Plans which could transform the area around Castleton railway station are set to go out to public consultation in July 2021, as Rochdale borough's multi-million pound rail strategy takes another step forward.
The ambitious proposals include the creation of new homes, a better mix of properties and the extension of the famous East Lancs heritage railway into the area.
Plans include the extension of the East Lancs Heritage Railway into Castleton
Under the plans, the area would also play a key role in the extension of the Metrolink within the borough, with the aim of creating a tram-train network to link Oldham and Manchester with Heywood, running through Castleton. The innovative system would see trams travel along existing, but rarely used train lines.
Improvements to the railway station, including additional parking facilities and an improved entrance, are planned, to give more of a sense of arrival and encourage more sustainable travel.
The consultation is open now
Residents are being asked for their views on a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The SPD sets out planning principles for the area which will help support the regeneration plans.
Having an SPD in place will also enable the council to bid for external funding to attract the investment needed to push the improvements forward. The 6 week consultation is now underway. The proposals will also be examined by the overview and scrutiny committee and the Rochdale South township committee.
The proposals form part of wider plans to exploit Rochdale's transport links to regenerate the areas around the borough's 5 railways stations, as part of the council's rail strategy.
The proposals are part of the wider rail strategy which seeks to regenerate the area around the borough's 5 railway stations
The plans involve the creation of up to 7,000 new homes and over 100,000 M2 of employment space along the rail corridor to create up to 11,000 new jobs. The council is also working with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) on proposals for major transport improvements, including the extension of the Metrolink into Heywood and Middleton and a new rail station at Slattocks.
Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for economy and communications at Rochdale Borough Council and RDA board member, said: "It's full steam ahead for our rail strategy, with the groundwork for major changes around Castleton station being laid. This document will serve as a catalyst for the regeneration of this important area and help us exploit its abundant assets, including its proximity to the East Lancs heritage line and the canal, its village feel and the fact that it has major employers on its doorstep.
"Improvements are already under way in this area, with over 300 brand new homes being delivered on brownfield land at the former Royle Works and Car Craft sites, new car parking and plans for a new bee network cycle lane down Manchester Road also being progressed.
"We're really lucky to have 5 railway stations in our borough and our rail strategy will make the most of these key sites, around which a lot of our future regeneration projects will take shape."
A similar consultation focussed on the area around Rochdale train station took place earlier this year, with residents giving their views on proposals including a brand new public square in the area and the creation of new and improved parking facilities. Responses are currently being reviewed, with a final version of the plan to go before the council's cabinet for approval in the next few months.
A brand new community rail partnership, with representatives from Calderdale Council, Rochdale Borough Council, community groups and businesses, has also been created in recent weeks. The partnership's aim is to engage communities along the Calder Valley line and harness smaller scale improvement projects to support the wider rail strategy.
Rail strategy – read the wider plans for the areas around the borough's railway stations