Local authority approves extra financial support for Heywood Civic Centre

The famous venue is currently shut as preparations are underway for a proposed redevelopment, set to commence in April 2024.

Initially, plans were to create a new 50 square metre extension with a glazed front onto Peine Square to enhance the venue. However, revised proposals now include a larger 150 square metre extension for a more accessible entrance foyer with a café bar doubling as a box office, additional café seating, and a new kitchen.

The increased funding will also facilitate the construction of a new main bar on the ground floor, allowing the mezzanine level to be used flexibly during the day and as overflow space during evening events.

Furthermore, the investment will support the addition of two changing rooms for performers, enabling larger shows to be hosted. Additionally, there will be two new accessible toilets with baby changing facilities and a new Changing Places Toilet in the entrance foyer for public use.

The wider plans for Heywood Civic Centre include retractable seating in the auditorium for a more adaptable performance space, as well as upgrades to sound and lighting systems. The community will have new opportunities to engage in the arts thanks to Your Trust and local arts organisation, Cartwheel Arts, relocating to the centre.

This redevelopment is part of an £8.5 million investment in arts and culture in the borough, funded by Arts Council England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The grant will also support the redevelopment of Touchstones Rochdale, scheduled to reopen in 2025.

Councillor Danny Meredith, responsible for regeneration and housing at Rochdale Borough Council, expressed his delight at the additional funding, which will expand the venue beyond the original plans. This is just one of the improvements outlined in the Heywood masterplan, which includes new housing developments and road enhancements in the area.

Heywood Civic Centre is managed by leisure and culture partner, Your Trust, and Rochdale Development Agency is overseeing the project. The design team includes North West-based Hive Projects and K2 Architects.

Councillor Sue Smith, responsible for communities and co-operation, is excited about the investment in the venue’s future. The enhancements will allow for a wider range of performances, solidifying its status as a cultural hub in the borough.

Councillor Angela Brown, chair of the Heywood Township, is pleased with the additional funding, as it incorporates suggestions from the community for the revamped civic centre. The venue has always been central to Heywood, and the community’s input has been crucial in shaping its future.

The Capital Investment Programme, funded by Arts Council England and Rochdale Borough Council, will see Heywood Civic Centre reopen to the public in 2025.

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