Latest Inner Rochdale newsletter - March 2011
The latest steps in creating lasting change in Rochdale has focused on parts of the Milkstone and Deeplish neighbourhoods, the Oldham Road corridor and Rochdale Canal Basin, known collectively as Inner Rochdale.
Housing Market Renewal worked with Rochdale Development Agency and Rochdale Council to prepare a long-term strategy for the area called Brighter Futures, aiming to comprehensively regenerate the area over 10 to 15 years, creating a better place for people to live and work and a wider choice of homes. We are also seeking to create new high quality employment developments in the area.
Where we started from
Small terrace housing dominates this area of Rochdale. Though there isn't a lack of demand, much of the housing is of low value, sometimes unfit, defective or overcrowded. Businesses and employment uses often sit inappropriately close to homes. Some buildings and parts of the area are poor quality and there is a lack of open space. All of this means that some areas of Inner Rochdale have a run-down appearance which raises community concerns about safety.
Nevertheless, these are strong, closely-knit communities creating demand for homes that is not being met, as few residents move out of the area. Low incomes mean that often residents can't invest in improving their properties.
Rochdale Canal and the presence of the canal basin at the edge of the area provide opportunities for waterfront housing. New, high quality homes must be an important feature of the area's future, possibly using what are current or former industrial or commercial premises.
The arrival of Metrolink trams in Rochdale from 2012 will create the opportunity for a major transport interchange around Rochdale station. New housing will be well placed to take advantage of enhanced transport links.
Our current activity is focusing on acquiring land both for high quality employment sites and to provide new homes. One of the first actions has seen the former Grove Mill on Oldham Road demolished and the site landscaped by Groundwork Oldham & Rochdale. We have also improved the environment facing onto Oldham Road and around the Rochdale Canal basin, which is helping to raise confidence in the neighbourhood.
Hundreds of homes in the neighbourhood have benefited from our refurbishment programme, improving the look of the area and protecting the buildings from age and the weather. Georgian terraces on Manchester Road have had their original stonework and sash windows restored.
In the future, we will to seek to appoint a development partner who can help in delivering the kind of changes needed over the long term. Regenerating the area will make the most of its strengths - its closeness to the town centre, Rochdale railway station, Kingsway Business Park and to the new Metrolink tram services expected to arrive in Rochdale in 2012.
The views of local residents about their neighbourhood and what they think about plans for the future have been brought together on a new website, Real Rochdale. Dozens of filmed interviews give you a flavour of the areas, together with lots of information about new homes and increasing opportunities. Housing Market Renewal supported the creation of the site, which involved local students to produce the video interviews.
Celebrating a building heritage
In 2007 we carried out heritage surveys throughout the HMR area, which looked at the important historic buildings in all our neighbourhoods. This led to us publishing a guide to the built heritage of Inner Rochdale, which is proving popular with local schools. You can download a copy of the guide.
If you have any queries about the Brighter Futures project in Inner Rochdale you can contact the team on 01706 837444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.