Listening to residents in College Bank and Lower Falinge

Consultation with our local communities is really important to us. Our starting point for looking at the best options for people and place in Rochdale town centre was to speak with the local community. We have sought to be open and honest with residents at every stage. However, we are always keen to learn and do better, so welcome any feedback on additional ways to consult with and support the community.

We know that our huge investment plans mean big change, and we’re here to listen and to provide any advice or support that residents need.  We are very grateful to everyone who has contributed to this conversation and these voices have helped to shape our plans. By engaging with residents early on and continuing to share information, we’ve been able to adapt our plans to reflect these views.

It is really important that all voices are heard and that everyone affected has the right to participate in shaping the plans and we will not tolerate aggression or intimidation or trying to shut down voices that represent a range of views, whether at workshops or online.

What we’ve done

  • By June 2017 we had over 300 contacts with residents to shape the proposals.
  • By September 2017 we had visited over 1,000 homes and had face to face conversations with people in over 600 households.
  • Held twice weekly drop in sessions from May 2017.
  • Held 17 workshop sessions.
  • Developed a Residents’ Deal with the community.
  • Held Facebook chats and set up a dedicated website and email contact.

Additional support available

 We know that this process can be worrying, so we’ve put in place additional support for those residents who need it.

  • We’ve undertaken additional home visits when requested.
  • We have had a dedicated point of support for tenants since early 2018.
  • Additional intensive work and support for those households affected by the next immediate phases of development.

What we’ve promised

  • Guaranteed a minimum of one year’s notice for those who need to move.
  • Support for an early move for those residents who have a need to do so.
  • All affected residents will have a choice to stay within the town centre.

Those residents in earlier phases of redevelopment who have chosen to move to a different area have all been able to move to their preferred location – this may have been closer to work or family.

Contacting us

  • We have a dedicated e-mail address (towncentre.regen@rbh.org.uk)
  • We have a dedicated website (www.collegebankandlowerfalinge.org.uk) together with dedicated Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Residents can also call us on Freephone 0800 027 7769.

We know that there will always be a range of views about proposals of this scale. We will continue to take on board all views, whether positive or critical. Our proposals are about people, not buildings. We think that these plans represent an opportunity to build homes fit for the future – especially for those residents who already live in Lower Falinge and College Bank. We do know, however, that these are people’s homes, and that any plans for demolition are difficult and unsettling for the residents who live in those homes. That’s why we’ve shared information as early as possible, it is why we have always shared information directly with local people first, and why we’ve put in place additional support for those who need it.

We are sad and disappointed that we needed to cut our February consultation workshop short, due to aggressive and abusive behaviour from one individual towards a fellow resident. We welcome all residents to our workshops, regardless of their views on our proposals, but we will not tolerate such behaviour. We’re looking forward to rearranging the workshop so that all residents have the opportunity to attend.

A statement regarding yesterday’s workshop

Yesterday we held our latest consultation event for residents in Rochdale town centre. This was an opportunity to listen to those who live locally about the improvements and investment we would like to make to the homes we will retain in Lower Falinge.

Unfortunately an attendee at the event became aggressive and abusive towards another resident who was present. We would like to thank RBH colleagues and residents at the workshop who dealt with the situation calmly and professionally, ensuring that the incident did not escalate further.

We have a zero tolerance approach to all aggressive or abusive behaviour. We will ensure that our consultation events are places where all residents and employees feel welcome and safe to attend.

Following the incident, we decided to end the workshop early, and we will rearrange it for a future date to ensure that residents still have the opportunity to contribute. The workshop display boards are also available to download – please e-mail us on towncentre.regen@rbh.org.uk with any comments, views, or suggestions.

Information from the community workshop on 7th February 2019

A big thank you to all the residents who attended the community workshop to discuss with residents what investment they would like to see in retained homes at Lower Falinge.

We don’t have any firm plans for what future investment in retained homes at Lower Falinge could include yet and we want to work with the community to identify what the priorities would be for investment. We recognise that could include improvements within homes, external improvements to blocks as a whole and external and shared spaces. We’ll be using the ideas provided by residents at the workshop, together with our discussions with local people through home visits, to develop some more detailed proposals.

Download and view the display boards from today’s workshop: Lower Falinge Workshop Display Boards – 7th February 2019 (PDF)

If you have any further views, please drop us a line at towncentre.regen@rbh.org.uk!

Town centre map

Local residents have asked for more information about what we mean by the “town centre area”, and one of the recommendations from the independent report on the residents’ deal was to provide a map of the area. Today we’re publishing our map, which we hope residents will find helpful. In addition to the image below, you can also download a PDF version of the map. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to drop us an e-mail on towncentre.regen@rbh.org.uk.

Map of Rochdale town centre area