More than 80 businesses came together at a meet the buyer event for Rochdale’s flagship regeneration project, the new £80 million shopping and leisure development, Rochdale Riverside.
Build contractor Willmott Dixon is likely to spend more than £21 million with local sub-contractors, as part of their commitment to ensure that 80% of their spend and labour on this project is committed within Greater Manchester, with 30% of that being spent within Rochdale.
'A local firm has already secured almost £6 million worth of contracts on the scheme'
Local civil engineering company Hovington Ltd, whose Chichester Street base is less than a mile from the construction site, has already secured contracts worth almost £6 million for work on the foundations and drainage.
A number of further contracts are up for grabs, including masonry, fencing and gates and public realm work.
'280 weeks of apprenticeships will be made available as part of the Rochdale Riverside project'
As well as ploughing millions into the local economy by employing local firms, Willmott Dixon will directly support young people and those looking or work, with 280 weeks of apprenticeships available on the Riverside project. The company is also looking to organise 30 site visits for local schools and offer 30 weeks of work experience to give youngsters a taste of the variety of careers available in construction.
Willmott Dixon’s Danny O’Donnell, the principal surveyor on the Rochdale Riverside project, said: “We were founded by John Willmott back in 1852 and strong social values are a major part of our company ethos. We always work with local companies wherever possible and we set ourselves a high target for delivering apprenticeships and work experience on all our sites. Our Manchester office is based just down the road in Oldham and many of our employees are based in and around Rochdale, so we we’re really proud to have been given this important job. It will change the face of Rochdale town centre and is a project which is very close to our heart.”
‘I want local people to be part of the Rochdale Riverside story’
Councillor Liam O’Rourke, cabinet member for business, skills and employment, said: “We were delighted to support Willmott Dixon at their Meet the Buyer event. We want to make sure local people benefit as much as possible from this fantastic project, so it was great to see so many Rochdale borough businesses in the room. I’m also very encouraged by their commitment to apprentices and we will support them every step of the way on this important work. I know people will look back at the Riverside project, once complete, and be really impressed with what has been achieved here in Rochdale and I want local people to be part of that story.”
The Riverside project is being delivered by Genr8 developments in partnership with Kajima and the council. The 200,000 square feet scheme will bring around 24 shops, restaurants, cafes, and a 6-screen cinema to the heart of Rochdale and is due to open to the public in summer 2020.
Next, M and S, River island, JD Sports and Boots have already committed to be part of the scheme, alongside Reel Cinemas.