Rochdale town centre is set to transform beyond recognition in the coming months now that contractors have been appointed to start the demolition of the old Municipal Offices and Bus Station.
The demolition will clear the way for Genr8’s proposed new mixed use retail and leisure development in the heart of the town centre close to the new Transport Interchange which opened in November 2013, and town centre Metrolink stop, which is on track to open in spring.
The task of demolishing the structures that have dominated Rochdale’s skyline since the 1970s will fall to Connell Brothers Ltd, of Salford, who expect the project to take around nine months to complete.
Preparatory works have been taking place over the last few weeks, and Connell Brothers are now getting the site ready for the main demolition works. Work to remove the two ramps to the car park above the old bus station will start in late February ahead of the main demolition works starting in early March.
When the main demolition gets under way the Multi Storey Car Park and old Bus Station will be the first area to be demolished followed by the old Municipal Offices. The demolition of the old black box will be a delicate task for Connell’s who will have to first internally strip out the building before covering it with scaffolding and dismantling it from the top down because of its proximity to Metrolink and other buildings in the town centre, as well as pavements and roads.
Hoardings are being placed around the demolition site and will be decorated with colourful designs promoting the town centre and giving people directions to key locations.
The webcam which was previously stationed on top of the old municipal offices has now been moved to the Number One Riverside to give people a unique insight into the next stage of work in the town centre. The webcam images can be viewed at: www.rochdaletowncentre.com
Shoppers can take advantage of the free shuttle bus which was recently launched on a three month trial to help people get around the rapidly changing town centre. The bus leaves stand c in the bus station every 20 minutes between 8.05am and 5.05pm, following a circular route which stops on Newgate near the post office building and Hunter’s Lane near the Baum and the Pioneers’ Museum.
A map of walking routes as well as detail on car parks across the town centre can be found at www.rochdaletowncentre.com
As part of the transformation, work will also soon begin on a new entrance for The Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre on Baillie Street which is expected to be completed by the end of November 2014.
Councillor Peter Williams, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “This is a big step forward in the regeneration of Rochdale town centre. It’s the end of an era for many well-known buildings but is also a much needed move into the 21st century which I’m sure will be welcomed by many.
“I’d like to thank our businesses and shoppers for their patience during the inevitable disruption and am pleased to say that the end result will be a significantly better town centre for all of us.”
Steve Balyski, Operations manager of Connell Brothers Ltd, said:
“We have a wealth of experience working in restrictive city centre environments throughout the UK. The team who will be working on the Rochdale project has been responsible for the virtual re-modelling of large parts of the city centre of Manchester including Mosley Street where we successfully demolished Elisabeth House, the former Royal Bank of Scotland and Eagle Star House. “This experience means we’re in a really good position to make the huge changes required in Rochdale while minimising disruption for the public and keeping them safe.”