are being asked for their views on £16m plans to transform Rochdale's Grade I
listed town hall, as the council prepares to submit a new bid to the Heritage
Lottery Fund (HLF).
The 145-year-old building is widely regarded as one of the finest town halls in
the country and besides council meetings is regularly used for TV and film
locations, weddings, tours and other showcase events.
Designed by William Henry Crossland and built in the Gothic Revival style
at a cost of £160,000 (£13.4 million in 2016), the building was described by
authoritative art historian Nikolaus Pevsner as having a "rare
But the council is bidding for funds to make a number of improvements so the
borough’s residents and visitors can more out of the nationally-important
The improvements include:
up parts of the building that are currently closed to the public
a new ‘lesser hall’ for smaller functions and community events in what was
originally the library
the old police cells and fire station into a bar/restaurant, run as a
co-operative or social enterprise
the Great Hall, including the impressive Magna Carta mural and ornate ceiling
and extending the Zodiac Bar and providing new toilets on all floors to better
support events and activities
accessibility to all parts of the building by adding extra lifts and opening up
previously hidden spaces
The council’s initial bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund was rejected late last year,
as 12 different organisations across the country collectively bid for £142m
from a £54m pot.
The council’s revised bid will be submitted in December this year, with public
feedback forming an important part of the application.
Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for culture, health and wellbeing at
Rochdale Borough Council, said: “We’re incredibly proud of the town hall and
take our role as its custodians very seriously.
“We’ve already made big changes since our last bid, including opening the
hugely popular Clock Tower restaurant and moving the Rochdale Music Service
into the building. But we’d like to do so much more and we won’t be able to
without the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“Public feedback is a very important part of the bid, so we would urge people
to get behind us by filling out our online survey.”
The survey can be viewed and filled in at rochdale.gov.uk/consultations.
Further information about the town hall, including events and how to book a
tour, can be found at rochdale.gov.uk/townhall
Anyone without access to a computer who would like to fill the survey in can
contact Neil Eccles, Heritage Project Officer, on 01706 927044.
The closing date for the consultation is 31 October.