Survey work in Underwood and Mitchell Hey – week commencing 30th November 2020

In the summer of 2017, we set out long term proposals for improving the quality and mix of homes in College Bank and Lower Falinge. These proposals included four blocks at College Bank which would be demolished as part of the redevelopment (Mitchell Hey, Dunkirk Rise, Tentercroft and Town Mill Brow) and three blocks at College Bank for which we said we would explore the options for refurbishment and modernisation (Underwood, Holland Rise, and Mardyke).

We have been working hard since then to take our proposals in the town centre forward, including some survey work on individual blocks that was carried out in summer 2020. We now need to undertake further detailed survey work to get more information to inform the refurbishment and modernisation of homes at College Bank.

This technical survey work will take place in the Underwood and Mitchell Hey blocks over the course of this week. In Underwood, we expect internal work to be completed by Tuesday 1st December and external work by Friday 4th December. In Mitchell Hey, work will take place on Wednesday 2nd December only.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the surveys which need to be carried out in the empty homes and communal areas, there is likely to be some low level noise and disruption at times throughout the day. We will keep any noise to a minimum and will not be working in any occupied homes, and we have written to residents in Underwood and Mitchell Hey already to let them know.

Please be assured that all work will be carried out by our contractors in line with social distancing guidelines, to ensure the safety of residents, the RBH team and our contractors.

If you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Community Together newsletter: Autumn 2020

This week, residents will receive their autumn edition of “Community Together” – our newsletter for local residents in College Bank and Lower Falinge.

You can download PDF and plain text versions of the newsletter below. This edition includes:

  • A fire safety update for residents
  • The results from our “life in lockdown” survey
  • The latest information from our New Pioneers Programme
  • An introduction to your new team of Community Guardians.

Download your Autumn 2020 copy of “Community Together” now:

Introducing our Community Guardians

Earlier this year, we wrote to all residents in College Bank, Lower Falinge, and Freehold about our proposals to change the way that neighbourhood security and CCTV services are delivered. We are very grateful to all the residents who provided feedback on our plans.

You told us that security continues to be a high priority for residents of College Bank, which is why we want to deliver a service which provides the most assurance to you, and tackles the issues you have raised.

The Community Guardians will be there to be present and visible around the community, something we know is a deterrent to anti-social behaviour. There was some feedback around the name. We have chosen the title ‘Guardians’ rather than ‘Security’ as they will be trusted members of the community who will build relationships with residents and work together to stop issues as they arise. We also expect them to work closely with the local police to reduce anti-social behaviour, but they are not there to physically intervene, and will call the police when necessary.

The team will start their induction on 1st December. We are going to monitor the new service to ensure that we are reducing anti-social behaviour and improving the neighbourhoods in the ways we anticipate. We will keep all residents informed and we always appreciate your feedback – positive and otherwise – to help us improve our services.

We are currently recruiting to our team of Community Guardians and we’d love to receive applications from local residents who are interested in joining the team. Visit the vacancies page on our website now to find out more and to apply – the closing date is Sunday 1st November.

Summary of our College Bank Q&A session

On 1st October, we held an online Facebook chat for residents in College Bank to ask our team about fire safety. We have published below a summary of the questions asked and our responses. If any College Bank resident has any further queries and would like to make appointment with our team, please email us on collegebank@rbh.org.uk or call us on Freephone 0800 027 7769.


Given there have never been any breaches of compartmentalisation in College Bank from fires either before or after 1998, is this waking watch really necessary?

Our overriding priority is the safety of residents at College Bank. After the recent fire risk assessments identified these issues and in discussion with both our independent advisors and Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service, we have put in place measures to keep residents safe.

 

How do you intend on getting disabled residents out in the event of a fire without the use of a lift?

We have contacted all residents to ask them if they need any support or assistance during an evacuation. We will work with all residents who need additional support to create a personal emergency evacuation plan. These will also be shared with the waking watch, and with the Fire Service if they attend an incident. We have already spoken to a large number of residents and we encourage any residents who have not done so to contact us so that we can put an evacuation plan in place and provide the support needed.

 

Can you tell us your plans to keep residents safe?

We acted quickly to put the “waking watch” in place. This is to keep residents safe by looking for any signs of fire and helping residents to evacuate in the unlikely event that this is necessary. Whilst this temporary measure is in place, we are taking expert advice in order to implement a longer-term solution.

 

What are the details of the “inappropriate work” undertaken in 1998?

We found a poor standard of work which, in certain circumstances, could contribute to the spread of fire horizontally between flats on the same floor. We are currently taking legal advice on this.

 

How are the RBH Board holding the Executive Team to account?

Both our elected Representative Body and our Board of Directors have been and will continue to be fully informed of the situation at College Bank. Their overriding focus is on the safety of residents.

 

What Fire Risk Assessment was undertaken in 2017? Who commissioned and provided the report?

The Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) carried out this year go beyond the current requirements and have been carried out in the spirit of the Hackitt report and ahead of anticipated changes in 2021. The FRAs in 2017 were commissioned by RBH and carried out by independent accredited experts. These assessments met the requirements at the time and still meet current requirements.

 

Was a survey actually done when RBH took over the flats and what was the outcome regarding fire risk?

Legal warranties were provided by the Council when ownership of the flats transferred to RBH in 2012. We are currently taking legal advice on these.

 

What do the waking watch do and who do we contact in an emergency?

The waking watch are providing a 24-hour walking patrol around all seven blocks at College Bank. There is one person on duty in each block at any given time. If residents have any concern about a suspected fire, please call 999 and ask for the fire service. For any RBH queries, you can contact the concierge, email us on collegebank@rbh.org.uk, or call Freephone 0800 027 7769.

 

Why has the broken window in Mardyke only just been replaced?

The window was secured after the tragic incident in Mardyke and was recently re-secured after it was reported that there was further damage.

 

What was the vehicle with fire extinguishers on it doing at College Bank last week?

These fire extinguishers are from other RBH buildings and are just being stored temporarily in a spare storage room at College Bank.

 

Will there be another Q&A in the future as not everyone has been able to attend?

We have offered all residents the opportunity to make an appointment with our team to answer any and all questions or concerns that they have. If you would like to make an appointment, please email us on collegebank@rbh.org.uk or call us on 0800 027 7769.

College Bank online question and answer session

On Thursday 1st October between 5pm and 6pm, our team are hosting an online question and answer session on fire safety for residents in College Bank. This follows our letter of 8th September outlining the additional safety measures we have put in place after our recent fire risk assessments. Our top priority remains the safety of residents.

The session will be held on our main RBH Facebook page. You will be able to post any questions or comments on a dedicated post from 4pm, and our team will be on hand from 5pm until 6pm to respond to questions from residents. You can also email us your questions in advance to collegebank@rbh.org.uk – please make it clear in your email that your question is for the online Q&A.

On Friday 2nd October, we will post a summary of the discussion and all the questions and answers on our town centre website and we will share the link on our social media.

If you would like to speak individually with a member of the RBH team, please email us on collegebank@rbh.org.uk or call us on Freephone 0800 027 7769.

Our submission to the Council’s scrutiny committee

Following our letter to all tenants in College Bank on 8th September, our focus remains on our residents and their safety. We will continue to keep all residents fully updated and the latest information is available on this website.

Click here to download a copy of a statement which we have sent to the Council’s Communities, Regeneration, and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee ahead of their meeting on 24th September 2020.