500 signatures reached
To: Tony Lloyd MP, Member for Rochdale and Shadow Secretary for Northern Ireland
Save The Seven Sisters Rochdale
Prevent Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH), the housing association which now owns all former Council homes, from demolishing four blocks of flats and restructuring the other three, which will mean every resident of the 761 properties will have to move out of their homes. There will be a loss of 400 homes.
RBH are saying people will be moved to town centres homes. There are not enough homes in the town centre to accommodate everybody. All the seven blocks need is to be further improved, repaired, repainted, generally well-maintained and well-managed by RBH without having to displace the elderly, poor and vulnerable people living there.
Why is this important?
College Bank estate, known as The Seven Sisters, consists of seven iconic tower blocks, visible landmarks for miles around, which were built in the 1960s to an exceptionally high standard in order to successfully attract outside professionals into the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, as well as for local residents. Both flats and studio apartments are spacious and of a higher standard than any other social housing in the Borough. Over the years they have had additional improvements to lifts, windows, kitchens and bathrooms. They have no external cladding and meet fire safety regulations. A large number of current occupants have lived in them for twenty years or more, some have been living there for almost 50years. Many are also leaseholders, having bought their properties. RBH say they wish to replace with low rise of equal quality, but residents know that no alternatives will match the quality of what they have now. There is no social housing of this quality within the Borough and it is unlikely that anything new will be built to such high a standard.
Residents have not been properly consulted and feel these proposals are being imposed upon them by RBH. Pensioners were in tears when the proposals were revealed on the estate, as they all expected to live out their days in these totally accessible properties, which are close to the Town Centre and three supermarkets.
Saiqa Naz, a Mental Health Practitioner (with an interest in equality and diversity) says “My concern with the proposed demolitions is that moving elderly and vulnerable people, including people with mental health problems, will isolate them and have a detrimental impact on their mental health and overall wellbeing. I have been supporting distressed elderly people living in The Seven Sisters as they are worried about losing their homes and are not sleeping well. Being close to the town centre, local amenities and services is important for these people’s health and wellbeing. The elderly people can currently walk into town and have some level of independence. They will lose this independence if they have to move further away from town. Also, the flats are an ideal location for services to do their outreach work for those with mental health or other problems. Pushing people into the wider community will make it difficult for services to access and support people who need help the most.”
Saiqa’s comments are confirmed by quotations from residents:
“I have lived here 35 years. It is a perfect location for town shops, doctors, dentist, hospital. A good community of people live here.”
“I love it here, it’s flat, there are no steps so it’s handy for older people. We feel safer, with cameras and security.”
“I’m dreading the prospect of moving. I love my flat, it’s beautiful. I’ve got it as I want it. I don’t want all the upheaval.”
“I have heart failure and need to be near my GP and the town centre. It would be stressful for me to move.”
“It’s worrying, on your mind all the time. Nobody wants to go and live where they don’t want to.”
“There is nothing more stressful than being told your home is going to be destroyed. It’s a burden that’s with you every minute of the day.”
And from the younger generation,
“I like it round here. I grew up round here. I want my kids to grow up round here.”
“We love our home! It’s our first home together.”
Other members of the outside community cannot believe that their destruction is planned, as they consider them to be iconic features of the town, along with our grade one listed Town Hall.
“They’re iconic. When you see The Seven Sisters you know your home.”
“This would be the end of an era, they’re a landmark, you see them straight off the motorway. College Bank has been called The Seven Sisters for years.”
“The Seven Sisters are synonymous with Rochdale. How are they going to accommodate all the people?”
In fact the proposals would lose c520 units and they are intending to put 120 new units on the same footprint. That would mean a net loss on that land of c400 units at a time of housing shortage.
Please sign our petition to oppose this act of institutional vandalism.