilsson, Head of National Public Programmes at the Natural History Museum, said: “Rochdale is the perfect location for the Dippy on Tour. Nestled in the Pennines, this market town has a long history of industry and scientific endeavour. As the Natural History Museum’s tour partner in the North West we are sure Rochdale will attract people from across the region to come and see Dippy, and most importantly, to get out and explore nature on their doorstep.”

To find out more about Dippy on Tour in Rochdale, including how businesses can support the visit, please visit: 

Rochdale Riverside planning application submitted

posted 18 Nov 2016, 00:02 by Rochdale TC   [ updated 23 Nov 2016, 07:49 ]


Rochdale’s new shopping and leisure centre, Rochdale Riverside, has taken a major step forward, with a detailed planning application on the development being submitted to the council.


The application outlines detailed plans by developers Genr8 for the scheme, which has already signed high street giants M&S and Next, alongside Reel cinema.


The £60m development will comprise around 24 retail and leisure units, as well as a six screen cinema and 350 new parking spaces.


The final stage of demolition to clear the site is also well underway, with Telegraph House expected to have disappeared from the Rochdale skyline by Christmas.


Residents can view the plans and speak to representatives from the developer’s design team at an exhibition in Number One Riverside, Smith Street, Rochdale on Monday 28 November from 11am to 7pm. 


After that date, the exhibition will remain on display for two weeks.  


Councillor Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “This is a hugely important milestone for the regeneration of our town centre. The new stores and high street names will attract new shoppers back to town and give a massive boost to all retailers. It's a unique mix of retail and leisure which will create 1,000 new jobs and boost the local economy by £17M.


"This is a red letter day for Rochdale and yet more evidence in the turnaround of the fortunes of our town centre.


"Rochdale Riverside is an important part of our £250m regeneration programme, which has transformed Rochdale beyond all recognition since 2010. The development is a key part of Rochdale town centre’s £250m regeneration programme, which includes the re-opening of the River Roch and the construction of Rochdale Borough Council’s award winning customer service centre, library and office building, Number One Riverside.


The latest news is another boost to the shopping offer in Rochdale, coming just weeks after the submission of a planning application for a new Rochdale Market on the Butts and in the former Santander building, which adjoins the site.


The Rochdale Riverside planning application and supporting documents will be available to view online on the council’s planning website from Monday 28 November. People who would like to look at a shorter summary of the plans can view them at:


The application is expected to be considered early in the New Year and construction works are programmed to start by late summer 2017.


Old Rochdale tradition still burning bright

posted 14 Nov 2016, 01:34 by Rochdale TC   [ updated 14 Nov 2016, 01:43 ]

A pair of historic ornate lamps which originally stood outside the Mayor of Rochdale’s home during their term in office are back show in the town.

The mayoral lamps were last lit in 2003, but got damaged and were put in storage. The Friends of Rochdale Town Hall have since tracked them down and paid for their repair.

Now, following restoration by a master craftsman, the eight-feet-high lamps are back in top condition and shining brightly from their new home outside Rochdale Town Hall.

The tradition of mayoral lamps is shrouded in mystery, but it is thought to have originated from the proposal from Edward Taylor, who was mayor of Rochdale in 1891, to pay mayors a small allowance. This proposal, which was passed, meant that people from modest backgrounds could become mayor for the first time. The idea of mayoral lamps may have been to serve as a reminder that mayors were ordinary people, who lived in the community that they served.

Although it is not known when the tradition of mayoral lamps started in Rochdale, historic photos show them on display outside the home of Alderman Thomas E Kershaw in the early 1930s.

Councillor Richard Farnell, Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Rochdale’s fascinating heritage is one of its greatest strengths and our beautiful grade I listed town hall is the focal point of this.

“Our friends group has done a fantastic job in tracking these down and organising their restoration and it’s very appropriate to have them on show again in such a historic part of our town centre.”

Bob Brierley from the Friends of Rochdale Town Hall (FoRTH group), said: “I’m so pleased that these mayoral lamps are back. I’m pretty sure mayoral lamps have never been used anywhere else, so they’re a fantastic part of Rochdale’s heritage. I think they look great right in front of our beautiful town hall.

“Our next project is to restore the paintings of the first three mayors, which are in the town hall, and we’re already well on our way with this.”
Master craftsman John Wade, who restored the lamps at his cast iron workshop in Lincolnshire, said that the repairs had revealed detailed engravings of sheep and stars on the lamps.

He added: “I’ve never heard of Mayoral lamps before, but it seems like a lovely tradition.”

The Friends of Rochdale Town Hall (FoRTH) group, are a group of volunteers who have an interest in the heritage of the town hall and helping to restore the building.

Anyone who would like to find out more about becoming a member can visit their facebook page at or find them on twitter @FoRTH1871

To take a virtual tour of Rochdale Town Hall or find out about the regular guided tours visit

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