New images show future of Rochdale Town Hall Square
Landscape architect Gillespies has shared its plans for the public realm of Rochdale town centre, including outdoor dining space for the Clock Tower restaurant.
The designs from Gillespies for the Rochdale Development Agency project feature a “carpet of historic paving” that would connect the lawned area outside the town hall with the grade one-listed war memorial and memorial gardens, according to a press release. Depictions of symbols associated with Rochdale would be etched into the paving to help showcase the history of the town.
Gillespies has also created a terrace area that will help those with limited mobility make their way to the town hall.
Public events like the Feel Good Festival could find a new home in the public realm on the Packer Street side of the town hall, which would have trees and benches. Those seats are being designed by Cheshire-based Broadbent Studio. In a nod to Rochdale’s role in the history of the cotton industry, those seats will be inspired by textile patterns.
“It’s not often you get the chance to totally transform the setting of an amazing grade one-listed building,” said Gillespies associate partner Warren Chapman.
“We’re delighted to play our part in this significant place-making opportunity. We are so excited to see our designs bringing new life into the heart of Rochdale town centre,” he continued. “The completed project will transform a sea of car parking into a people-friendly civic space that caters for events and celebrations for the people of Rochdale to enjoy and cherish.”
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Cllr John Blundell, cabinet member for economy at Rochdale Council and board member of the Rochdale Development Agency, said: “Beautiful public realm is all too often sacrificed in the competition for space in our town and city centres, and there are few striking examples of fantastic quality outdoor spaces in our urban areas. That’s why this project will be transformational for Rochdale town centre.
“It will better frame the spectacular town hall and link it even more closely with the wider conservation area, which includes the reopened River Roch and the cenotaph and memorial gardens. It will also be a place for people to come and relax among plants and greenery, which will complement the green flag parks within the town centre, as well as create a boost for businesses in the vicinity. Along with the redeveloped town hall, this will become an incredibly important part of our town centre once it reopens in 2023.”
The work on Rochdale Town Hall Square and the town hall building itself is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Rochdale Council. HH Smith is the main contractor for the first phase of work on restoring the town hall building under plans designed by conservation architect Donald Insall Associates.