Frequently Asked Questions

If you would like to ask another question, please contact us. This FAQ was last updated on 09/11/18.

You can also download the latest edition of our town centre mythbuster: Town Centre Mythbuster Summer 2018

What would happen if I have to move home?

We will let residents know at least a year in advance if they need to move and offer tailored support throughout this time, ensuring they have enough time to prepare and find a new home.

We know that each household will have different re-housing needs and that this could be a stressful time. The teams at RBH are very experienced in supporting residents through times of change, but we will also work with specialist partner agencies where appropriate to ensure that you receive the support that is right for you.

Where possible, this would include accommodating people’s preferred location for a new home and we will work hard to achieve this.

We will continue to keep all residents updated on timescales to make sure they know when their home could be affected by proposals long before any final decisions are made.

Could I still live in the Town Centre if I wanted to?

Yes, we can now guarantee that any residents who would like to stay in the town centre will be able to do so if they need to be rehoused as part of our proposals.

This commitment has formed a part of our Residents’ Deal, which we are continuing to develop in partnership with the local community. More details about how you can get involved with the Resident’s Deal can be found here.

As an RBH tenant, could I have the same number of bedrooms if I had to move?

Yes – you would have the highest priority for re-housing and the option would be ‘like for like’ in terms of number of bedrooms. If you want to have a different sized home to better meet your needs, this is something we could talk through as part of the re-housing process.

As an RBH tenant, would I receive any compensation if I had to move home?

RBH tenants that need to move home would be entitled to compensation of £6,100, an amount set by the Government but paid by RBH. This figure is the total for all tenants living at an address and payable to those on the tenancy agreement.

In addition, we would pay residents a disturbance payment of £500 plus £250 towards the costs of removals.
If a RBH tenant has any rent, service charge or recharge arrears these would be deducted from the compensation.

I am entitled to a compensation payment and am claiming an out-of-work benefit, do I need to inform anyone ?

A condition of receiving an out of work or means tested benefit, is that all change of circumstances must be reported to the relevant Department. The link below explains how to get in touch with the DWP regarding the payment you received .

https://www.gov.uk/report-benefits-change-circumstances

Further advice on how this may affect your benefit can be found here.

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/how-do-savings-and-lump-sum-pay-outs-affect-benefits

As a homeowner, what would happen if I had to move?

We would offer to purchase the property and support you to either buy or rent a new home. This offer would be based on an independent valuation plus an extra 10%. RBH would also cover all reasonable expenses incurred in the sale plus the purchase of a new home, for example solicitors, mortgage or survey fees.

If you own a home, but rent it out, the same applies although the offer would be based on an independent valuation plus an extra 7.5%.

The Land Compensation Act ensures that you will be no worse off financially if your home is acquired to support regeneration.

As a private tenant living in a home in Lower Falinge or College Bank, what would happen if I need to move?

If your landlord is not RBH, your tenancy agreement will set out details about what your landlord must do if they end your tenancy. This may vary from agreement to agreement. If you need help with finding a new home then we can help you.

Do I have any options if I want to sell my home now?

If you’re hoping to sell soon, we may be able to buy your home from you before any decisions are made about the future of the neighbourhoods. Please contact us to discuss your circumstances and options.

If new homes are built, would they be the same size and type as the ones they replace?

We don’t have full details of all the new homes yet as we are taking a phased approach and working in one area at a time.

However, in early August 2018 we submitted a full planning application to RBC for the development work on Phase 3 in Lower Falinge with detailed plans of what the area would look like including: the type of new homes, the appearance of them and the materials which they will be built out of and the overall site layout. We received lots of ideas and thoughts from the community for  the proposals in Phase 3 and we used that to finalise the detail of the planning application

We held a community workshop on 2nd August so people could see the plans before we submitted them. You can find the display boards from the workshop here

We will continue to work over the coming months to ensure the neighbourhoods meet the needs of existing and future residents. As part of our home visits, we will continue asking residents who are affected by the proposals what their future re-housing needs and preferences may be and use this to develop the proposals as they move forward

If new homes are built, would they be affordable?

Our aim is to provide as many housing options as possible for residents, including homes for social and affordable rent and affordable homes for sale. We would also build homes to very high environmental standards, so they would have lower energy costs and be cheaper to run.

Will you use cladding to refurbish the remaining towers and will it be safe?

As further details emerge about the nature and cause of the fire at Grenfell Tower we will ensure that any lessons learnt are fully applied at College Bank including any modernisation work.

We have already met with Rochdale Council to discuss this and we will continue to work with the Council and other partners including the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

Could RBH let homes to people who are working only?

Our aim is to provide a broad range of housing options to meet the needs of people of all ages and regardless of their circumstances, rather than restricting homes to one group.

