Full steam ahead: Major transformation planned for Rochdale railway station site

Moves to transform the area around Rochdale train station are on track, with plans being developed to create thousands of new homes as part of a major regeneration of the site.

Work’s already underway on the project, which aims to transform brownfield sites around key transport hubs and bring forward thousands of new homes. Feasibility studies and masterplanning are already being carried out and firm proposals are set to be unveiled in early 2020.

The work’s being delivered by the council in collaboration with the Greater Manchester Station Alliance, a new partnership between Network Rail, Northern Rail, Transport for Greater Manchester, LCR and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The Alliance is working in partnership with local councils to spearhead regeneration opportunities around rail stations. Rochdale will be the first Greater Manchester borough to benefit from the new partnership, with plans for Castleton set to be unveiled soon.

The scheme could deliver 1,000 new homes around Rochdale railway station

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

As well as a major new housing development, other improvements could include:

  • New road layouts and the removal of traffic from the front of the station to create a new public square.
  • New commercial development for the area.
  • Improved pedestrian and cycle links between the station and town centre, as well as Milkstone and Deeplish.
  • Significant expansion of the park and ride facilities at Miall Street.
  • Physical improvements and new facilities to improve the passenger experience in the station.

The project will complement work to renovate the Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum near the station

The project will take place alongside work to transform the nearby Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum in Maclure Road, which is due to reopen next summer after a lottery funded renovation.

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 4 to 6.

Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for regeneration, 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 the area around stations an increasingly attractive option for people looking for a home. The completion of the Ordsall Chord railway line also 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.

“The formation of this partnership will enable us to accelerate these plans and we’ll be bringing firm proposals forward next year.”

Adam Wisher, head of Manchester for developer 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.”

Richard Jones, director at professional services firm, WSP, which is working on Rochdale’s Station Gateway Masterplan: “We are excited to be supporting the council and the station alliance to unlock its full potential through the development of an ambitious but deliverable masterplan. This project will transform this part of Rochdale and provide a new benchmark for urban regeneration around suburban rail hubs in Greater Manchester.”