Seven Sisters tenants told their blocks WILL be torn down
Date published: 26 March 2019
College Bank Flats
Tenants living in four of Rochdale’s landmark ‘Seven Sisters’ tower blocks have been told their homes will likely be torn down within the next seven years.
Landlord Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) handed demolition notices to residents of Mitchell Hey, Dunkirk Rise, Tentercroft and Town Mill Brow this morning (Tuesday).
Demolition is not imminent, but tenants have now been served legal notice of RBH’s intentions.
Staff from the housing provider visited the flats- officially known as College Bank – to provide ‘further information and formal notification’ to residents.
The demolition is part of RBH’s masterplan to regenerate College Bank and nearby Lower Falinge.
The news will come as a hammer-blow to residents, led by the Save The Seven Sister campaign group, who are fighting the proposals.
They say they are ‘terrified’ at the prospect of losing their homes and that RBH does not have to push ahead with its plans – claiming the blocks need minor work, but are otherwise structurally sound.
It comes after tenants were told the demolition notices were imminent last month.
An RBH spokesman said: “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.”
The landlord says the flats are in need of extensive repair and redevelopment work, which would cost at least £10m per block to carry out.
Bosses claim that a ‘similar investment’ of £10m could provide new homes of a better mix and quality, that would better meet the needs of Rochdale’s people both now and into the future.
However RBH will be investing £30m on regenerating the blocks not earmarked for demolition – Mardyke, Holland Rise and Underwood.
And chiefs insist they have made a ‘firm promise’ that any residents who wishes to stay in the ‘Rochdale town centre area’ will be able to do so.
Former Mayor Robin Parker lives in Dunkirk Rise and is spokesman for the Save The Seven Sisters campaign.
He said those affected, like himself, would be ‘absolutely devastated’.
The 74-year-old fears those who may not have been braced for the news, could take it the hardest.
He said: “The people who don’t know, the people who aren’t the activists – this could kill them, the stress could kill them.
“I’m not over-exaggerating when I say this, they (RBH) don’t realise what they are doing.”
Mr Parker said that receiving the demolition notice was ‘heartbreaking’ – but he was not beaten yet.
He said: “I’m going to keep fighting it, but from a personal perspective I have not got a clue what I’m going to do.
“The money they will pay me for my flat will not go anywhere buying anything else, and the matchboxes they are putting up are of no interest to me.”
He added: I don’t know where we go now, but we have not given up, that’s for sure.”
Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter
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