Major contractor appointed as work on £60m Rochdale development kicks off

    Plans for the creation of 242 brand new apartments for rent and a Hampton by Hilton hotel in Rochdale town centre have moved a step closer, with contractors Willmott Dixon set to start work within days.

    The construction giants, who recently built the new shopping and leisure development, Rochdale Riverside, have been readying the site for months, with enabling works starting in October last year. They’ve now been formally appointed to carry out the main build contract.

    The £60m project, known as Upperbanks, is set to create a number of opportunities for local companies, with the firm aiming to ensure 40 per cent of its local spend is committed within a 20 mile radius of the site, while 75 per cent of it will be spent within 40 miles.

    A number of work experience and apprenticeship and job opportunities will be made available, with the team aiming to deliver at least 15 sessions with local primary schools and over 100 weeks’ worth of apprenticeships.

    The scheme has been awarded over £20m of external funding, attracting over £17m from the government’s Future High Streets Fund and more than £3m from the Greater Manchester’s Combined Authority’s Brownfield Development Fund.

    Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for economy and communications at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “The appointment of Willmott Dixon is another crucial step forward for this fantastic scheme, which will regenerate this key brownfield site, and create a brand new housing and leisure offer which is unlike anything we currently have in this area.

    “Willmott Dixon is a known and trusted company, which previously constructed the Rochdale Riverside retail and leisure development. On that project, they contracted key local companies like Hovingtons, and created a number of local employment opportunities, including for ex armed forces personnel. I’m looking forward to seeing them build on this track record to deliver wider social benefits once again this time round.”

    Willmott Dixon was appointed after the council’s cabinet recently gave the go ahead for work on the main contract to get underway.

    The Upperbanks site is next to the new Rochdale Riverside retail and leisure development, which opened last year and is now over 90 per cent let. The scheme boasts a number of major retail names, including H&M, M&S and River Island, alongside leisure operators, including Puttstars and Reel Cinema.

    Anthony Dillon, Willmott Dixon, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the North, said:
    “We are hugely proud to continue to play our part in shaping the future of Rochdale town centre and to be working in partnership once again with Rochdale Borough Council, Rochdale Development Agency, Genr8 and our architect partners Leach Rhodes Walker and KKA.

    “We are committed to delivering brilliant buildings, transforming lives, strengthening communities and enhancing the environment so our towns are fit for future generations. This project will be built for the people of Rochdale by the people of Rochdale, and we will work with our local supply chain partners to create sustainable employment opportunities and a lasting positive legacy in this community.

    “The local pride in Rochdale Riverside and the continued level of inward investment being attracted to exciting developments such as Upperbanks, make it a blueprint for vital town centre regeneration across the UK.”

    Upperbanks is a Rochdale Borough Council scheme being delivered by Rochdale Development Agency, with Willmott Dixon as the contractors. It is set for completion in early 2024.

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