The first ever £1 million annual planning income for the council is being seen as a sign of growing confidence in the borough as a place for business investment.
A clutch of major investments helped push Rochdale borough to a record-breaking year for planning fee income, with £1 million generated during 2016.
The huge scale of investment, demonstrated by applications like the new shopping and leisure development, Rochdale Riverside, and the Junction 19 link road at Heywood, helped bring in more planning revenue than ever before.
Key applications included:
Junction 19 link road
The Russell Homes application for a new road linking Junction 19 of the M62 with South Heywood Business Park, alongside around 1.5 million square feet of employment space and up to 1,000 new homes, was submitted in November 2016, bringing £125,000 in planning fee income.
If approved, the £20 million project, funded by Highways England, Transport for Greater Manchester and the private sector, is expected to generate 2,800 full time equivalent jobs and bring a total financial benefit of £182 million over a 60 year period. The link road would also reduce journey times to Heywood Distribution park and Hareshill Road, helping to consolidate their status as prime employment sites.
A detailed application for the £60 million shopping and leisure development brought £70,000 in planning fee income when it was submitted in late 2016.
If approved, the game-changing plans will bring 25 new shops, restaurants and cafes into Rochdale town centre, alongside a cinema and 300 parking spaces. Next, M&S and Reel Cinema are already signed up to the scheme, which is expected to be worth £17 million a year to the local economy.
JD Sports extension, Kingsway Business Park
The application for JD Sports to extend their European headquarters at Kingsway Business Park by 600,000 square feet to a total floorspace of 2M square feet brought in £100,000 in planning fee income.
The extension, which was approved in December 2016, is expected to bring an additional 600 jobs to the site, up from the current baseline figure of 1,400. Work is due to start on site in March 2017.
Former Balderstone school site
Gleeson Homes submitted an application to build 143 homes on the former Balderstone School site, on Queen Victoria Street. The application, which would bring a prominent brownfield site back into use, generated £30,000 in planning fee income, and, once complete, will secure over £100,000 of developer contributions to invest in recreational open space in the area.
Councillor Richard Farnell, leader of the council, said: “This record-breaking year for planning demonstrates the sheer pace of development, which is bringing much-needed investment and jobs into our borough. The fact that people want to bring their money here shows how attractive Rochdale, with its great transport links, superfast broadband and forward-thinking council, is to businesses. The money generated in planning fee income doesn’t only help fund the department, but it has also allowed us to take on 2 young planning apprentices on 12-month placements.”