Could there be dedicated blocks for older people at College Bank and Lower Falinge?

This is one of the options which we will explore further based on the feedback we have had from residents. A designated block for older people may still mean that residents would need to move home as work is carried out.

Why can’t RBH just invest in more cleaning, caretaking and security to improve these homes?

Expanding these services would significantly increase service charges, making them unaffordable for many residents. We need to get the balance right between service levels and costs to residents, so as we develop these proposals in more detail through future consultation events, we will be looking at whether different designs could help keep service charges affordable.

Are RBH still letting homes in College Bank and Lower Falinge?

Updated 06/08/18: We have stopped letting those homes in Lower Falinge that have been issued with an Initial Demolition Notice.  We are continuing to let homes in the retained blocks in Lower Falinge and in all the blocks in College Bank.  At the point anything changes in relation to this we will let residents know.

How will this process affect the current management of College Bank and Lower Falinge, including repairs?

We will continue to carry out work to individual flats such as day-to-day repairs for all homes in College Bank and Lower Falinge. We will also ensure that our Neighbourhood Housing, Caretaking and Community Partnership teams continue to provide their services in College Bank and Lower Falinge.

Work affecting whole blocks such as window and door replacement is currently on hold and will not be carried out to blocks which we have identified as potentially being affected by demolition. Depending on how the proposals progress, the proposed investment for this work may be used to support new improvements instead.

What do we mean by a "mixed and balanced community"?

By this we mean a neighbourhood where there is a mix of different housing options; flats, houses and bungalows to meet a variety of housing needs at different points in people’s lives. 

This also includes options in terms of tenure, so that if someone chooses to buy (or to part buy via shared ownership) they do not need to move away and if someone needs to rent long term then they have this option.  This housing mix helps a community thrive with different age groups and types of households; larger and smaller, in work and not in work, older and younger – with the kind of homes the wider community wants to live in.

As part of the feedback on the consultation proposals, some people are saying we should only let RBH homes to professionals and others are saying it is really important to have homes for those in the highest housing need.  We think our proposals offer a way to support both of these, by better using land around the neighbourhoods to provide more homes whilst retaining and building social rented homes.  We think Rochdale Town Centre is a great place where people will choose to stay and move into, and providing the right quality and mix of homes will support this.

Could your proposals mean fewer homes in the town centre?

No – our plans could result in a net addition of around 500 new homes in Rochdale Town Centre, College Bank and Lower Falinge. This would be achieved by using sites in the immediate vicinity, many of which are currently vacant.

Where will these 500 new homes be?

As we have said, these proposals are still at a really high level so all numbers are indications at this stage.  The latest proposals show 670 new homes within the Lower Falinge and College Bank areas. We have engaged with the community at the earliest stage of each phase rather than wait until the detail is finalised as we believe this will help us to shape better final options; we will continue to do this because your views are important in developing the proposals.

The current proposals indicate that following redevelopment there would be over 1,000 homes within the Masterplan boundary outlined at the consultation. These include retained and new homes and a mix of flats and houses. We will continue to work through in more detail on the type of homes to develop in this area.  If a higher proportion of flats are built the number of new homes will go up but if the community demand is for a higher proportion of houses then this number would go down.  That is one of the things we want to talk to people about in each phase of developing the proposals.

If you walk around the Rochdale Town Centre area you will notice many areas of land that are currently empty or poorly used, which could provide excellent new homes in the future.  Our research and market testing, carried out as part of the Masterplanning, has told us that these sites are highly unlikely to be developed without intervention to create a more positive market for investment in the town centre.  The RBH proposals for the town centre, together with the wider council proposals, could create the conditions for this investment.  These sites could provide over 1,000 homes, including at least 500 new homes, and possibly more depending on the type of homes built.

This is a real opportunity to bring much needed investment into Rochdale town centre to provide the required quality and mix of additional homes to help make Rochdale town centre a vibrant and thriving place to live.  We have also promised that as part of the proposed redevelopment of College Bank and Lower Falinge all those RBH tenants who wish to remain in the town centre will be able to do so. RBH would support any tenant that needed to move as part of these proposals and they would be phased so that nobody would need to move until they had a suitable home to go to.

Your proposals state that 120 new homes could replace some of the flats at College Bank – why can’t you build more than that?

We could build more replacement homes in both College Bank and Lower Falinge but many residents have told us that they would prefer houses with private outside space instead of a flat, so we need to allow for that. Exact figures are yet to be confirmed at this early stage, but we anticipate that this could result in 120 new larger family homes at College Bank as well as the rerurbished homes and the new flats and houses within the Lower Falinge area.

