ROCHDALE Heritage Action Zone (HAZ)

HAZ Boundary Map © Crown copyright

The five year Heritage Action Zones (HAZ) partnership programme between Historic England and Rochdale Borough Council envisions new futures for one of the key gateways to the town centre.

The Heritage Action Zone is centred on Drake Street – the historic route from the railway station down to the Town Hall.

The area contains the Maclure Road Conservation Area and part of Rochdale Town Centre Conservation Area. The programme aims to transform retail dominated Drake Street into a vibrant community of mixed-use development that acknowledges and celebrates heritage.

Rochdale Heritage Action Zone was launched in May 2018 and will finish in March 2023.

The Heritage Action Zone programme includes:

    • Building and shop front grants
    • Heritage research in collaboration with Historic England
    • Engagement and education programme
    • Events and arts programme

More information on these projects will be made available as they emerge.

Get in touch

for more information regarding the HAZ project please contact

A view from the HAZ area towards the town centre
A view up Drake Street
Tram lines running past the old Observer Building and clock in Rochdale ©Touchstones (Rochdale Local Studies Centre)
Drake Street was once a bustling high street © Burnley Evening Post

The Context

The Heritage Action Zone area originally developed as the commercial, cultural, social and civic focal point of the town and contains examples of impressive Georgian, Victorian and early 20th century architecture. It also has strong connections to the Co-operative Movement.

Until the early 1980s Drake Street was Rochdale’s premier place to shop. However a series of local and national influences have affected area and led to the decline of the street. Whilst parts of Rochdale town centre are currently being regenerated, the Heritage Action Zone area has continued to decline. More than 30 buildings within the HAZ area are designated either locally or nationally for their heritage merit, but a large proportion of these buildings are in poor condition and are either vacant or do not have a sustainable use. The zone remains disconnected from the wider housing and labour market and is ranked as the 33rd most deprived area in the 2017 national Indices of Multiple Deprivation. These factors have led the Rochdale Town Centre Conservation Area to be placed on Historic England’s ‘Heritage At Risk’ Register.

HAZ aims to create a strong vision for the area, galvanising property owners and partners so that this historic gateway will become a pioneering area for town centre living - with a new focus on the town’s emerging leisure and cultural heritage sector. Rebalancing the town centre will introduce new uses for sites around Drake Street, particularly residential and leisure, to ensure that it is an attractive place to live, work, play and visit. Importantly the HAZ will also complement the council’s plans as part of Rochdale’s response to the Greater Manchester Mayor’s ‘Town Centre Challenge’.

The Grade II Listed Institute for the Deaf, Rochdale
The former offices of the Rochale Observer Newspaper

What is a Heritage Action Zone?

As a pilot project, the former Butterworth's Jewellers Shop on Drake Street will be opening as the Cooperative Enterprise Hub

Heritage Action Zones is a partnership scheme launched by Historic England in 2017 that aims to breathe new life into historic places and create economic growth and improve quality of life in villages, towns and cities. There are 18 Heritage Action Zones in the country.

Read more about Heritage Action Zones here.

Partnership and cooperation

Rochdale Heritage Action Zone programme includes number of partners.