Rochdale unveils plans for 7,000 new homes near rail stations

Rochdale Borough Council has unveiled plans to create over 7,000 new homes and 250,000 square metres of employment space along the Calder Valley rail corridor.

The plans, drawn up with urban planners Broadway Malyan and WSP, will look to build several new neighbourhoods on brownfield sites around Rochdale’s five railway stations – Rochdale, Castleton, Smithy Bridge, Littleborough and Mills Hill – while a new sixth railway station at Slattocks in Castleton is also planned.

The plan is being delivered in collaboration with the Greater Manchester Station Alliance – the partnership with Network Rail, Northern Rail, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), regeneration specialists LCR and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

Rochdale will be the first Greater Manchester borough to benefit from the partnership, which is working with local councils to lead regeneration opportunities around the city region’s rail stations.

Councillor John Blundell, 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, which are a stone’s throw from Manchester city centre, for a fraction of the price.”

Rochdale saw over 2.7 million journeys made from its railway stations in 2019, which has led the council to see them as prime sites for developing the borough’s economy.

Under the proposals, Rochdale station will see 1,500 new homes constructed around it to house around 3,500 people, along with 4,000 square metres of new retail and commercial space, 2,250 square metres of office space, and a new public square.

1,500 new homes will be built around the rail station in Castleton, which will also have the current Bury and Heywood Metrolink expanded through it and a new £11 million cycle corridor connecting it to Rochdale.

The plans also include development around a potential sixth railway station for Slattocks in Middleton as part of TGfM’s 2040 transport strategy.

James Howard, development manager for LCR, said: “These proposals, which will deliver significant new housing and commercial development in Rochdale, demonstrate the art of the possible for the Alliance in just one corner of Greater Manchester.

“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.”

Richard Jones, development planning director at WSP, said: “This strategy highlights the opportunity that exists along this key corridor with the potential for over 7,000 new homes and a significant number of jobs which could attract over 16,000 new residents to the area.

“In line with the climate emergency declaration and the focus on achieving net zero carbon within Greater Manchester, the development opportunities provide sustainable, easily accessible locations for future growth and will help contribute to a reduction in emissions by reducing the need to travel by car.”

More detailed planning work and feasibility studies will take place over the coming months, with construction of the first new homes identified in the strategy set to start in 2021.

Photo credit: Rochdale Borough Council

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