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!

Join Rochdale Mind for toast and a chat!

Tea and biscuits illustrationDid you know that the little things you do can make a big difference, like that chat over free toast and a cuppa?

Rochdale & District Mind are working with RBH to run a weekly event in Rochdale town centre. All local residents are welcome! Come along to meet and talk with others who have similar experiences, help us to reduce loneliness and social isolation, and find out about how to improve your mental health and wellbeing.

Every conversation counts, so please come along! The sessions will run every Tuesday, starting on 2nd April, from 10am until 1pm at Mitchell Hey Community Rooms at College Bank.

Update for College Bank residents: 26th March 2019

Today (Tuesday 26th March), the RBH team has visited homes in the College Bank area that we expect to be affected by demolition. These face-to-face conversations have provided further information and formal notification of our plans to residents. We previously visited every home in these four blocks in February 2019 to let them know that we would soon be taking this step.

We want to stress again that demolition work is not about to start, but this means that residents in the Mitchell Hey, Dunkirk Rise, Tentercroft, and Town Mill Brow tower blocks have now been formally notified that their homes are likely to be demolished within the next seven years. This formal notification is in the form of a legal notice called an Initial Demolition Notice.

We know that this will be an unsettling time for our customers, and we are absolutely committed to looking after them, with dedicated support in place to help each and every resident with all aspects of their move to a new home and any additional support that they may need.

We want to reiterate that we have only taken this very difficult decision to ensure the long-term success of the local area, and firmly believe that our proposals for the College Bank and Lower Falinge area will provide a place that people are proud to call home for years to come.

Alongside homes to suit people at all stages of their life, we also want to provide more green spaces for everyone to enjoy, and better connections into a revitalised Rochdale town centre.

Since 2016, RBH has been working on detailed proposals to improve the quality and mix of homes available in the College Bank and Lower Falinge area, listening to local residents through a series of consultation events and carrying out detailed planning.

As part of our evaluation, we have again reviewed the investment needed to maintain the College Bank tower blocks over the short, medium, and long term.

The blocks require multi-million pound upgrades both internally and externally, including new heating systems, new modern windows and balconies, improved and more secure entrances, safer and brighter communal landings and stairwells, improvements to internal pipework and drainage systems, and new weather proofed block exteriors. In addition, improvements are needed to the concourses, garages and block basements.

The cost of this essential investment would be at least £10m per block. For a similar investment of £10m, we know that we could build more than 100 brand new homes that would be higher in quality, provide a better mix of size and type, and would better meet the needs of local people now and into the future. We know that RBH would never be able to raise the £70m needed for investing in all seven blocks. However, we have listened to those people in the community who have told us they do really value high rise living which is why we are looking at ways to invest £30m in the three blocks we are proposing to retain.

Since initial discussions with the local community began, we have been told by residents that they want more certainty on what is happening and when. We have always committed to provide at least one year’s notice to any RBH tenant who needs to move home – the conversations we have had with residents today and last month will provide more certainty for everyone who will be affected at College Bank. We have also made a firm promise that any resident who wishes to stay in the Rochdale town centre area will be able to do so.

We know we won’t have been able to catch everyone at home today. Residents can get in touch with us by a number of methods, including face to face, by email and over the telephone.