Our Chief Executive Gareth Swarbrick appeared live on BBC Radio Manchester earlier today (Monday 7th October) to discuss our proposals for College Bank and Lower Falinge. We would like to take this opportunity to stress the following points from this morning’s coverage.
Our proposals are about getting the right quality and mix of housing in College Bank and Lower Falinge to meet the long-term housing needs of both current and future generations.
We aren’t receiving case work requests from Councillors or local MPs to house people in College Bank or Lower Falinge, but we are receiving requests to help people move out. We know that the key need for social rented homes is for good quality family houses – and it is mainly houses that have been lost to social renting via “right to buy”.
We completely understand how unsettling and distressing the rehousing process can be for people. That’s why we our experienced team is taking time to provide personalised support to all those residents who need it; so that we can fully understand each resident’s specific needs and find a home that’s right for them.
This morning’s BBC report suggested that four blocks at College Bank would be demolished by March 2020. This is simply not the case.
We are not going to rush the rehousing process for any residents who need to move. We are determined to find the right moves for everyone, based on their individual housing needs. We have made a commitment to find replacement housing of the same size and type for everyone affected – and anyone who wants to stay in Rochdale town centre will be able to do so.
Rehousing is progressing well, with over a third of residents already moved from the first block at Mitchell Hey. By the end of next summer, we expect to have found a home for everyone who needs to move from this first block, but we have not yet set a date for any demolition work.
Integral to our regeneration proposals is our New Pioneers Programme, which is providing dedicated support to help those living in College Bank and Lower Falinge access training and improve their employment prospects. Our first New Pioneers careers broker is now in place, and already there are some great stories about how the programme is helping people on their journey to better work and healthier lives.
These neighbourhoods need big investment. We’ve been working with the communities in College Bank and Lower Falinge for the past three years. Like local residents, we want College Bank and Lower Falinge to be great places where people choose to live, and where residents have the opportunity to fulfil their potential with access to jobs, training, and excellent community facilities.
We’re working with our residents, the Council, and our partners, making investments that will support the local community for the next 25-30 years – and we’re not taking any decisions lightly.
We would ask any residents with questions or concerns to contact us either by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling our freephone number: 0800 027 7769 (using option 6).