Regeneration isn’t just about buildings

Seeing positive changes in the lives of residents forms a vital part of regeneration. That’s why we’re working with a charity called the RSA to improve opportunities for residents in College Bank and Lower Falinge.  With input from the local community, we are exploring ways we can support people who are out of work to find jobs, and help those who are in work to progress their careers.

By improving employment and skills for local people, we can help to keep the community together, and deliver wider benefits locally as part of any future regeneration at College Bank and Lower Falinge.

This topic is explored by the RSA in a new blog. The article talks about the need for investment in local regeneration and more housing choice as well as the importance of working with residents to bring about change that not only benefits places but people too.

Read the article in full on the CityMetric website.

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.

New homes will save householders hundreds of pounds

A report released by the Home Builders Federation (HBF) has revealed that new homes can save households hundreds of pounds a year in energy bills.

‘You’ve got the power’ which was published on 20 October 2017, highlights that more than 8 out of 10 new builds have the top A or B rating for energy efficiency compared to just 2.2% of existing properties. This means that new homes use less energy which on average, could lead to a saving of £52 per month or £629 per year for tenants and homeowners.

RBH Director of Communities, Clare Tostevin, said:

“All of our new homes are built with at least a B energy rating, including those which we constructed in Lower Falinge in 2015.”

“Whenever we design and build a new home, we find ways to make them as energy efficient as possible including using new technology and building materials such as high-quality insulation, energy efficient boilers, double glazing, low energy light fittings and water saving taps”

“Designing new homes in this way is not only better for the environment but can make a big difference to our residents, helping them to significantly reduce their electricity and heating bills As revealed in the HBF report, these savings can be significant, providing households with more money to spend on other things they need.”

Our letter to the Guardian

Your story on RBH’s redevelopment plans on 15 October has painted an inaccurate picture of the proposals.

There is a much bigger picture to consider, so we are curious to know why this wasn’t explored. Our plans aren’t just about the possible demolition of four towers, but are part of a wider investment in Rochdale Town Centre including both the College Bank and Lower Falinge neighbourhoods plus adjacent land. This will result in new homes of different types and sizes, improved open spaces, a play area and new transport routes.

We are disappointed that you chose to engage with just two households with only one view and that none of these residents are social housing tenants. Furthermore, the other individual quoted has told us that they do not live in Rochdale. As expected at this early stage, there are a mix of views about the proposals across the community and lots of our tenants have opinions. None of these were represented.

As Councillor Emmott says in the article, regeneration should be for everyone, regardless of income or background. That is why our proposals are focused on how we can improve the quality of life for tenants – and change is an essential part of this. It is also why we’re looking at how we can work differently to support people into good quality, sustained employment.

We understand that change can be worrying and why people have concerns, but our proposed investment is intended to provide vast benefits, including higher quality homes and job opportunities for residents of all ages and backgrounds. It’s a pity that these – and other key facts and views about our proposed investment – have been overlooked.

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.