Paul Ormerod 1

Rochdale Development Agency appoints chairman

Sarah Townsend

Economist Paul Ormerod has joined the Greater Manchester borough’s inward investment agency as chairman following the retirement of Chris Gilmartin.

Ormerod, a partner at economics consultancy Volterra, was born and raised in Rochdale and has been president of Rochdale Hornets Rugby League club since 2009.

A graduate of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and visiting professor of economics at University College London, he is the author of several books including Why Most Things Fail, which was named Business Book of the Year by Bloomberg Businessweek magazine in 2006.

Rochdale Development Agency works to attract firms to set up in the borough, and works alongside the council and other bodies to drive local regeneration and economic development efforts.

This month, Rochdale Council unveiled its biggest regeneration masterplan in decades, mapping out proposals to redevelop land around its five railway stations to create 7,000 homes and 2.5m sq ft of commercial space.

Under the plans, drawn up by consultancies Broadway Malyan and WSP, brownfield land around Rochdale, Castleton, Smithy Bridge, Littleborough and Mills Hill stations would undergo major redevelopment to boost the local economy and increase connectivity.

Meanwhile, the £80m first phase of the Rochdale Riverside retail and leisure development completed this month with the opening of an M&S store in the town centre.

Rochdale Riverside March 12

The first phase of the Rochdale Riverside retail scheme opened this month

Ormerod, whose tenure began yesterday, said: “As a proud Rochdalian, I’m delighted to be named as RDA chairman. The RDA has done a brilliant job over a long period in delivering successful regeneration projects and promoting the economic wellbeing of the borough.

“I hope my own experience will help the RDA to shape the future economic prosperity of Rochdale through promoting innovation and reshaping the image of what the town does. These are key to the delivery of inward investment, physical development and the creation of new jobs.”

Former chairman Gilmartin had been on the board of the RDA for almost 20 years, including the past two as chairman, and helped deliver projects including the development of Middleton Town Centre, Kingsway Business Park and phase one of Rochdale Riverside.

He is the former managing director of Heywood-based manufacturing firm Gilwood Fabricators Co.

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Rochdale is exciting at the moment. They just seem to have got their act together. Big plans, but also reaping the rewards of their previous investment in the council offices and updating their retail offer. Homes planned too. They’re ahead of any other LA that I read about.

By Derek