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Kingsway could house a manufacturing centre and commercial space for SMEs. Image by

Rochdale aims for £25m Towns Fund support

Neil Tague

The council has submitted a bid to the Government’s Towns Fund, with an advanced manufacturing institute within Kingsway Business Park at the heart of its proposal.

Also included in the bid are plans to help the delivery of almost 1,000 homes on brownfield sites in the borough.

As with the other Towns Fund bids submitted from the region, the Town Board responsible is made up of public and private sector partners

Spearheaded by the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, The Towns Fund is a £3.4bn pot of cash set aside by government to help drive economic regeneration – 101 areas have been selected.

Among those from the North West looking to secure backing are Blackpool; Oldham, which is seeking £41m to support five key projects; and Cheadle, which wants a new railway station.

Rochdale’s bid includes:

  • A new advanced machinery and productivity institute, teaming up with universities, including Manchester, Salford and Huddersfield, and serving as a catalyst for the creation of an innovation district.
  • A conservation skills studio at Rochdale Town Hall, supporting 25 young people at a time to train in specialist heritage conservation. Partners would include York Glaziers Trust and the Lancashire Conservation Studio.
  • New medium sized units at Kingsway Business Park, brining units of 20,000 sq ft to 40,000 sq ft to an established large-scale distribution park.
  • New homes in central Rochdale: supporting the delivery of 680 new homes in Lower Falinge and the improvement of 300 existing homes and public realm, led by Rochdale Boroughwide Housing.
  • Neighbourhood Rochdale: driving forward a proposal for more than 200 new homes on the former Central Retail Park site in Drake Street, to be delivered by Capital & Centric. It forms the first phase of the council’s station gateway project.
  • Developing key brownfield sites for housing: advancing sites where the ocuncil has aspirations set against currently prohibitive costs.
  • Major improvements to the A58 at St Mary’s Gate, including new safe surface crossing points and exploring additional walking and cycling options.

Architecture and design firm Broadway Malyan and multidisciplinary firm WSP supported Rochdale Council in its proposals – WSP on business case planning and Broadway Malyan on baselinining and spatial diagnosis and a vision for the borough.

Capital & Centric revealed its plans in September for the former Central Retail Park site.

Local businessman, Paul Simkiss, who owns local technology manufacturing firm, Simkiss Control Systems, chairs Rochdale’s Town Fund Board.

He said: “There’s been a massive programme of investment in Rochdale in recent years and our role as a board is to build on that great work and create even more opportunities for the borough’s residents, particularly younger people.

“I’m keen to see the town attract and retain the talent we need to grow and to fulfil Rochdale’s ambition to play a key role in the growth of the region. Our businesses and residents have told us what they feel are the key challenges and opportunities and our plans have been designed to reflect those views.”

Capital & Centric Rochdale

Capital & Centric’s 200-home proposal

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