Press Release 25.02.2022

World class public square shapes up in Rochdale town centre

Images have been unveiled of ambitious plans to revitalise Rochdale Town Hall’s square. The latest images show what the space could look like once work is complete next year.

The site will be revamped to complement the lottery-supported restoration of the Grade I listed Rochdale Town Hall, which got underway last year.

Gillespies are working with the council, RDA and The National Lottery Heritage Fund to create a world-class events space and public realm in the heart of Rochdale town centre. The exciting plans include the creation of a new public square to better frame the stunning building and other crucially important structures in the immediate area, including the Grade I listed war memorial, designed by the late architect Edwin Lutyens, and the old post office building. Lawned areas featuring plants and trees will be created directly in front of the town hall to boost biodiversity and provide locals and visitors with a high-quality outdoor space to enjoy all year round.

Among its standout features will be a spectacular carpet of historic paving, which will run through the centre of the new lawns and directly connect the stunning cenotaph and memorial gardens with the town hall entrance. Unique inscriptions, inspired by the historic symbols within the town hall, such as cotton plants, sheep, and the Lancashire rose, will be etched into the paving to tell the story of Rochdale’s most famous building to encourage people to come inside and learn more about this town’s fascinating heritage.

New terracing will be created at the side and back of the building to enable people with limited mobility to access the building more easily and create an outdoor seating area for people attending events at the town hall, as well as outdoor dining space for the Clock Tower
restaurant on the ground floor.

On the Packer Street side of the town hall, which is lined with thriving bars and pubs,
traditional paving will be installed, along with trees and benches to create an open area,
which can facilitate large-scale events such as the Feel Good Festival, as well as creating an
open area for people to relax in the town centre.

Cheshire-based designers Broadbent Studio have been commissioned to create the seating,
which will be inspired by textile patterns from around the world, in a nod to the thriving cotton
industry that dominated Rochdale’s economy when the town hall first opened in 1871. The
the team will be reaching out to local colleges to work with them on the seating, which will also
involve specialist ceramicists, Darwen Terracotta.

Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for economy at Rochdale Borough Council and
RDA Board member said: “Beautiful public realm is all too often sacrificed in the competition
for space in our town and city centres, and there are few striking examples of fantastic
quality outdoor spaces in our urban areas. That’s why this project will be transformational for
Rochdale town centre. It will better frame the spectacular town hall and link it even more
closely with the wider conservation area, which includes the reopened River Roch and the
cenotaph and memorial gardens. It will also be a place for people to come and relax among
plants and greenery, which will complement the green flag parks within the town centre, as
well as creating a boost for businesses in the vicinity. Along with the redeveloped town hall, this
will become an incredibly important part of our town centre once it reopens in 2023.”

Warren Chapman, associate partner at Gillespies, said: “It’s not often you get the chance to
totally transform the setting of an amazing Grade I listed building. We’re delighted to play our
part in this significant place-making opportunity. We are so excited to see our designs
bringing new life into the heart of Rochdale town centre. The completed project will transform
a sea of car parking into a people-friendly civic space that caters for events and celebrations
for the people of Rochdale to enjoy and cherish.”

Rochdale Town Hall and Town Hall Square are being developed with the support of The
National Lottery Heritage Fund and Rochdale Borough Council. The project is being
delivered by Rochdale Development Agency on behalf of Rochdale Borough Council. The
town hall is expected to reopen to the public, alongside the Town Hall Square, in 2023.

Related Projects

Rochdale Town Hall