Skip to main content

Spring 2019Interview with John Blundell

Rochdale Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Business, Skills & Employment

One of the youngest people to ever have been elected to Rochdale Borough Council, John Blundell was first elected a councillor in 2014 - age just 20 - and re-elected in 2018.

The 25-year-old was born at Birch Hill Hospital and raised in Firgrove; he now lives in Littleborough. His full-time occupation is a consultant economist for a leading Manchester-based company.

Councillor Blundell became the Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Business, Skills and Employment in 2018. His role is to provide strategic vision, to assist council officers in realising that vision and to give the people of the borough confidence that the council is making the borough a better place.

Councillor Blundell is rightfully proud of the transformation that has already taken place in Rochdale town centre in recent years and is looking forward to the new leisure and retail development – Riverside – being completed.

Further investment is being pumped into Rochdale, including a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant that will see major improvements to Rochdale Town Hall and the public realm in front of the Town Hall.

He is keen to stress that it is important to ensure the transformation does not “run out of steam”.

Currently ideas are being considered for the areas around Rochdale Riverside, such as The Butts and Bell Street, and Councillor Blundell says it is crucial to get the right ideas implemented.

Councillor Blundell wants to see more housing in the town centre - to emulate the success of other towns and cities that have brought residents back into the heart of town - and create a vibrant culture that benefits people and town centre leisure and retail outlets.

He would also like to see a good mix of property types to ensure there is the right sort of housing in the town centre and further afield, such as around Rochdale train station. He feels this is important to attract people to live in the town and also to ensure local people have access to good jobs, be that in Rochdale or within easy commuting time and distance.

Asked what message he would like to give to the people of Rochdale, Councillor Blundell said: “The Council is working to make the borough a better place to live, to work, to run a business and to visit, but we cannot do this alone. We have listened to residents and businesses and will continue to do so. What I would ask is that people have a positive outlook, to focus on all the good changes that have been and are being made and to give Rochdale a chance.”

He added: “A number of independent businesses have already opened in the town centre, please shop local, please eat and drink local, give these businesses the vote of confidence they need, and please do the same when the Rochdale Riverside development opens."