23 February 2017
Simon Danczuk, Rochdale’s MP, has voiced his opposition to Rochdale Boroughwide Housing’s idea of demolishing at least some of College Bank Flats.
RBH have rightly initiated an investment plan for College Bank Flats, and have identified a number of issues that face the flats in a leaflet circulated to residents. However, out of the four issues listed, not one mentioned poor management by RBH (see notes for editors). Instead, RBH are floating the possibility of demolition. This is a short term solution to a long term problem.
Simon said: “RBH are refusing to accept their own fault in all this. Not once have they offered to improve their own performance in managing the flats. Demolition of hundreds of homes is an extreme measure that I will not support.
“There is a complete lack of representation of tenants on RBH’s board, who seem happier to spend money on consultants than on managing their buildings. This unacceptable situation has led to a huge disconnect between the housing association and its residents. Unfortunately it is the latter that pays the price of poor management”.
Because the flats have a small land-print, RBH would lose a considerable amount of revenue if the land was sold off following demolition. Not only this, hundreds of people would be forced out of the immediate area, significantly hitting local businesses.
Simon has suggested that RBH seek an alternative solution to demolition: “College Bank Flats would benefit hugely from a number of alternatives, one example being investment in a proper concierge service that would dramatically improve the flats for a sum that would dwarf any cost for demolition. If demolition is indeed a cost-cutting exercise, RBH would do worse than reserve one block for pensioners, who are not liable for the bedroom tax”.
Simon added: “I will not allow RBH to pass on the blame for their own incompetence. I will be consulting residents on their own thoughts and it is my duty as Rochdale’s MP to raise this in Parliament at the nearest opportunity”.