Making the town centre the heartbeat of Rochdale
Rochdale Development Agency’s latest business roundtable shone a light on the importance of the town centre regeneration to the town’s placemaking agenda.
Much has been written about Rochdale’s £80m Riverside retail and leisure development, which will be opened next year, but it’s only one very important piece of a bigger jigsaw.
Rochdale Borough Council has exciting plans for the town centre regeneration, including delivery of 228 apartments in an initial phase followed by a hotel and offices. Last month the Greater Manchester Combined Authority announced it will back the mixed-use development with a £4m funding package, allowing work to begin next summer. The council is investing the same amount to make the vision a reality.
Business is a key platform of Rochdale’s placemaking and the fourth in our series of monthly roundtables canvassed their views of local companies on what they want to see in the town centre.
Gavin Reynolds, founder, Recruitment Solutions (NW) said: “The key is ensuring the town continues to build on the momentum that has been built and gather pace with the peak being the new Riverside development and making sure it’s marketed properly. Compared to 10 years ago that are a lot of big businesses in Rochdale that are highly successful and making good money. We have to focus on retaining and growing the business presence.”
Aaron Dixon, founder, The Paper Concept, said: “I believe that we can make something positive happen in Rochdale. We have the new Riverside development happening. We do need to look after Drake Street [part of a five-year Heritage Action Zone] and Yorkshire Street. We also need some offices in the town centre to increase footfall.”
Tracey Wood, head of business development, Hopwood Hall College, said: “One of the key strengths in Rochdale is the business community working together. There’s a huge opportunity for businesses to invest in skills and in people. There are two outstanding colleges in Rochdale.”
Terry Saliba, solutions architect, Evaris, said: “Having grown up in Rochdale and seen the changes I can definitely feel the positivity around the town centre. I think it would be helpful to have more business networking events in the town centre to bring more businesses into Rochdale.”
Jason Diamond, director of Reside Estate Agency, said: “There’s money in Rochdale. People will come into the centre from the outskirts if they feel safe and they’ve got destinations to go to. We need the gyms, nice restaurants and the right hotels.”
Colin Lambert, financial planner, True Potential Wealth Management, said: “We’ve got the tram in Rochdale so hopefully people will be getting on to the tram to come into Rochdale rather than getting on it to get out.”
Tim Fairley, managing director, PDS, said: “Rochdale as an area needs to shout louder to up its profile. We’ve got this new shopping centre being built. Let’s talk about the present and the future that is coming up. We’ve got to change the image to get the right people in.”
Richard Harris, director, Target Fire Protection, said: “The people of Rochdale need to promote Rochdale to generate good news stories across the borough. I’d like to see the area around the railway station developed.”
Peter Gaskell, of manufacturer Farrel, said: “For me I’m happy to see the improvements in Rochdale, especially over the last three-four years. I would like to see the town centre become the catalyst for the other parts of Rochdale.”
- Also attending the roundtable were Carol Hopkins, of the Rochdale Development Agency, and host Chris Maguire
Click any image to launch the full gallery of the event
The Natural History Museum's famous dinosaur, Dippy the Diplodocus, has been enthralling and exciting thousands of visitors at Number One Riverside, in Rochdale since February.
The borough is blessed with major employers like JD Sports but there’s also a vibrant ecosystem of start-ups and SMEs that contribute hugely to the placemaking agenda.
In the UK, manufacturing makes up 11% of GVA, 44% of total UK exports, 70% of business R&D, and directly employs 2.6 million people.