Will tenants who have to move, be rehoused in the town centre under the same tenancy conditions?

Any tenants who need to move home as part of the proposals will keep their existing RBH tenancy conditions. As with all of our homes, affordable rent would be calculated in accordance with government guidelines.

Will newly built RBH homes have different tenancy conditions?

No – any homes that are built by RBH as a part of the town centre proposals will be allocated under the same tenancy conditions as our existing homes. As with all of our homes, affordable rent would be calculated in accordance with government guidelines

Will the residents living in the homes being demolished, be offered the new homes you will be building?

We have made a commitment that all tenants and residents who wish to remain living within the Town Centre will be able to do so. For some tenants and residents who wish to live in the town centre, one of the existing retained homes may be the preferred option to meet their needs.The new homes RBH are building at Lower Falinge currently and new homes in the future will form part of this commitment, and we are exploring through our Resident’s Deal how best we can prioritise the letting of these new homes to the existing community.

We are also exploring how we can prioritise the letting of retained homes and newly built homes to existing residents, through a local lettings policy. This local lettings policy will sit alongside the Council’s Housing Allocations policy, which allocates homes on a needs basis.

Please confirm that the new homes offered to existing residents will be of the same physical size (not just number of bedrooms).

Our promise is a like for like home in terms of the number of bedrooms. All of our new homes are built to the highest quality, including excellent energy efficiency and meeting nationally prescribed space standards. We have had some fantastic feedback from the tenants of our new homes which we have completed over the past 5 years, especially with regards to room and overall home sizes. We will continue to gather tenant feedback about any new homes to make sure we carry on building homes that people are happy with.

How many RBH tenants are affected by demolition?

The proposals currently include the potential demolition of 554 RBH occupied social rented flats.

Will tenants whose homes are to be demolished as part of the proposals, be allocated a new build home as part of the regeneration?

We have made a promise that residents who wish to remain living in the town centre will be able to do so if the proposals go ahead. For some tenants a retained home will be their preferred option. We are also exploring how we can prioritise the letting of retained homes and new build homes to existing residents, through a local lettings policy. This local lettings policy will sit alongside the Council’s Housing Allocations policy, which allocates homes on a needs basis.

RBH have stated that tenants and residents from the blocks to be demolished will be guaranteed a home in the Town Centre area. Please can you explain how it is possible for RBH to make this guarantee?

Through home visits and our 1 to 1 conversations with tenants and residents at College Bank, we have been able to have a detailed discussion with over 500 households about their housing needs and preferences. This has provided us with robust information on the number of households who wish to remain living within the town centre and those that may wish to move to another RBH neighbourhood or somewhere entirely different. From this information we have now been able to guarantee that those wishing to remain living within the town centre will be able to do so, either within a retained home or a new build home.

Will the Council’s Housing Allocations Policy be applied if a tenant whose home is being demolished wants to live in one of the retained blocks?

Yes, the Council allocations policy alongside any local lettings policy will be applied the same whether a resident would like to move to a retained block or a new build home in the Town Centre or a home in a different area.

How have you tried to market the properties at College Bank? Can’t you do more?

We market all of our available RBH homes in a number of different ways, not only through our dedicated Home Choice website.

Specifically for College Bank in recent years we looked at a number of ways to market flats to increase demand. This included discussion with education institutions and businesses about the needs of students and employees. We also prepared a fully furnished and decorated show flat and arranged viewings as well as lettings open days. We used paid advertising for these and targeted to potential customers via social media.

We have also advertised homes at College Bank through Rightmove, which is the UK’s largest property search portal and promoted available homes through our Facebook page.

The general feedback was that the environment around the flats and the access to them was a barrier to getting people to view and to letting these homes. These measures were tried for a significant period of time but did not increase demand.

How will the future investment at College Bank and Lower Falinge be funded?

Through our workshops and the ongoing development of the residents’ deal, we are setting out our vision for the future of Rochdale town centre in terms of design, green spaces, and quality of new and refurbished homes.

This is a long-term 20 year project which will then be delivered and funded in phases. RBH has committed significant funding as part of our 30 year business plan, and we are actively seeking both private and public investment to help with different parts of the proposals. We have always been clear that these early stages of the 20 year proposals are about setting the right vision, rather than “chasing” specific pots of funding; experience tells us that over the 20 year lifespan the available external funding will change.

Additional early public investment could play a really important role in speeding up the delivery of different phases of the regeneration, and RBH will continue to seek funding and to deliver when we can to meet the overall vision.

Why have you only spoken to tenants at Lower Falinge about Initial Demolition Notices?

One of our promises to the community was that any RBH tenant who needed to move would have at least a year’s notice of this.  One of the next steps in taking forward these proposals was to issue a legal notice called an Initial Demolition Notice to homes expected to be affected by demolition in the next seven years.

