Your Local Independent 125

ISSUE 125 • MARCH 2019 ALSO COVERING BOLTON • BURY AND SURROUNDING AREAS FREE YOUR LOCAL Inde endent ROCHDALE HEYWOOD Wedding Events eddings Tel: 01706 516706 | Email: Mercure Manchester Norton Grange Hotel & Spa | Manchester Road, Castleton OL11 2XZ (sat nav M24 2UB) at Mercure Manchester Norton Grange EDDING OPEN EVENING Thursday 14th March 6pm – 8pm OUR UPCOMING EDDING OPEN D YS Sunday 24thMarch Sunday 13th pril Wedding Events at Mercure Manchester Norton Grange www.n Tel: 01706 516706 | Email: h6 Mercur Manchester Norton Grange H tel & Spa | Manchester Road, Castleton OL11 2XZ (sat nav M24 2UB) SUITES MADE TO YOUR OWN REQUIREMENTS MYRTLE GROVE, BACUP ROAD, RAWTENSTALL 01706 831630 LARGE RANGE OF BEDS AT FACTORY PRICES RE-COVER & REPAIR SERVICES AVAILABLE • • OPEN 7 DAYS NO MIDDLEMAN • BUY DIRECT FROM THE MANUFACTURER THE first of a world class team who will transform Rochdale’s iconic grade I listed town hall and the sur- rounding area has been appointed by the council. Landscape architects Gillespies, who have worked on commissions around the globe, have been appointed to redesign Town Hall Square as part of a planned £3m transformation of the space. The team, whose previous projects in- clude the restoration of the Piece Hall in Halifax, Bradford City Park and Media City UK in Salford, impressed selectors with their ambitious plans for a dramat- ic new setting for the neo gothic town hall to create an outdoor space to rival the best public squares in Europe. Emerging proposals include the re- moval of the road and parking in front of the town hall and the creation of exten- sive pockets of greenery to create a su- perb outdoor space as part of a complete- ly reimagined public realm in Rochdale town centre. 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 ambitious plans will encompass the whole of Town Hall Square, includ- ing the esplanade, the area behind the town hall up to Packer Spout Gardens, and sections to the side, including the is- land where the new Gracie Fields statue was recently unveiled. A major aim of the project is to better connect the town hall with the grade I listed cenotaph and memorial gardens and other heritage and cultural trea- sures in the town centre, including the multi-award winning river re-opening scheme and Touchstones museum. 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 and with our practice’s successful portfolio of delivering large scale transformational public change, I knew that we would be an ideal partner.” 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 project, which will see around £16m invested in the building, involves the restoration of its historic treasures, including the Magna Carta mural and extensive stained glass win- dows, as well as making the building more accessible and opening the histor- ic library space on the second floor as a public space. Other ideas Gillespies have put for- ward for the space include intricate de- signs in sections of the paving, similar to the symbols and motifs inside the town hall which reflect Rochdale’s history as a focal point for the global textile industry. The entire town hall project is due for completion in 2023. The initial ideas for Town Hall Square will go out to public consultation in the summer. FOOTBALLER Joe Thomp- son, who has twice beaten cancer to play for his boy- hood hometown club Ro- chdale, has announced his retirement from the game. Confirming his decision, he said he had ‘battled through some of life’s hardest challenges, and managed to overcome them’. For Roch- dale fans, his dedication, skill and passion will never be for- gotten. And he will always be remembered for his fairy- tale strike against Charlton Athletic at Spotland last May, which kept Rochdale in League One and sent rivals Oldham Athletic down to League Two – a goal he said ‘meant the world to me’. Town Hall Square plans shape up Initial ideas for how Town Hall Square could look will go out to public consultation in the summer Inspirational Thompson retires from football Joe Thompson with his partner Chantelle and daughter Thailula wants to mentor young pro- fessionals in the game. Thompson said: “My mind has grown stronger but with the intense treatment my body has had to endure over the last six years, it is no longer able to perform to the demands of the professional game. I owe it to my body and also to my family who have all seen me go through hell on more than one occa- sion. I would like to thank them dearly; particularly my wife Chantelle, my mum Mi- chelle, brother Reuben and my amazing daughter Lula. “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my teammates, my manager Keith Hill and all the staff at Rochdale. You are truly an unbelievable group of people. “Thank you for all the sup- port and faith you have put in me over the years. It has been an honour and a privi- lege to work alongside you all and create memories I shall cherish forever.” He said he would be work- ing in the fields of motiva- tional speaking, mentoring and the media. Manufacturers of blinds • Fast Service 3Vertical Blinds £99 We do roller,venetian and all your blind needs. For a FREE appointment or quote please contact us on • Rollers/Venetians/Conservatories Tel: 01706 550510 07533 293380 The club released a statement from Thompson confirming his retirement ‘with a heavy heart’. In it the 29-year-old winger said retirement was ‘one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make’, but confirmed talks had been ongoing with spe- cialists and consultants. Rochdale’s Number 15 said he had ‘pushed his body to the absolute limit’ and now STONE FLAGS WANTED! (Not concrete flags) Roy – 0161 945 3373 Mobile – 07971 852066 Follow us on Facebook: yourlocalindependent