Members of St Andrew’s Methodist and United Reformed Church are about to see work start on their new church, which should be completed by the end of the year.
The church, currently on Smith Street, is relocating to make way for the next phase of the £250million regeneration of Rochdale town centre.
The new site, on Entwisle Road where the former Central Leisure Centre used to be, has been secured with the help of Rochdale Development Agency, which is co-ordinating the redevelopment of the town centre, and Rochdale Borough Council.
The building will be multi-functional, providing flexible space along with a café area to enable the church to continue to play an active part in the community. It is being developed by Globe Construction to high environmental standards and the design includes an air-source heat pump that absorbs heat from the outside air. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems and hot water, reducing the church’s running costs. The building will also have a car park for 29 cars, including three disabled spaces.
Councillor Peter Williams, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Planning, said: “I’m delighted that construction of the new church is getting underway and that through working with Rochdale Development Agency and the Council we were able to find a suitable location. The area along Smith Street is vital to the redevelopment of the town centre. The demolition of the bus station, the car park and surrounding buildings will give us the space we need to transform the retail and leisure offer.”
The Revd Carolyn White, United Reformed Church Minister at St Andrew’s, said: “This is a really exciting time for St Andrew’s. There’s been a church on our present site for more than 150 years and we’re delighted to be staying in the town centre. I’m really impressed by the newly built leisure centre and municipal offices – and as we are expecting a comparable standard and finish we consider ourselves to be very fortunate indeed. It’s going to be great to see work start and we’re hoping it will be completed around Christmas time, allowing us to move in at the start of 2014.”
Autumn will see the opening of the transport interchange on Smith Street, on the opposite side of the River Roch to Number One Riverside. Metrolink will start running to Smith Street next year and demolition of the bus station, adjacent car park and former Municipal Offices will get underway.
To keep up to date with developments in the town centre, road closures and car parking visit www.rochdaletowncentre.com or on twitter @RochdaleCentre