Thursday, 19 March 2015

More new businesses confirm growing confidence in Rochdale town centre

Another five businesses have opened their doors in Rochdale town centre since the New Year, meaning more jobs, more footfall and more potential high street spending.

Now open at 79 Drake Street are new company iiPlus specialising in Website Design & Development, VOIP telephone systems and branding/PR. Opened in February there are currently 6 members of staff and the company is currently recruiting telesales agents.

When asked by Mark Foxley of Town Centre Management why they chose Rochdale, Atif Khawaja said:

“We chose Rochdale town centre due to the potential we believe it has. The council are spending a lot money at the moment to help improve the Town Centre and we believe these changes will have a positive impact on local businesses.”
Also on Drake Street are the new offices of Pearson Ferrier estate agents, valuers and letting specialists. Based at 136 Drake Street they specialise in a providing a professional service to all clients.

Azhar Ali said: “There is a wealth of opportunity to work with the community, Rochdale has a lot to offer and the increasing pace of changes to the town will bring a more positive feel and better life experience to all concerned.”

Another new estate agent Reside has been opened by Jason Diamond. Based on Smith Street adjacent to the Interchange and Metro link terminal. Jason has 27 years’ experience in the business and in his words is a “massive supporter and believer in Rochdale.”

“I can foresee the potential around Rochdale town centre and the planned regeneration around Smith Street provides a great opportunity.” Jason added.

No2 The Esplanade, which houses the Post Office, continues to be a successful new business destination and Mike Beresford has set up a brand new contact centre Chameleon Contact Specialists Ltd. Occupying 1150 sqft office space on the second floor the company has created 15 new positions and specialises in campaign marketing, lead generation and appointment setting in the motor trade.

Mark Foxley asked Mike why he chose Rochdale and No2 The Esplanade:

“We chose Rochdale over Oldham, mainly because of the location, costs, transport interchange and the planned redevelopment in the town centre”

Yorkshire Street continues to see more new businesses with Coral bookmakers opening their third Rochdale site, employing five people.

Manageress Andrea Moran said:

”We are delighted with our prestigious new branch and are looking forward to a bright future and the continued regeneration.”

Also on Yorkshire Street, occupying the former Three Store and opening this Saturday, is Mobile Magic formerly based on the indoor market. In their new location there’s an even bigger range and owner Khalid said he’s “excited for the new opening”.

The new businesses join the growing number of recent new openings and relocations including, Costa Coffee, Riverdale Insurance (also in No2 The Esplanade) Java Espresso Bar, Aldi, Morrison’s Local, and Tetrosyl.

Mark Foxley said: “Confidence is undoubtedly growing in our town centre, we welcome the new businesses, and employees, and look forward to working together as we continue to connect, build and prosper at Rochdale Town Centre Management.”
Council Leader Richard Farnell said: 
“This is more good news for Rochdale town centre and it gives us real momentum for the further investment that is underway, including the re-opening of the river. I firmly believe what we are doing will have a positive long term effect on the town centre and our reputation is growing.  I’m pleased to see the quality and diversity of businesses in the town centre and that they are attracting other like-minded firms.”

(Contact - Mark Foxley 01706 926677)

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Boomtime for Rochdale as new businesses get ready to set up shop

Costa Coffee has opeend in the Exchange Shopping Centre createing 10 new jobs in the town
More investment and jobs are on the way to Rochdale, with big name retailer Aldi officially starting construction of its third Rochdale store.

The discount giant submitted plans to build a new store in October last year, with councillors granting approval earlier this month.

As well as creating 40 local jobs, the Mellor Street store, which will have 1,250 metres of trading space, will help breathe new life into the former Carter Brothers’ site, just past the Asda supermarket, which has been empty for almost a decade. The store is expected to be open before the end of the year.

Ambitious plans to rebuild the Lidl store on St Mary’s Gate are also set to de determined this month, with the retailer looking to add another 845 square metres of space to their existing 1,120 square metre store.

If plans are approved, they will demolish the current store and build a bigger, better shop covering much of their old footprint and that of the now defunct blockbuster video shop.

The new store would be closer to St Mary’s Gate, a key gateway into the town centre, and have an expanded on-site bakery and frozen foods section. 

Lidl hopes to start demolition in the late spring, with the new store potentially opening as early as autumn this year.

All current Lidl employees will be redeployed in the local area until the build is complete, with the new store expected to also create new job opportunities.

