Response to The One Show

On Thursday 28th September 2017, The One Show featured a report on the proposed investments at College Bank and Lower Falinge.

We were given the opportunity to be interviewed on the programme but declined as we felt that the timing wasn’t right. Our focus is currently on speaking with all residents individually in their homes to discuss how the proposals could affect them as well as their potential future housing needs.

To date, over 650 homes have been visited twice and we have spoken with over350 tenants and residents in their homes. From these conversations, we have been able to guarantee that all those wishing to stay living in the town centre will be able to do so should the proposals go ahead. Over the coming weeks, our priority is to continue with these visits and for all responses analysed to help further shape our plans.

We did however, provide a statement to The One Show which outlined the facts about the project, the positive impact that redevelopment could have on the area and for local people, and our commitment to ensuring residents will be looked after should they have to move.

This is provided in full below:

One Show statement

We’re planning a major investment, which could regenerate both neighbourhoods with a wider mix of high-quality homes for local people, more green spaces, and easier routes into the town centre.

Our plans are still in the very early stages so have not been finalised yet, however the currently proposals could result in 500 more homes across the regeneration area than there are currently. These would offer a broad mix of options to ensure that the housing needs and aspirations of all local people are met – now and in the future.

We have been consulting with local people for several months to help shape the plans and ensure that the neighbourhoods meet the needs of local residents. We are currently speaking with all residents individually to discuss the proposals and what they could mean for them.

Although some College Bank residents want to stay in a refurbished high-rise home, many have told us, as part of these visits, that they would prefer a house or to move to an RBH home in a different neighbourhood or to homes such as those in our award-winning extra care scheme.

We understand that some people have concerns about redevelopment, but there is also a significant number of residents who are pushing for change and a wider choice of affordable, high –quality homes in Rochdale Town Centre.

Whenever we undertake projects such as this, we ensure first and foremost that our residents are looked after. Nobody would need to move until they had a home that met their needs and aspirations. Any redevelopment is expected to take up to 20 years and the phasing of this would be driven by the timescales required to support people to move.

RBH guarantees town centre homes for residents at College Bank and Lower Falinge

We’re pleased to confirm that all residents who want to stay in the town centre will be able to do so if our plans to redevelop College Bank and Lower Falinge go ahead. 

The guarantee will form part of a ‘Residents’ Deal’ and follows hundreds of home visits, which have been carried out by 80 RBH employees over the summer. Members of our team have been visiting tenants and residents at College Bank and Lower Falinge to talk to them about the proposals for their neighbourhoods, including how they may be affected and next steps as well as to answer any questions.

Clare Tostevin, Director of Communities at RBH, said:

“So far, we’ve spoken with around 300 tenants and residents in their homes. Many people have really welcomed the opportunity to speak with us one-to-one and face-to-face about the proposed investments.

“From these conversations, we’ve been able to gather more information on people’s potential housing needs and priorities should they have to move. This means that we can now guarantee that if people in College Bank and Lower Falinge need to be rehoused, they can choose to remain in the town centre and be close to family, friends, work, schools, and support networks. 

“This commitment will form part of the Residents’ Deal, which we are seeking to develop in partnership with the local community. This will set out a wide range of commitments and opportunities for all tenants and leaseholders as well as how people can participate in the regeneration process and in the ongoing management of the neighbourhoods.

“Our next step is to continue with the home visits. We haven’t been able to catch everyone at home to speak to them, so we will be contacting people by telephone or email to arrange a convenient time to speak to them or to go through the information over the telephone.  As part of this we are making clear that there would be dedicated support from RBH for anyone who needs to move which would help them through every step.

“Once we’ve gathered all of this feedback, we’ll be using it to help further shape the proposals. We will be keeping tenants and residents updated throughout this process, including through our new website, which we hope will make it easier and clearer for local people to find out about the latest developments.”