Rochdale repeats town centre contest

Rochdale council will officially relaunch its competition to select a town centre regeneration partner with an open day for developers in December.

The event on Tuesday 16 December in Rochdale Town Hall will give interested developers the chance to hear a presentation on the opportunity and ask questions, ahead of a notice being placed in the Official Journal of the European Union early next year. It will also enable the council to gauge the level of developer interest in the project prior to issuing the formal invitation.

A Prior Information Notice will be placed in early December and a website – – will go live, aimed at giving interested developers background information on the proposal.

The redevelopment site will include land currently owned by the council such as the existing Municipal Offices and bus station, which are earmarked for demolition. A site for a new transport interchange has already been cleared and £13m of funding secured. A programme of commercial acquisitions is progressing with speed to clear way for a new £60m council headquarters by 2011, funding arrangements for which are also agreed.

The tender is being re-run following a European test case last year.

Wilson Bowden was initially chosen for the £250m town centre redevelopment but the council agreed to re-run the contest after complaints by Sultan Properties, one of the runners up. Sultan argued that the final scores given to each developer should have been published. European test cases later argued the same and the council was forced to repeat the whole process.

The OJEU notice is likely to be placed in February/March, with a shortlist announced around May. There will then be a public consultation and closed dialogue period with a final decision expected to be made by Rochdale Council's Town Centre Committee early in 2010, leading to a start on the redevelopment scheme in 2011 or 2012.

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