Rochdale Borough Council’s new state-of- the- art customer services centre, library and offices opens its doors to the public this week (Wednesday 13 March, 2013).
The stunning £50m development along the River Roch is called Number One Riverside and is a ‘one-stop-shop’ where residents can complete their council business in one visit to just one location.
Rochdale Borough Council Leader, Colin Lambert, said “I’m delighted to announce that we’re now open to the public in a way we never have been before. Number One Riverside will help us deliver better services to our customers through the joining up of services that were previously based in separate buildings. And it offers so much more than that. It’s a real community space for the benefit of local people. We look forward to our staff and customers making full use of the facilities on offer.”
Number One Riverside will house over 2000 members of staff from the council, NHS and key local partners such as Rochdale Development Agency (RDA) for more efficient and collaborative working. It is expected to save the council approximately £1 million per year over the next 40 years through closing old, inefficient buildings, reduced maintenance and lower running costs.
The building has two wings, one on each side of a full glass atrium. On the ground floor there is a new public library offering a wide range of books, CDs and DVDs for loan, free internet access and Wi-Fi. It is now more accessible for people with disabilities as previously the library was split over three floors. The library also runs a series of public events and adult training sessions for example; reading groups and computing courses. The new building provides an inspirational learning environment. Library event details can be found at www.rochdale.gov.uk/libraries where you can also join online.
Also occupying the ground floor is the council’s Customer Services Centre which has relocated to the new building on Smith Street from the former Municipal Offices, known locally as ‘the black box’. Customers can access advice about council services, arrange council payments or investigate benefit and housing entitlements and much more. Details of how customer services staff can help can be found online at www.rochdale.gov.uk. There are free-standing self-service terminals where visitors can access advice and information via touchscreen computers.
The upper floors house new modern offices that can only be accessed by key cards improving the security of staff and all confidential data and documentation. Meeting rooms and conference facilities are also available for local people and community groups to use.
Number One Riverside is a multi-use building, combining practical working accommodation with leisure facilities including; a coffee shop with a riverside terrace and in time a new restaurant. The building has been designed and is made of materials that make the best use of heat and natural light helping to reduce carbon emissions and savings in energy usage and cost. Its high specification sets the standard for all future town centre developments.
Staff are moving into the building in a phased approach. Once all staff have fully relocated the old Municipal Offices, Telegraph House and the bus station will be demolished to make way for the proposed new multi-million pound, 150,000 sq ft retail development.
Councillor Lambert continued: “The new building is at the heart of plans to regenerate the town centre and will help transform the Smith Street area. This is a high specification building that is a real asset we’re confident will keep its value. It will be a base that many organisations and companies will work from. But most importantly it will provide local people with an enjoyable environment to visit and interact with our staff.”