Town hall bosses accept £20m of funding for town makeover

Heywood town centre
-Credit: (Image: Kenny Brown | Manchester Evening News)

Town hall bosses have just under two months to decide how to spend £20m on Heywood.

In September 2023, the town was officially announced as one of the 55 areas earmarked to benefit from the Government’s Long –Term Plan for Towns. The £19.510m will be released to Rochdale Council over the next 10 years once a plan has been established - just under £2m per year.

The deadline for the council to submit their long-term vision and three-year investment is August 1, 2024. Only then will the money be released.

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In order to do this, the Heywood Town Board has been formed to put together the plan which will need to be completed before the money is released by the government’s levelling up department. The board will contain councillors, the local MP (who will be decided on July 4), a representative from the police and healthcare as well as a number of business and community figures from Heywood.

The government has provided £50,000 to support them to develop their proposal. This would involve multiple rounds of public engagement in order to better understand what area of the town is crying out for.

Although no decision has been made on what the money will go towards, the areas where the money can be spent is in transport, safety and education, the town hall meeting on June 25 heard. The consultation for this is currently ongoing.

CGI of how the newly revamped Broadfield Park Slopes in Rochdale could look
CGI of how the newly revamped Broadfield Park Slopes in Rochdale could look -Credit:Rochdale Council

At the meeting at Number One Riverside, the cabinet also approved £879,390 of National Lottery Heritage Funding for the restoration of Broadfield Park Slopes. This matched their own contribution, meaning the project has £1,680,471 in total.

Work has been ongoing since 2021, with the area’s ancient natural past being uncovered through archaeological investigations. The site sits between Rochdale Town Hall and St Chad’s church located above.

Council papers read: “In addition to the National Lottery Heritage Funded elements of work, there has been replanting on the west slopes (phase 1) and in the future there will be ground stabilisation works on the south slopes (previously referred to as phase 2). Both of these phases are 100 per cent council funded.”