As we know that the next phases of development will be taking place in Lower Falinge, we delivered the Notices to the affected homes in this area first.

The delivery of the Notice’s does not mean that demolition is about to start. It let residents know, formally, that their home could be demolished within the next seven years as part of the proposals.

More information about the Initial Demolition Notices can be found here.

I have been given an Initial Demolition Notice, does this mean that I need to move now ?

At this stage of the proposals, only residents who are living in Ibsley, Johnston, Kirkstall, Lindisfarne and Melrose are affected now by the Notice and are being prioritised for rehousing. We have spoken to all RBH tenants living in these blocks about their needs, ensured that they have been given the correct rehousing priority and will award the compensation they are entitled to when they are rehoused.

Residents from any other block in the neighbourhood can apply for rehousing and they will be assessed on their current housing need, but the additional priority of needing to move because of regeneration would not apply at this point.

The Initial Demolition Notice is something that we have issued to tenants whose homes we expect to be affected by demolition within the next seven years and we will continue to let residents know at least a year in advance if they need to move. We are committed to helping our residents and if anyone needs to move as a result of confirmed demolition; we will work closely with them to discuss timescales, their rehousing needs, the rehousing process and offer tailored support, ensuring they have enough time to prepare and find a new home.  We are, of course, happy to talk to any tenants in Lower Falinge or College Bank about their current and future housing needs whether due to the regeneration or due to other factors.

How many people have you consulted on the regeneration proposals?

When we began our consultation, in November 2016, 27 people attended workshops at College Bank and Lower Falinge. We then held further workshops at College Bank and Lower Falinge in February 2017 and another in March 2017 which were attended by over 100 people. In addition we held informal consultation sessions in the lobby of all 7 blocks at College Bank in April 2017, where we spoke to 78 people.

At this point we worked with Commonplace to give an option for people to use the internet to submit their views on the options and ideas presented in February and March in addition to the workshops.  Commonplace recorded 295 answers in response to the proposals set out in the workshops.  This data recorded by Commonplace was illustrated as part of the presentation boards for comment at the workshop on 24th June 2017 and presented as pie charts.  It was recognised at the time, and explained in the workshop, that this snapshot was an illustration of community thinking in relation to the proposals up to April 17 and that it was also broadly consistent with discussions and feedback we had received from previous workshops.

On 24th June a new set of updated proposals were presented for discussion with the community.  We spoke with 88 people at the consultation workshops in College Bank and Lower Falinge on 24th June 2017.  Since then we have spoken to, 24 people at the consultation workshop at the Pioneers Museum on the 13th December 2017 and held a Facebook live chat on the 14th December 2017.  A further 43 people attended our last consultation workshop in Lower Falinge on 12th April 2018. In addition to our community workshops, we have spoken with over 600 households, as part of our home visits, and 102 residents responded to the residents deal survey. We have held weekly drop in sessions in both College Bank and Lower Falinge for over 12 months.

We will continue our approach of using different methods of consultation and engagement to work with the community as proposals are developed in more detail.

Are the garages next to Sheriff Street still included in the proposed redevelopment plans?

These garages are included in zones four and five of the plans. We don’t know the exact timings for these zones yet, and we will need to work up the design for homes in this area with the local community.  We need to prioritise much needed new homes, but as part of the design we will be looking at good parking options for the new and existing homes.

What plans do you have for refurbishing the 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.

We will work together with the community to identify what the priorities would be for investment and we recognise that could include improvements within homes, external improvements to the block as a whole and external and shared spaces.

When will you start demolishing homes in the next phase of development at Lower Falinge?

We are in the process of supporting households in the next phase of development with their rehousing. Some households have moved already, but we do not expect everyone to have moved until late Summer 2019. Following this we will complete all of the technical work needed, ready for demolition to start late 2019, subject to planning permission. If we receive planning permission, we will start building new homes right away and expect them to be completed early 2021. We will continue to keep the community updated on timescales for this next phase and future phases.

How have the latest new homes in Lower Falinge been allocated? Have residents affected by demolition proposals moved into the new homes?

We’re really proud of our new homes in Lower Falinge. All these homes have been allocated in line with the Council’s Housing Allocations Policy. A number of residents who are affected by the latest phase of demolition at Lower Falinge are moving into the new homes – every resident in this situation who wanted to move to one of the new homes and was eligible to do so was successful in their application.

The Proposals

Find out more about what we’re proposing at College Bank and Lower Falinge.

The Vision

Supporting the wider regeneration of Rochdale with significant investment.

Next Steps

We still have a long way to go, but here’s what we plan to do next.