Arts Centre - central to the renaissance of Rochdale!

January 15, 2008 12:00 AM

The second meeting of the 'vision setting group' - Leader of the Council - Alan Taylor, lead campaigner on the arts centre - Councillor Dale Mulgrew, John Patterson, the Council's executive director responsible for business partnerships, John Hudson, the chief executive of the Rochdale Development Agency and Craig McAteer, the Managing Director of the Link4lfe cultural Trust - for an arts centre in Rochdale Town Centre took place yesterday.

Also touched upon was the future potential of the Town Hall as a symbolic landmark building forever synonymous with Rochdale. It will be vacated of all Council employees and cease to be used as office accommodation in 2010, when staff are moved to a new contemporary office complex that is being constructed on Water Street.

After the meeting of stakeholders, the Council Leader Alan Taylor and Councillor Mulgrew will now be involved again in the final meeting that is scheduled for next week. This will agree on a prospectus for the short term options in respect of the Town Hall and the long term plan for the arts centre.

A paper will now be taken to Cabinet to discuss the setting up of a 'Task Group' of leading local arts opinion formers for their involvement to ensure the arts centre project has purposeful plans which meet the characteristic and needs of the Town and Borough.

Councillor Mulgrew commented: "The possibilities are boundless and if we think what the Town Hall and adjoining Arts Centre could be transformed into it really will open up Rochdale as a fabulous Tourism destination and could lead to the creation of a unique cultural quarter. This would celebrate and exalt the rich heritage of our town in tandem with our award winning museum - Touchstones.

"Align these plans with the retail and commercial redevelopment planned for Town Centre East and this will challenge even the most ardent of sceptics because an injection of vitality and economic revival will be seen as never before in Rochdale, this will lead to a true renaissance and a centre deserving of the people of the town."