Lower Falinge residents supported into new homes

We are pleased to confirm that all residents included in the latest phase of redevelopment in Lower Falinge have now successfully moved to new homes.

All residents in the affected blocks have now moved to a home that meets their individual needs and requirements in the area of their choice. We have guaranteed that all residents who need to move as part of the redevelopment who wish to stay in the town centre will be able to do so, and more than half have chosen to do so.

We are really pleased that all residents from the blocks included in this phase of the redevelopment have now been supported to move. We are particularly pleased that all those residents who wanted to remain in the town centre area were able to do so, in line with our promise to the local community.

RBH team members provided one-to-one support for each household right through the process and we have had some lovely feedback about how moves to new homes have helped to support a better quality of life.

The next stage in Lower Falinge will see the completion of 55 brand new homes, comprising 33 one and two bedroom flats and 22 two and three bedroom houses, together with a new park and play space to provide a new “green heart” at the centre of Lower Falinge. This new green area will provide improved public open space for both new and existing residents, and better connections and routes through the neighbourhood.

We’re looking for a delivery partner for our plans

This week we are launching the search for a delivery partner to help us to complete our ambitious plans for the Rochdale town centre neighbourhoods of College Bank and Lower Falinge.

Our plans represent a once in a generation opportunity to deliver a transformed neighbourhood for current residents in College Bank and Lower Falinge, for their children, and for future residents. We know we can’t deliver this on our own, which is why we’re looking for a partner who not only has the expertise and experience to succeed, but also shares this vision, to work together with us and with the local community to make College Bank and Lower Falinge great places to grow up, grow a career, and grow older.

Our proposals have been shaped by over two years of engagement with those who live and work in the area, and hundreds of responses have been received via a wide range of consultation methods, including drop-in workshops, exhibitions, and online feedback. We’ve also visited every household affected to discuss the proposals.

Our new delivery partner will bring in additional expertise and help to deliver RBH’s long-term masterplan. This includes significant investment in existing retained homes in College Bank and Lower Falinge, as well as new high quality homes, new and upgraded public and green spaces, and brand new community facilities.

We have already delivered 45 brand new homes in Lower Falinge, and these homes have had great feedback from their new tenants. Work is now underway to create a further 55 new high-quality houses and flats for affordable rent at the heart of Lower Falinge, replacing five existing blocks of 1960s flats. We’re pleased to report that we have now supported all residents within these blocks into a new home, and all residents were able to secure a home in their area of choice. It is pleasing that more than half chose to stay within the town centre area.

This investment in College Bank and Lower Falinge is part of the wider transformation of the town centre and RBH hopes that the new homes together with the new shopping and leisure facilities mean that even more people will choose to live in the town centre as these plans are delivered.

This marks an important milestone in the regeneration process and signifies RBH’s long-term commitment to providing the right mix, quality and choice of homes in central Rochdale. The partner selection process is anticipated to run until late 2019.

A statement regarding recent social media posts

Over the last few months, a small number of individuals on social media have made inaccurate and misleading comments about our proposals for Rochdale town centre. They have also made personal and untrue comments about RBH members and employees. Although we have repeatedly tried to engage constructively, we have reluctantly decided to seek legal advice to respond to these comments.

Our proposals for College Bank and Lower Falinge are about building a brighter future for residents who currently live in these neighbourhoods, and for future generations who choose to live there in the years to come. Our proposals are about people, not about bricks and mortar.

Nonetheless, we understand that these proposals are very unsettling for many of those residents who are affected. We are doing everything that we can to provide support and information to those residents. Our door is always open for residents who want to talk to us.

We also recognise that with proposals of this scale, not everyone will agree with our approach. We welcome comments on our proposals – both positive and negative – and we have always tried to take all comments on board as we work together with the local community to develop the plans.

We are aware, however, of a small number of individuals who have chosen to make comments about our proposals which are wrong, inaccurate, and misleading. These comments are not in anyone’s interest, and they have caused undue distress to some residents at what we know is already a worrying and unsettling time for them.

Our door is always open and we have tried (and will continue to try) to constructively engage with everyone. However, we will not hesitate to challenge comments which are quite simply incorrect and untrue.

We’re very grateful to all the local residents who have worked together with us to develop these proposals, including over 400 attendees at our workshops and the 800 households who have spoken to us during home visits, as well as those who have taken part in our online consultation and come along to our weekly drop-in sessions.

Update on works at Lower Falinge

As our plans for redevelopment in the town centre progress, we are now ready to move on to the next stage of works in Lower Falinge, and our demolition contractor, Connell Brothers (Demolition), began setting up site from Monday 15th April to begin works to strip out some blocks in phase three ready for demolition later in the year.

You are likely to notice some increased traffic around Kirkstall and Lindisfarne blocks, as these are the two blocks we will be concentrating on first.

Over the next coming weeks, we would expect that you will see:

  • An increase in contractors and site traffic
  • Arrival of skips to be placed outside the blocks to be demolished – these will be placed within the boundary of the blocks and will not affect the footpaths.
  • The erection of fencing, formation and diversion of footpaths around the blocks.
  • Some walk ways may be closed off for short periods of time.

The working hours will be between 0800 and 1700, Monday to Friday. No weekend or evening work is envisaged for this project.

Please remember to be vigilant whilst walking and driving around the neighbourhood as there will be site traffic and workers. A speed limit may be in force and this will apply to all motorists, not just the contractors. A small number of parking bays around Kirkstall will be blocked off for use by the contractors.  This is to allow access for the skip wagons to regularly load and unload and help keep the area safe for residents.

At times, the rubbish chute at Johnston may not be accessible, but this will only be for short periods at a time.

You can report any concerns around the area of construction and demolition by:

  • calling RBH’s main Freephone number: 0800 027 7769
  • Visiting the regeneration drop in sessions which are held every Tuesday 10.00 – 12.00 at the Housing Office at Newstead.
  • Visiting the demolition contractors site office (during office hours) – Site Office 518 Abbeydale Lower Falinge.

We will make sure that we continue to update residents as work progresses.

Lower Falinge Community Workshop: Tuesday 30th April 2019

You may recall that we had to end our February workshop for Lower Falinge residents earlier than planned. We promised to rearrange this event so that everyone could join in the discussion and make their views known.

Our rearranged community workshop will now take place on Tuesday 30th April from 4pm until 7pm at the Lower Falinge Community Base (238 Newstead). This workshop is to discuss with residents what investment they would like to see in retained homes at Lower Falinge.

RBH has already invested in new front doors and windows for the retained homes in Lower Falinge, and earlier this year we visited every home in a retained block to have a discussion with residents about what other investment and improvements they would like to see in these homes.

We hope to see you there!