Rochdale Town Hall External Shot
Rochdale Town Hall opened in 1871

Plans in for £16m Rochdale Town Hall restoration

A decision on the restoration of Rochdale’s grade one-listed town hall and project funding is expected later this year, following the submission of a listed building and planning application.

The application outlines repair work needed on the 149-year-old Gothic town hall as well as plans to convert spaces for visitor and event uses.

The council is the applicant, and said its officers would consider the restoration of the building and many of its historic features, with a decision expected to be made later in the summer.

As well as restoring the building, the project includes access improvements to open up the site to new audiences.

Rochdale Town Hall Proposed Bright Hall

Proposed Bright Hall

A first stage application to The National Heritage Lottery Fund to support the project was approved in 2018, with the council being awarded £8.9m to develop the plans in more detail. A decision on the second round application, to help fund the restoration, is set to be made in September. The overall projected is expected to cost £16m.

Cllr Janet Emsley, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture at Rochdale Council, said: “Rochdale Town Hall has been described by Historic England as having historic features so important, they’re rivalled only by the Palace of Westminster, so we’re incredibly lucky to have it in the heart of our borough.

“This restoration project, which has now taken another step forward, will not only preserve and enhance it for future generations, it will also open up this precious asset to allow more people to enjoy this wonderful space in the years to come.”

As well as conservation work to protect the building, for instance replacing the electrical system, plans for the town hall include the restoration of its historic internal features, like the Magna Carta mural and ceiling panels in the Great Hall, and the stained glass and wood panelling throughout the building.

There would be a permanent exhibition space created in the committee rooms on the ground floor; a community space called the Bright Hall on the second floor, to be used for smaller weddings and functions and by community groups; and lifts and terracing to allow level access.

Rochdale Town Hall Proposed Exhibition Space

The restoration of the town hall is part of the ongoing £400m regeneration of Rochdale town centre, which includes the development of Rochdale Riverside and the re-opening of the River Roch and its bridge.

The town hall is set to close at the end of 2020 to allow the work to start at the beginning of 2021. The project is set for completion sometime in 2023.

The project is being delivered by Rochdale Development Agency on behalf on Rochdale Council. Consultants working on the town hall project are Donald Insall Associates, Max Fordham, Frank Whittle Partnership, Price & Myers, Focus Consultants, Redman Design, The Heritage Angel and Minerva Heritage, and Gillespies.

Your Comments

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I think this could be a total (sorry for the cliche) game-changer for Rochdale-long overdue-best of luck with it!

By Adam Ash

Now for the rest of the town and what about the rest of the places like Middleton Heywood and Langley

By José

Hope the restoration is done with great care and keep all the old features. My grandad did all the gold leaf around the great hall with two of his council team.

By Michael Sims

A wonderful building in need of restoration, it will be money well spent. We need to preserve our historic buildings for future generations.

By Steven

I’ll chip a tenner in for Heywood.. give those benches in the centre a bit of a spruce up

By John

£9m to plan how to spend £16m?

By Neil

This is arguably one of the best buildings in the north west. A lot of the GM towns have a wealth of architecture that will hopefully be restored as the towns become regenerated.

By Anonymous

Jose, you say “the rest of the town”. There’s been investment totalling £300m+ in recent years. Civic, retail and housing stock. It’s already a stand-out town with so much more to come, so many opportunities, so well connected. It needs everyone to embrace what has been achieved already.

By Jules


By Mark Glendinning

I do hope that non of this will affect the peregrines that have nested on the town hall for years, I have watched the live webcams every year and enjoyed ever minute.,it would be a travesty to lose these iconic birds, please bear this in mind when you plan the restoration, and be sympathetic to them, I know they may not be on the top of your list of priorities, but thousand view them every year,

By Bluegirl123

This is not a restoration, it is abuse of planning regulations by a local authority using our money. Shame on you!

By P Parten

@Parten…Why do you say that? A comment like that isn’t helpful without some explanation

By Allotmentdad