Rochdale Council and The National Lottery Heritage Fund are currently looking at transforming the town centre of Rochdale, and architects Gillespies have unveiled their plans of the public realm outside the historic Grade-I listed Town Hall.
Among its standout features will be a spectacular carpet of historic paving, which will run through the centre of the new lawns and connect the 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 pavings to tell the story of Rochdale’s most famous building and inspire people to come inside and learn more.
The designs feature a “carpet of historic paving” that will connect a lawned area outside the town hall with the war memorial and gardens. Symbols associated with Rochdale itself will be etched into the paving – showcasing the town’s rich history.
Public events and markets will find a new home in the area on the Packer Street side of the hall, which will receive added trees and benches. Designed by Cheshire-based Broadbent Studio, the be benches will be a nod to Rochdale’s role in the cotton industry – inspired by textile patterns.
The team will be approaching local colleges to work with them on the seating, which will also involve specialist ceramicists, Darwen Terracotta.
Gillespies associate partner Warren Chapman said: “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.”
Cllr John Blundell, cabinet member at Rochdale Council and board member of the Rochdale Development Agency, 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 create 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.”