Rewriting the definition of placemaking
Ask most people to define placemaking and they’ll probably talk about the planning, design and management of public spaces. In its strictest sense, successful placemaking creates spaces to promote people’s health, happiness and wellbeing – but that’s not the only definition.
Rochdale Council’s £250m regeneration of the town centre, including Rochdale Riverside, will put retail at the heart of the town centre, all surrounded by attractive public realm.
However, two years ago, we launched Rochdale Ambassadors which refined placemaking to highlight the town as a destination for business. We realised our voice wasn’t being heard if we wanted to sell Rochdale as a place to be for businesses, investors, visitors and residents.
The best way of getting people to live in Rochdale is if they work in Rochdale so business became a key platform of our approach to placemaking.
Stories about companies launching or expanding in the borough have snowballed and there is now a feel-good within the borough.
The conveyor belt of good news stories include:
- Revilo Automotive, which specialises in buying high-end cars and is on track to hit £100m turnover in five years. Entrepreneur Lee Collins could have chosen anywhere to launch his business in 2016 but picked Rochdale
- Salt Separation Services, which is spending £2m moving into larger premises in Rochdale
- Lancashire Farm Dairies, which is on course to hit a record turnover of £40m as it looks to take on its biggest rivals
- Zen Internet, which employs 500 people and looks to chase down its big rivals BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Sky Broadband
- Logistics giant Dachser, which has just spent £14.4m on a new logistics centre in Rochdale
- Crystal Doors, which has spent £1m on energy-saving technology
- Hanson Springs, which employs 230 people and sells its springs across the world
Many of these companies are based in our 14 strategically located business parks, which represent the beating heart of business in Rochdale borough. Our largest business park – Kingsway – is one of the most important business locations in the North West.
Kingsway Business Park is a leading location for industrial, manufacturing and distribution businesses. It is run by the Kingsway Partnership, a joint venture between Wilson Bowden, Rochdale Development Agency, Rochdale Borough Council and Homes England. The 170Ha park is one of the best-performing business parks in the UK.
Businesses at Kingsway have access to over 1.6 million people of working age living within a 30-minute commute with around 20 universities within a one-hour drive.
Kingsway boasts a direct link to Junction 21 of the M62 Motorway and a dedicated Metrolink tram stop. The recent completion of the 11-unit Logic development means that Kingsway offers commercial units ranging between 3,000 sq ft and 275,000 sq ft. Ready-to-let industrial units and design and build opportunities are available now.
Tenants include ASDA Wincanton, JD Sports, CR Lawrence, Edmund Bell, E.ON, Source BioScience, Takeuchi Manufacturing, WCCTV, Nobilia, Gemalto, Dachser and Trade Mouldings.
The RDA helps businesses thrive at Kingsway by providing extensive support services, including dedicated advice and guidance on expansion and relocation, funding and investment, and recruitment and staff training.
We’re not finished yet when it comes to placemaking and Rochdale Borough Council and Rochdale Development Agency speak as one when we say: ‘We’re open for business.”
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.
Among the crowd at Saturday's Rochdale v Newcastle United match was Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who took the opportunity to highlight the good work taking place in Rochdale.
Rochdale Development Agency’s fifth monthly roundtable in Littleborough asked businesses what they wanted to see in 2020.