“Revealing the Roch”
Client: Rochdale Borough Council
Funding Partner: Environment Agency
External Funding Partner: Heritage Lottery Fund
Principal Contractor: VBA Joint Venture Ltd
Heritage Architect: Donald Insall Associates
The Manchester Project of the Year is given to the Manchester project that best demonstrates the highest levels of technical achievement, innovation, application of best practice, team working throughout the supply chain and, most importantly, to the customer’s delight.
In the early 20th century, the River Roch was culverted through Rochdale Town Centre, hiding the river and a masonry bridge dating from the 14th century, both of which were instrumental in building the wealth that we see reflected in the high quality of the surrounding built heritage.
Revealing the river and the historic stone bridge restores the setting and context of the Georgian/Victorian town centre. The project restores the bridge, repairing damaged stonework and replaces parts that were lost when the culvert was built.
The culvert increased flood risk so by removing it the project reduces this risk and protects other important heritage assets from damage. The culvert along with erosion defence measures means that despite excellent water quality, the river cannot support life in the culverted section. The project maintains erosion protection while creating conditions for riparian species to establish and thrive thereby restoring the natural and built heritage.
‘Revealing the Roch’ shows how, by sensitive restoration of the heritage, the story of how a place has developed over time can be told as well as yielding quantifiable benefits for the place and providing an asset that local people can be both proud of and use every day.
(Above Left: the River Roch before the works; Above Right: After the works)