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RAUCOUS LAUGHTER: Council’s regeneration plans branded ‘ridiculous’

RAUCOUS LAUGHTER: Council’s regeneration plans branded ‘ridiculous’

CGI showing junction of Hare Hill Road and Victoria Street, illustrating 'improved public realm' proposals, Image: Rochdale council

A community group has branded images produced for a council consultation as ‘ridiculous’, claiming they sparked ‘raucous laughter’ at its recent meeting.

Littleborough Civic Trust says the CGIs, which show how parts of the town could look if a regeneration plan is put in place, contain mistakes which have got locals howling.

Council bosses say the pictures are only intended to give a ‘general sense’ of what is being proposed for the ‘station area’ rather than being exact illustrations.

But the trust says the authority should have done better, particularly with its depcition of how the junction of Hare Hill Road and Victoria Street could look.

It points out that ‘totally inaccurate’ images were produced for the Castleton station plan, and assurances were given that this would not be repeated when it came to the Littleborough consultation.

However, at a recent trust meeting the vision put forward in the artist’s impressions for is reported to have prompted mirth and derision in equal measure.

One unimpressed member described them as ‘absolutely ridiculous’.

The trust says bloopers include the Springhill Hospice shop being relocated from the right hand side of Hare Hill Road and the RSPCA shop is depicted as a red brick building when it is stone.

The long-standing group also questions why it appears to have been turned into a Chinese restaurant.

Some of the shops on the right are duplicated on the left and vice-versa, and the trust is  puzzled as to why the American ‘stars and stripes’ flag is on display.

Ian Jackson, chairman of Littleborough Civic Trust, said:  “Councillor Peter Winkler directly asked a council officer at the communities, regeneration and environment overview and scrutiny committee, to ensure that the artist’s impressions for Littleborough SPD document were accurate, not misleading and quoted that the drawings produced for Castleton are ‘totally inaccurate’.

“Coun Winkler was assured Littleborough’s would be, but now published it appears not to be the case. They raised raucous laughter from residents when referred to at the meeting.”

But Mark Robinson, assistant director of economy at Rochdale council, has defended the consultation images.

He said: ‘CGIs like these give a high level indication of what a scheme could look like.

“Their aim is to give people a general sense of what we’re proposing for an area, rather than to be an exact illustration of how something will appear in the future.

“If a decision is made to progress these proposals further, more detailed plans and images will be released and local people will be able to give their views.”

The council is also encouraging people to take part in its consultation on the ‘Draft Littleborough Station Area Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)’.

This runs until 21 November and locals can make their views known here


Words: Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter

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