Elsewhere in the town centre, the new Morrisons Local is set to open this Monday (23 March). The opening of the store in the former Nile nightclub at Number 2 Smith Street has created 20 local jobs.

Morrisons will join the growing ranks of new businesses opening in Rochdale in recent weeks, with Java Coffee also having opened its doors in the Transport Interchange at the weekend, providing four new jobs.

In the Exchange shopping centre, Costa Coffee has already served scores of customers since it opened on Tuesday 10 March, and brought in ten new jobs.

Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, Richard Farnell, said: “It feels like there’s a real momentum gathering in Rochdale at the moment and it shows that businesses clearly see the borough as having a promising future. Everytime a new business opens, job opportunities are created for local people, who then go and spend their money in the town centre and boost other businesses. Regeneration experts actually estimate that each additional employee in a town centre will bring an average of around £1,200 additional revenue into that town centre every year.

Java Coffee has also opened its doors in teh Transport Interchange

Construction of a new Aldi store on Mellor Street has now commenced which will open before the end of the year

Free parking plans just got better

Moves by Rochdale Borough Council to drive down the cost of parking have just got better, with three hours free parking in council car parks now set to apply all day.

The offer, which will extend the free parking currently on offer in Heywood to all the borough’s town centres, was only set to kick in after 10am when it was first unveiled late last year.

But in a further boost for businesses, free parking for three hours will now be available at any time of day, rather than just for those arriving after 10am.

The moves mean that the policy will now be implemented from 1 May to ensure that all the ticket machines can be updated to take into account the improved offer.

Leader of the Council, Richard Farnell, said: “We know free parking will make it much easier for people to come and enjoy our town centre and that will be an important boost for our local business community. 

“In the past few weeks, in Rochdale town centre alone, we’ve seen the opening of two new coffee shops, in Java and Costa, and the new Morrisons Local is set to open its doors any day. This offer will make it easier for our residents and visitors to come and spend money in these new additions to our high street as well as the many other shops and cafes in our town centres.”

Marjorie Thompson, Owner of Chantilly on Cheetham Street, said: “This will make a tremendous difference to local businesses. All out of town places like the Trafford Centre offer free parking, but people are more likely to come into Rochdale, even if it means popping in and buying something while they’re on their way to out-of-town shops, if they don’t have to pay to park. We have always noticed an upsurge in trade after 3pm when parking is currently free.”

Friday, 13 March 2015

Flowing along nicely: work to reopen the river on course to start within days

Photograph by Andrew Brookes
The transformation of a key part of Rochdale town centre gets underway next week, with contractors set to start uncovering Rochdale’s River Roch and reveal its stunning medieval bridge.

Plans to uncover the 800-year-old bridge, which has been hidden from view for over 100 years, were given the green light in December last year when the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) granted £1.2m to the scheme.

Now the project, which is also backed by the Environment Agency and the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, is taking shape, with hoardings set to be erected around the Butts area from Monday. (March 16th)

VBA Ltd has been appointed to carry out the painstaking work. The contractor is a joint venture of three well-known companies who have combined to undertake works under the “Water and Environment Management” framework. Between them they have worked on major projects including the Lancaster Flood Defence system, Metrolink and Heysham Power Station.

They will spend next week clearing the site, before breaking ground on Monday 23 March. This work will see them cutting through just over half a metre of concrete to remove the culvert, which acts like a roof for the river. The team are hoping to have the river bed and three-metre high walls exposed by June, depending on river levels.

Stage two of the work, which will start in the summer, will see extensive work on the bridge itself, with the erection of new parapets in traditional york stone, surface repaving and improvements to the stonework.    

The final stage of work, to uncover the section of the river on the other side of the bridge in front of Barclays Bank, will then begin.

Council Leader Richard Farnell, said: “Rochdale town centre is changing fast and it’s great to see another important project getting underway. We already have a beautiful historic attraction in our Grade 1 Listed Town Hall, and revealing our medieval bridge will be a further boost to our wonderful heritage offer. This will create a visitor attraction in the town and help make Rochdale a much more attractive place for the people who live and work here.”

Residents and visitors will be given a unique prospective on the scheme throughout the works, with viewing windows set to be placed along the section of hoardings running from the bottom of Yorkshire Street up to The Walk.

