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Rochdale contractor appointed for Greater Manchester fire service museum revamp

20 December 2019

How the new museum could look.

Plans for a brand new Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum in Rochdale are blazing ahead with local building firm Casey being appointed to take forward the £3.1 million project.

Casey, which has been operating in Rochdale since the early 1970s, will lead on the construction project to transform Rochdale's former fire station in Maclure Road, which has been part funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Rochdale Borough Council.

The changes will bring the museum, which currently operates from the rear yard of the fire station, into the main building, creating a new exhibition space which will be more than 4 times the size of the existing site.

It will allow the public to see even more of their many fascinating exhibits, including a fire engine from the 1700s, and is expected to increase annual visitor numbers from 5,000 to 15,000.

Work will start in the New Year, with the brand new museum set to open to the public before Christmas 2020.

Museum trustee, Bob Bonner, said: "We are absolutely thrilled that work on this once-in-a-lifetime project is about to commence and our revitalised museum will open to the public before long. The museum has campaigned for some time to save this wonderful Rochdale icon, so we are delighted that, through our partnerships with Rochdale Council and the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, this goal has finally been achieved. We look forward to working with Casey throughout this exciting transformation."

As well as a brand new museum, the work will also include the creation of a brand new co-working office space for creative and digital industries on the 1st floor, with up to 100 desks. Making the most of the excellent transport and digital links, the office space is part of a drive by the council, which owns the building, to help bring further investment, skills and jobs into the borough.

Around 16 Casey staff will work on the restoration, with the firm set to recruit 2 additional roles for Rochdale borough residents who are currently not in education, employment or training to work on the project.

Councillor John Blundell, cabinet member for regeneration at the council, said: "I'm all fired up by the news that this fantastic project will be taken forward by a local firm, meaning the investment and jobs will benefit Rochdale people and Rochdale businesses.

"This well-loved attraction has played host to many thousands of visitors since it opened in the early 1980s, thanks to the efforts of the fantastic volunteers, like Bob, who have put their heart and soul into it. This first development is part of Rochdale's Station Gateway masterplan and the ongoing £400 million transformation of Rochdale town centre and we're proud to be part of it."

The Greater Manchester Fire Service are also played a role in the museum's transformation, with GM Mayor Andy Burnham gifting the museum to the council to enable more council money to be ploughed into the project.

Carl Wilde, director at Casey, said, "This 1930s building is a great heritage asset for Rochdale and we are proud to be working on its transformation."

Rochdale Development Agency (RDA) is overseeing the project on behalf of the council with OMI Architects leading the design team and Poole Dick Associates providing cost management services. The Creative Core Group is supporting the museum with the exhibition design.