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FOCUS ON ROCHDALE 28 when a detailed planning application was submitted to the council. Reel cinemas also joined high street big hitters Next and M&S in announcing their intention to open an outlet in the development, which is due for completion in 2020. But standing still until then isn’t an option for this pioneering borough. The council’s successful business rates sale, which offers businesses opening in selected empty units an 80 per cent discount in their first year of trading, followed by 50 per cent off in year two and a 30 per cent cut in year three, has now been extended to the borough’s other town centres Middleton and Heywood, following a big cut in vacancy rates in Rochdale. Further businesses which set up shop in 2016 as a result of the sale include a homemade bread and cakes shop, a wedding dress shop and a women’s shoes retailer. The council’s three hours free parking initiative also makes it easier for shoppers to come and splash the cash. Another barrier to investment was also torn down with the introduction of a start-up grant for new shops late last year. The cash, which is available to all new businesses that are eligible for the business rates discount, is designed to help with the costs of fitting out their premises. It was introduced to help fill empty units which were not an attractive prospect to new businesses, mainly due to the sheer amount of work which needed to be done to get some of the older properties up to standard. The match funding, which offers businesses a 50 per cent grant, up to a maximum of £5,000, has already been used by an old fashioned fish and chip shop, which is set to open in the next few weeks in the heart of the town centre conservation area. As with the rest of the regeneration, the heritage and modern will come together in another project this year. This time, the council will help create a thriving retail scene by tapping into Rochdale’s great tradition as a market town. The borough has held a market charter since the 1300s, but Rochdale is in the market for a bigger and better town centre offer, with fundamental changes planned. The current outdoor market will be relocated from its current temporary Continued from page 27 Premier Works, Toad Lane, Rochdale OL12 0NU Tel: 01706 656966 E-mail: enquiries@erwilliams.co.uk Website: erwilliams.co.uk Facebook/Twitter: erwilliamsltd E.R. Williams offers high quality painting and decorating with a proven record of exceptional customer service. We have extensive experience of working on social housing, residential property management, schools, universities, industrial, office, retail and hospitality contracts throughout Greater Manchester and further afield. We have a varied client list of organisations with whom we have traded for over twenty years which includes Rochdale Borough Council, Contour Homes, University of Manchester, TNT UK and Trafford Council.


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