Rochdale’s revealing the Roch project has been shortlisted for a top planning award.
The council’s scheme to reopen the River Roch in Rochdale town centre and reveal its historic bridge, which has been hidden for more than century, has been shortlisted in the heritage category of the 2016 RPTI (Royal Town Planning Institute’s) Planning Excellence awards.
The project, which, has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Environment Agency and the North West Regional and Coastal Flood Committee, will now be vying for the top heritage prize against the likes of the Holyhead Townscape Heritage Initiative in Wales and the Nottingham Heritage Strategy.
Councillor Richard Farnell, Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Revealing the Roch is a unique project which will significantly improve the already fantastic heritage we have here in Rochdale borough. We’re very proud to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award. It’s great to see that the experts in the field see the obvious historic value of this scheme and the really hard work which has gone into making it a reality.”
The RPTI represents 23,000 planners worldwide and the awards recognise excellence in the field.
Finalists have been recognised for their national contribution to planning and demonstrate how significant schemes can be delivered speedily through the planning and other consents systems.
Phil Williams, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute said: “The finalists highlight outstanding examples of planning that have made a positive impact on the local community and environment. The judges will find it difficult separating the finalists and choosing winners given the high calibre of entries this year.”
Rochdale’s entry highlighted the key benefits of the scheme, which include a £5.02m future saving from reduced flood risk and the local economic benefit, with the project expected bring around £6.72m into the local economy over ten years. The submission also highlighted the fact that the project will reduce the maintenance costs of looking after the culvert and bridge, saving the council around £3.13m over the next 30 years.
Work to reveal the river and bridge, which began in spring 2015, is expected to be complete in May this year.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on 5 May