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Rochdale council to consider putting river reopening back on course

Friday, October 24th 2014 06:00

A revised scheme to reopen the River Roch and reveal its medieval bridge is set to go before Rochdale Council’s cabinet on Monday. (27 October)


The new scheme would see the council reopen two sections of the river to reveal the stunning medieval bridge, which was covered over in 1864.

Under the new plans, a section of the river in front of Barclays Bank at the bottom of Yorkshire Street would be reopened, alongside another section on the other side of Yorkshire Street in front of HSBC.

But initial proposals to open a third section of the river close to the taxi rank further along The Butts are not part of the revised scheme.

Councillor Richard Farnell, Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “The council is committed to scrutinising its spending, particularly in the current climate, and it would have been irresponsible to simply give this project the green light without first examining cheaper options. Reopening the river will reduce flood risk and allow us to reap significant economic benefits by bringing more people into the town centre.”

The council was due to hear whether a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid to help fund the scheme was successful in June, but the HLF agreed to postpone their decision while the scheme was re-examined to see if it could be delivered more cheaply.

The revised proposal up for consideration on Monday is expected to cost the council up to £1m less than the previous plan, with additional external funding due to become available.

Cabinet will also be asked to authorise a consultation with Rochdale market traders on options for their future location.

If the cabinet approves the revised scheme, a new plan will be submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund with a decision on whether they will help fund the scheme expected by the end of the year. If it is approved, work could start on site as early as next February.

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