The transformation of the area around Rochdale Railway Station has moved a step closer, with the council submitting a planning application for the multi-million pound scheme.

New images of how the space could look have been released as part of the application, with a brand new public square forming the centrepiece of the ambitious regeneration project.

If plans are approved, in addition to a new square in front of Rochdale Railway Station, over 1,000 new homes could also be brought into the area and new green spaces will be created.

These include over 200 apartments and houses on the site of the former Central Retail Park, currently a derelict brownfield site. The development, which will be known as Station Gardens, was part of a recent levelling up bid which was rejected by the government, but the council plans to forge ahead and is currently looking at different ways of delivering the scheme.

The area, which is a key gateway into the borough for residents and visitors, will also benefit from new signage which will better connect people to the town centre and wider area and street art and enhanced lighting is proposed.

Better walking and cycling routes will also form part of a regenerated Milkstone and Deeplish, should plans be approved, and an active travel pilot scheme recently got underway in the area.

Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “Station Square is a really important part of the borough and the first place many of our visitors see when they arrive. At the moment, it’s an underwhelming space, which does little to hint at the fantastic town centre and wider area which lies just beyond.

“By relocating traffic from directly in front of the station, we’ll create a really attractive space where people can relax and enjoy the area and businesses will benefit from the extra footfall and space. It will also better connect it to the town centre and enable people to get around more easily and sustainably.”

As an enhanced gateway, the new space should serve as a catalyst for further investment in the area, supporting the wider regeneration strategy in place for the town and the borough.

The proposals are part of the wider rail strategy, which aims to regenerate brownfield areas around the borough’s 5 railway stations by creating 7,000 new homes and 1 million square metres of new employment space.

The plans complement other recent regeneration schemes in the area, including the multi-million-pound refurbishment of the Greater Fire Service Museum and ongoing work to redevelop the historic spaces along Drake Street, as part of the Heritage Action Zone initiative.

A brand new pocket park is also set to be created on disused platforms at Rochdale Railway Station, with designers due to consult with community groups in the coming months, as they start to work up plans.

If the planning application is approved, work on Station Square will begin later in 2023.


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