The scheme, which is a key part of Rochdale town centre’s ongoing £250m regeneration programme, will help to reduce flood risk in the town centre and create educational opportunities for the borough’s school and college students.

As well as uncovering and restoring the bridge, the project also includes measures to enhance the natural heritage of the river by introducing features that encourage river vegetation and creatures to re-establish themselves.

Mark Widdup, Director of Economy and Environment at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “The river opening is a very exciting development for the borough and it’s great to see this project getting underway. We’re working closely with businesses to minimise disruption and people should still be able to move around the town centre in much the same way for most of the construction period. At some point during the scheme, the roundabout which links Yorkshire Street, The Esplanade and South Parade, will be removed, but this will be managed through occasional lane closures.” 

Recoviner the River - photography supplied by Touchstones Rochdale

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Women in Business Event

Friday 06 March, 10am - 2pm, Hopwood Hall College, Middleton Campus

Blue Orchid is proud to be working with Rochdale Council to celebrate International Women's week with a special networking event.

The event will include presentations from three inspirational women speakers who will talk about their experiences of setting up in business.

This is an informal event which will allow ladies to promote thier own businesses on the day and learn from other succesful business women.

The day will include:

  • Registration and coffee
  • Introduction from Blue Orchid
  • The Importance of Health & Well Being
  • Warm up activity
  • Presentation from Gillian Bishop - Chief Executive of Link 4 Life
  • Presentation from Julie Bowmer - 2014 Rochdale Business Woman of the Year
  • Presentation from Ruth Yasmeen - SpiderVision Productions and 2015 BAFTA nominee
  • Liz McInnes - MP for Heywood & Middleton
  • Lunch & Networking
  • Exhibitions
  • A Blue Orchid Masterclass

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Views sought on Rochdale’s retail and leisure development

Residents will be given their first glimpse of early plans for Rochdale’s proposed retail and leisure development at a public consultation event next week.

Visitors to the town centre exhibition will be able to comment on the development framework, which covers aspects of the scheme such as layout, access and general design.

The development framework and the feedback received at the consultation will help to guide a more detailed planning application, which will be submitted later this year.

The public consultation will be run by Rochdale Borough Council and Rochdale Development Agency in collaboration with their development partner, Genr8 Developments LLP.

Council Chief Executive Steve Rumbelow said: “This is an important next step in the council’s commitment to rejuvenate Rochdale town centre. There is still a lot of work ahead but this consultation will help Genr8 our development partner bring forward detailed proposals and submit a planning application later in the year.”

Mike Smith, partner at Genr8 Developments said: “We are now in the position of negotiating with potential occupiers with real confidence about the development timetable. This is a prime site right in the heart of the town centre and immediately next to the new transport interchange, the town centre Metrolink stop and the iconic new council offices and library. We are really excited about this opportunity and believe others will be as well.”

Following the consultation, Genr8 will start work on a detailed design, with a view to submitting a detailed planning application, comprising retail, cinema, bars, restaurants and other uses, as well as car parking.

The Genr8 development forms part of a £250m regeneration of Rochdale town centre, which has included the award winning customer service centre, council office and library at Number One Riverside, the arrival of Metrolink into the town centre and the new transport interchange.

The consultation event will take place at the following times and locations:

Bar 5 on South Parade, Rochdale 

  • Tuesday 10 February from 11am until 7pm  
  • Wednesday 11 February from 10am until 5pm


Number One Riverside

  • Thursday 12 February from 10am until 5pm


More information about the consultation and the town centre regeneration can be found at or on Twitter @RochdaleCentre

Friday, 23 January 2015

Top M&S model Rosie Huntington Whiteley could be on her way to Rochdale...

A selection of beauty products are on offer now for one week only in the Rochdale M&S store including buy one get one half price on the Nature’s Extract and La Maison beauty ranges.

Purchasing any one of these products contributes towards the stores overall performance to give Rochdale M&S a chance of bringing one of the UK’s  top model’s - Rosie Huntington Whiteley to the town on Saturday 31 January.

M&S Stores up and down the country are competing against each other for the biggest uplift in beauty sales. The store with the biggest uplift in sales will receive a personal visit from the model to kick start the launch of her new perfume “Rosie for Autograph” next Saturday.

Help increase the store’s chances of winning by purchasing any M&S beauty product. Pick up an early an Valentine’s present or Mother’s Day gift for your loved one and help bring Rosie to Rochdale!