Gillespies has been appointed to redesign the town square around Rochdale Town Hall as part of a £3m project.
The company is the first of a team to be appointed by Rochdale Council to transform the town’s grade I listed town hall.
More than 60 companies expressed an interest in the Town Hall Square project, with eight being shortlisted before Gillespies was selected.
The plans will improve connections between the town hall and the grade I-listed cenotaph and memorial gardens, as well linking to other heritage and cultural treasures in the town centre.
Proposals include the removal of the road and parking in front of the town hall and the creation of extensive pockets of greenery to create an outdoor space as part of a revamped public realm.
The newly designed square will be multi-functional and designed to accommodate large-scale events, such as the town’s hugely successful Feel Good festival.
The plans will encompass the whole of Town Hall Square, including the esplanade, the area behind the town hall up to Packer Spout Gardens, and sections to the side, including the island where the new Gracie Fields statue was recently unveiled.
Jim Gibson, partner at Gillespies, said: “Many years ago, I visited the town hall as a young student and remember being wowed by the architecture, but frustrated by the setting of it in a sea of tarmac. As soon as this commission was launched, I saw the potential of the project in repositioning the town.”
The Town Hall Square scheme is part of a major project to restore the town hall following a successful round one bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £8.9m. The entire town hall project is due for completion in 2023.