Following its acquisition of Central Retail Park for £13m, announced yesterday, Rochdale Council is exploring plans for up to 150 homes on the site, as part of a wider push to bring residential development to brownfield locations in the town centre.
The 70,000 sq ft retail park and a neighbouring 4.7-acre plot near to Rochdale’s train station was bought from Town Centre Securities. Tenants include Argos, Halfords, Matalan, and Poundstretcher, with an average unexpired lease length of seven years.
Speaking to Place North West, John Searle, director of economy at Rochdale Council, said that the acquisition was part of the council “putting our money where our mouth is” on its commitment to build more homes in the town centre, prioritising brownfield sites near to the main station and tram stop.
Searle said: “A sustainable town centre needs not just retail, but residential and an emphasis on heritage. Central Retail Park is a prime residential site, with five acres of developable land, plus the income from the retail units.
“We are exploring the potential for up to 150 homes at Central Retail Park, and are looking to appoint masterplanners for the wider area, delivering a plan for density of housing, centred around the nearby transport hub.
“We’re still open on the tenure and type of home. Once our initial appraisal is done, we will go to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to see how they will assist us in our residential growth as part of Burnham’s Town Centre Challenge, and go out to potential development partners.
“Last year saw Rochdale over-deliver on our housing completion numbers, and that is set to continue as part of delivering our high aspirations for our town.”
Cllr John Blundell, cabinet member for regeneration at Rochdale Council, said: “The acquisition of this key brownfield site forms part of a wider vision to create around 2,000 new homes in and around Rochdale town centre to maximise our £400m regeneration package. We have a growing population and are determined to bring forward brownfield sites, including use of our compulsory purchase powers where necessary.
“Residential development is a key focus for the council, with a particular drive to develop brownfield sites, such as Central Retail Park, which has excellent access to our public transport network. With completion of new homes at a record high and planning applications for over 240 homes near to Rochdale town centre set to be approved by the council this week, we know that Rochdale is an attractive prospect for housebuilders and developers and we’re confident that Central Retail Park will play a key role in helping us meet our housing needs.”