Rochdale Regen CGI06
The regeneration aims to increase local connectivity

Rochdale maps out railway station masterplan

Sarah Townsend

The council has drawn up plans to redevelop land around its five stations to create 7,000 homes, 2.5m sq ft of commercial space and an £11m cycle corridor to increase connectivity and boost the local economy.

Under the masterplan, announced last October and drawn up over the past few months by urban planners at Broadway Malyan and WSP, brownfield land around Rochdale, Castleton, Smithy Bridge, Littleborough and Mills Hill stations would undergo major redevelopment in the borough’s biggest regeneration in decades.

In total, the masterplan proposes more than 7,000 homes and 2.5m sq ft of employment space along the Calder Valley rail corridor, including:

  • 1,500 new homes around Rochdale station, catering for 3,500 people
  • 43,000 sq ft of new retail and commercial space around Rochdale station
  • 26,000 sq ft of offices or managed workspace around Rochdale station
  • A new public square at Rochdale station
  • 1,500 new homes around Castleton station
  • The extension of the Manchester Metrolink to Bury and Heywood via Castleton
  • An £11m cycle corridor connecting Castleton to Rochdale

The plans also include development around a potential sixth railway station in the borough, which would be Slattocks in Middleton, proposals for which form part of Transport for Greater Manchester’s 2040 strategy.

Rochdale Station Entrance CRedVortex

Rochdale Station entrance would be overhauled with homes and offices

The regeneration masterplan is being delivered by Rochdale Borough Council in collaboration with the newly formed Greater Manchester Station Alliance, a partnership of Network Rail, Northern Rail, Transport for Greater Manchester, transport regeneration body LCR and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Rochdale is to be the first GM borough to benefit from the alliance’s work, although the group is working with other local councils to identify regeneration opportunities around rail stations.

Rochdale’s stations are viewed as prime sites for economic development, with 2.7 million journeys made from them in 2019, according to the council.

Cllr John Blundell, Rochdale’s cabinet member for economy, business and skills, said: “The land around our railway stations has huge potential for regeneration because you’re putting people close to the transport connections and local facilities that you need to create sustainable neighbourhoods.

“Rochdale’s incredible connectivity, with five railway stations, and a sixth on the cards, puts us in unrivalled position to repurpose brownfield sites along the Calder valley corridor to unlock thousands of new homes a stone’s throw from Manchester city centre, for a fraction of the price.”

“Through targeted investment and collaboration across the public and private sectors, there are many further regeneration opportunities we can unlock to support new homes, jobs and public value in town centres across the city region,” added James Howard, development manager at LCR.

Broadway Malyan and WSP have been drawing up the plans and conducting feasibility studies since last October, and more detailed masterplanning and feasibility work is due to take place over the coming months.

The aim is to start building the first new homes identified in the strategy in 2021, the council said. The plans form part of Rochdale’s wider vision to bring forward thousands of homes in the town centre, including at the Central Retail Park, the canal corridor, and Drake Street.


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Rochdale will soon have more offices than Liverpool

By Kurt Steamings

This is really interesting. First of all, kudos to the idea of increasing density around the train stations, especially Rochdale’s main station. This is important and will help drive more people to public transport and a better case for improving said public transport

Second, I like the idea of a public square in front of the main railway station. Good entrances to town centres is vital to encourage people to travel there.

Third, I like the idea of extending Metrolink, but this one is a bit unusual. I certainly see a cross-town merit to linking Rochdale and Bury directly. But this would cause interesting problems with the super long line from Bury to Rochdale and the city centre (or the other way around?) Would this form an outer circle? There are a lot of questions.

Finally, all this is very good, but with our current rail network, none of it will actually work in real life since the rail system is totally disconnected to the metrolink network (as far as ticketing goes and Bury Station doesn’t even link with Metrolink due to poor planning). Our suburban network needs to be fixed, but this is almost impossible until HS2 & NPR are completed and remove all express rains from our existing suburban networks – and this is not in many people’s lifetime. But it’s a start.


About time local money got used correctly

By Hamed ayub

I don’t think this will now happen due to the devastation caused by coronavirus. Most big projects around the UK will be shelved for 5 years.

By Mushtaq Mohammed

As long as it is Brownfield sites then great news

By John

Another grand plan costing a fortune but they cant help in this present crisis with help for genuine council tax payers.A cycle track,whats wrong with the canal tow path.I suppose all they need is planning permission which will probably not be a problem.Done deal.

By Colin Ridgway

Great idea,one question,how much,wheres the money going to come from?houses and or flats for local people?

By Mark Glendinning

@Mark Glendinning to answer your questions.
Where is the money going to come from?
Apartments: Most likely developers. Works like this, company makes a product, sells the product at cost + profit. Company makes more products (cycle ensures)
(In a growing population and in a city already with a housing shortage, this means the product will generally sell well)
Public Square: Possibly paid for by LGA council.
Metrolink: Possibly paid for by LGA and GM councils

2nd Q: houses and or flats for local people?
I would imagine mostly flats, as this is around railway stations which means density needs to be built up. Building houses around railway stations is a waste of space but medium to high density flats means there is a huge amount of people who can use the local stations by just walking down the streets.

As for local people, does that matter? Do people get treated differently based on where they had lived, where they do live, what colour skin they have? These will be homes for whoever moves into them and then those people will be locals and should be treated the same as any other human.There will probably be a mix of people who are currently locals and some people who will move in. Let’s be honest, Rochdale isn’t a huge attraction for people from around the world. You don’t see people in Paris or New York telling all their friends that one day they dream of moving to Rochdale, so if your fear is that millions of people from outside Rochdale will move in, that most likely won’t happen. But as Rochdale improves, there may be more than move there from around GM


What is happening with Mill’s Hill? It’s listed has one of Rochdale stations but can’t see a mention about it ?

By Dave

Interesting story about metrolink Manchester to Bury via castleton ?
Thought plans were in place to connect the line to Oldham!

By Dave

Car parking situation near Rochdale station is totally inadequate. Is this going to be addressed under the new proposals? Not all of us live within walking distance of a railway or tram stop. No indication of a park and ride scheme that dozens of towns and cities now enjoy.

By Stuart Ford

Stuart Ford if you want a railway station near where you live then the logical thing to do is move closer to a railway station. Don’t choose to live somewhere far from the rail network and then complain that there’s no railway station on your doorstep.

Saying that, there are loads of park and ride Metrolink/rail stations in Greater Manchester.

By Anonymous

Where can we read the detail of the plans?

By Rachel

A disappointing fusion of toy-town Istanbul and anywhere-ville business park architecture which lacks and kind of human scale or imagination. Gorden Cullen is turning in his grave. What a shame.

Rochdale should look to Manchester (Piccadilly periphery) and London (Kings Cross / Argent) for examples of how to re-use existing buildings to create active and lively urban spaces around train-stations.

Why is the refurbishment element to the left of the image so dark? Without any active frontage? Why a huge bleak paved square with no seating or landscaping? Look at the area around Urbis in Manchester or Granary Square in London. Huge difference.

If executed intelligently and fastidiously, this would be a huge opportunity to improve social cohesion and support the economic future of the area.

By Anonymous

Who is EOD, or what does it stand for? Thank you.

By Stephen hayes