RBH homes nominated for Rochdale Borough Design Awards

New RBH homes at Longridge Drive in HeywoodWe’re delighted that two RBH developments have been shortlisted in this year’s Rochdale Borough Design Awards. These are:

  • Our 11 new two-bedroom flats for older people on Daventry Road in Kirkholt, designed by Triangle Architects and built by Tyson Construction.
  • The second phase of our Longridge Drive development in Heywood, designed by TADW and built by Cruden Group.

Thank you and well done to our architects and construction partners, and to those RBH members, tenants and employees who have been involved in these projects from concept to delivery.

A number of our schemes have been recognised in recent editions of the Rochdale Borough Design Awards. Last year, our Extra Care scheme, Hare Hill in Littleborough, won the top prize, and a number of our homes have been previously shortlisted, including our refurbished flats in Kirkholt, the first phase of our Longridge Drive development in Heywood, and our new homes at Waithlands Road in Newbold.

We have a clear track record of building high-quality award-winning affordable new homes, and we will make sure that new and refurbished homes in College Bank and Lower Falinge meet the same high standards, providing great places to live in Rochdale town centre.

You can now vote online for the “People’s Choice” award. Voting closes at 5pm on Monday 11th December 2017.

Views from our residents – Tina

Tina talks about her move to Lower Falinge and the difference her new home has made to her family.

“I have three children – two daughters aged 17 and 15, and a 12-year-old son. We were living in a flat above a shop, managed by a private landlord. It had been made into a 5-bed property so it was quite big but the standard was poor and the flat got condemned.

I contacted the local council to help me find a new home which was large enough for my family. I needed four-bedrooms and wanted to stay in a central location. It took a bit of time to find something suitable, so I was supported by RBH’s homelessness service. I got guidance on the process of finding a new home and also help sourcing beds for the kids.

I was offered one of the new -build homes at Lower Falinge and knew that it was the home for us. We are really pleased with the property which is a thousand times better than our previous flat. One of the best things about it is the space. The house is three storeys and we have a bathroom on each floor including two showers. The bedrooms are big too so we can fit double or even king size beds in each room.

Being close to Falinge Park is also great. We walk the dog there and my younger kids love the new kick pitch so are out playing on it pretty much every day.

Overall, we’re all much happier in our new home and in Lower Falinge. We’re living in a lovely house and are part of a strong community.”

Tina’s home is one of 26 family homes and bungalows which were built as part of a £3.4m investment by RBH, including £564,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency. The new homes were constructed in 2015 on the site of two former blocks of flats and a vacant pub site.

Statement in Response to the Guardian article

We are appalled and angry about the serious accusation of ‘social cleansing’ which was carried in the Guardian (16th October). There is absolutely no truth in the claims made by Cllr Neil Emmott and we are very disappointed that, for whatever reason, he has chosen to make them and in doing so to completely misrepresent our proposals and what they aim to achieve.

Our proposals are completely contrary to ‘social cleansing’. We have guaranteed that all residents who want to stay in the town centre will be able to do so if plans to redevelop College Bank and Lower Falinge go ahead. Our plans would provide a net increase in the total number of homes in the area.

Our aim is to improve the quality and mix of the homes in the area, so that we can both better meet the needs of current residents, and attract new residents to the area. We are also developing plans to ensure that residents in College Bank and Lower Falinge have better access to employment opportunities and training.

Our proposals could result in a net addition of around 500 new homes in Rochdale town centre, in College Bank, Lower Falinge and on sites in the immediate vicinity, many of which currently lie vacant.

We are very proud of the strong community spirit that exists in College Bank and Lower Falinge, with high levels of community volunteering, and our aim is to keep as much of the existing community together as possible while delivering the quality and type of homes that meet the needs of existing residents and attract new residents.

RBH is a mutual housing society, co-owned by our tenant and employee members. We are a non-profit registered community benefit society and a charitable organisation. Any income is reinvested into the communities we serve.

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.”