Our response to Cllr Meredith’s letter

On Monday 20th April, we received a letter from Cllr Daniel Meredith regarding our plans for the town centre. As this letter is in the public domain, we want to take the opportunity to respond to the points raised in the letter.

We have been working very closely with senior Council officers since 2016 to develop a positive way forward for College Bank and Lower Falinge. We want to ensure that this town centre neighbourhood provides good quality homes that meet the needs of local people, now and in the future.

A key part of this work has been reviewing the investment required for the seven high-rise blocks at College Bank, which are now five decades old. The latest technical cost report shows that over £90m is needed to provide the quality of homes that local people deserve. Neither the Council nor RBH have access to this level of funding.

As a mutual owned by our tenants and employees, and in line with our values, we have consistently been open and honest about the challenges faced in central Rochdale. We will not shirk responsibility for meeting these challenges head on and taking difficult but necessary decisions, right for the long term. However, if Councillor Meredith and his colleagues have a realistic alternative plan to generate the £90m-plus needed to fund the works to all seven blocks at College Bank, we would be willing to facilitate the Council taking on this responsibility.

As part of the local response to the coronavirus pandemic, we have worked closely with the Council and with other local partners to provide support to those who are homeless and at risk of homelessness. We will continue to work together to ensure that those now in temporary accommodation are able to move into a good quality permanent home, with the right services in place to support them, as soon as possible. The fundamental challenges faced in providing the right quality and mix of homes in central Rochdale remain – especially the need to provide new family housing. Both the Council and RBH agree that high-rise flats are just not appropriate for housing families with children.

Despite the current challenges, this month we have progressed the next phase of new homes in Lower Falinge – with 55 high quality new houses and apartments on the way, all to be let at a genuinely affordable rent. The new homes we have built so far in Lower Falinge have received exceptionally positive feedback from our tenants and the wider community. We will continue to deliver the number, type and quality of homes that local people need, in central Rochdale and across the Borough.

Community Together: Spring 2020 Edition

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

  • Our commitments to you as part of our Residents’ Deal
  • Your questions answered – commonly asked questions
  • An update on the New Pioneers Programme
  • Keeping safe during the coronavirus outbreak
  • The next phase of new homes in Lower Falinge

Download a PDF copy of Community Together Spring 2020 and look out for a printed copy through your door soon!

College Bank Concierge Closed

To protect the health and safety of residents and RBH employees, the concierge office at College Bank is now closed.

We have agreed with Rochdale Council that parking permits which are due to expire at the end of March will be valid for three further months until 30th June 2020.

For any other concierge enquiries, please use the concierge call points which are located at the entrance to each block. For general RBH enquiries you can call us on Freephone 0800 027 7769 or e-mail customerexperience@rbh.org.uk. To contact the regeneration team you can also email their dedicated inbox at towncentre.regen@rbh.org.uk.

 

College Bank and Lower Falinge Drop-Ins Cancelled Until Further Notice

Our top priority during the coronavirus outbreak is the health and safety of our tenants and employees. For this reason, we have reluctantly decided to cancel our drop-in sessions at College Bank and Lower Falinge until further notice.

We are sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience and understanding. You can still contact our team by e-mail on towncentre.regen@rbh.org.uk or by phone on Freephone 0800 027 7769.

RBH makes College Bank offer to Rochdale Councillors

A motion has been tabled by two Councillors to be debated at full Rochdale Council meeting next week about the future of College Bank.

We have been working with senior Council officers since 2016 on investment costs and options for College Bank. If the Council believes that it can find an investment solution that will give the blocks a long-term life, providing safe and secure homes fit for the 21st century, then we would happily agree to the Council taking on responsibility for funding and delivering this.

To help the Council with this decision, we will continue to share information including our latest independent professional cost estimates, which indicate a total refurbishment bill for the seven blocks of £93 million.

In the meantime, we will continue to progress our long-term regeneration proposals, which aim to transform the quality, mix, and choice of homes in central Rochdale, increase the overall supply of homes, and support the wider regeneration of the town centre. We will continue to provide dedicated support to all those affected, enabling them to move to homes that support a better quality of life.

The motion tabled unfortunately contains a number of inaccuracies and misunderstandings. It also seeks to commit RBH to doing things that we are already doing. We would be happy to sit down with any Councillor to answer any questions they might have, and we will shortly be arranging a further briefing for elected members to discuss how our proposals have developed.

The Residents’ Deal: our RBH town centre commitments

This weekend RBH and tenant representatives from College Bank and Lower Falinge signed off RBH’s commitments as part of our Residents’ Deal. The commitments outline what residents can expect from RBH as we work together with the local community to deliver our regeneration plans. We have produced a short leaflet outlining these commitments and also how we are working together to meet those promises.

A big thank you to all the local residents who worked with us to create these commitments. 138 local people responded to our digital survey, in addition to 35 face-to-face conversations. We also worked with two local groups of tenants to review the survey results and with a group of six residents to create the recommendations.