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Full steam ahead: Major transformation planned for land around Rochdale railway station

Plans to transform the areas surrounding Rochdale train station are firmly on track following a collaboration between Rochdale Borough Council and the Greater Manchester Station Alliance.

Work is underway to conduct feasibility studies and masterplanning as part of wider council plans to transform brownfield sites around key transport hubs, with the potential for the project to deliver 3,000 new homes.

The work is being delivered in collaboration with the Greater Manchester Station Alliance, a partnership of Network Rail, Northern Rail, Transport for Greater Manchester, LCR and the GM Combined Authority. The Alliance is working in partnership with local councils to spearhead regeneration opportunities around rail stations, investing in key facilities and boosting economic growth. Rochdale will be the first GM Borough to benefit from the new partnership. 

At Rochdale station, the council currently is looking to bring forward over 1,000 new homes at key sites around the station, including Central Retail Park, canal corridor and other areas along Drake Street, which are being regenerated through the Heritage Action Zone project.

As well as a major new housing development, other options being explored include altering road layouts and removing traffic from the front of the station to create a new public square, new commercial development, and improved pedestrian and cycle links between the station and town centre, as well as Milkstone and Deeplish. Existing park and ride facilities at Miall Street will be significantly expanded and the station will also benefit from physical improvements and new facilities to improve the passenger experience. These changes will take place alongside work to transform the Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum in Maclure Road, which is due to reopen next Summer after a lottery funded makeover.

The proposals also complement recent improvements for rail passengers in the borough, including better signalling on the Calder Valley line, the construction of an additional platform at Rochdale station, and an increase in the number of trains per hour from Rochdale to Manchester from four to six.

Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for regeneration at Rochdale Borough Council, said:

 “The redevelopment of brownfield sites around major transport hubs is a key part of our regeneration strategy because people want to be close to key amenities and facilities.

“Rochdale station gateway is a prime location for housing because recent improvements to the North West rail network make stations an increasingly attractive option for people looking for a home. The completion of the Ordsall Chord railway line connects Rochdale commuters to places like London, via the national rail network and raises the prospect of a direct rail link between Rochdale and Manchester Airport for the first time.

“This cash injection will enable us to accelerate these plans and we are looking to bring firm proposals forward in the new year.”

Adam Wisher, head of Manchester for LCR, said: “Our partnership with Rochdale Borough Council is a product of Greater Manchester’s forward-thinking approach to maximising the economic benefits offered by investment in its key transport hubs. As well as boosting connectivity and providing an enhanced experience for passengers, our work is helping to unlock regeneration and create new community assets that will deliver homes, jobs and public value for the region, starting in Rochdale Town Centre.”

The Greater Manchester Station Alliance was established to deliver improvements for both passengers and local communities around the region’s railway stations. Its main objectives are to enable local economic development and regeneration, enhance stations’ efficiency to reduce running costs, and to implement long-term improvements for passengers.

The Alliance’s regeneration and development activity delivered for Rochdale Borough Council  will be led by LCR, a skilled commercial developer and the UK Government’s placemaking expert, with a 20-year track record of delivering major transport-linked regeneration schemes. Its work includes the regeneration of the 24-acre Mayfield site in Manchester, and the multi-billion-pound redevelopment of King’s Cross station, one of London’s most successful regeneration stories.

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