Wilson Bowden's plans for Rochdale made for one of the most popular stories 10 years ago

Developers reveal their visions for Rochdale town centre

Three competing developers have published their plans to transform Rochdale town centre with a new retail core and revitalised riverside district.

Ask Developments with Sultan Properties, Valad Property Group and Wilson Bowden Developments are vying to win preferred developer status with Rochdale Development Agency.

A week-long consultation with Rochdale residents is being held at 30 Yorkshire Street until Thursday 20 December.

The three displays show proposals for the redevelopment of the east of the town centre with new retailers, restaurants, cafes, bars apartments, leisure facilities and offices.

John Hudson, chief executive of Rochdale Development Agency said: "We have a fantastic opportunity to attract significant private sector investment to completely change the way our town centre functions. None of the proposals are set in stone which is why it's important for people to tell us the elements they most like."

Residents' views will be considered along with cost and feasibility when a developer is selected in spring next year. The multi-million pound proposals are part of a wider masterplan for the area that will involve the completion of a new transport interchange by 2010 and the creation of new civic offices and public facilities.

Andy Zuntz, executive director of Rochdale council said:"This regeneration along with other positive developments including the Metrolink extension, Kingsway Business Park, Middleton Arena and redevelopment of Heywood town centre is setting out a great future for Rochdale with increased job opportunities for local people."

The three bids in summary are:

Ask Property Developments with Sultan Properties: The proposals show 275,000 sq ft of new shops for fashion retailers such as Next and Topshop, 53,000 sq ft of new restaurants and café/bars, 110,000 sq ft Debenhams store, 80,000 sq ft new supermarket, 250,000 sq ft of offices, 150-bedroom hotel and brasserie, 320 residential units.

Valad Property Group: The proposals show new shops including a department store, new flats , offices, leisure opportunities such as a cinema and a gym, new town squares that could be used for open air theatre and local markets, new community spaces and improved underground parking facilities.

Wilson Bowden Developments: The proposals show new retailers including a Debenhams department store, a large Marks & Spencer and a major food store, 1,200 new car parking spaces in a safe, and secure multi-storey car park monitored by CCTV, a new central area with an iconic sculpture to become the symbol of Rochdale, cafes, bars, restaurants and 282 new apartments. The proposals aim to create seamless links with the existing retailers and the refurbishment of the Wheatsheaf Centre with new malls and shops.

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One thing they mention is the inclusion of cafes, restaurants and bars but on the whole bars and cafes have been on the demise over the last five years in rochdale as weatherspoons and now yates provide cheap food and beer !
I would love to say I share the vision of a rosey garden but sadly unless there menus are something outstanding with a choice of vintage wines I cannot see them lasting very long

By Thomas hilton