Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Landmark Are Set to Seven Sisters Become Three

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Landmark Are Set to Seven Sisters Become Three

Article excerpt

ROCHDALE'S skyline could be changed forever as plans to demolish four of the Seven Sisters tower blocks were unveiled.

Housing bosses have announced a multi-million pound makeover of the high-rise estate, which is officially known as College Bank, and nearby Lower Falinge.

The two estates have regularly been named among the most deprived areas in the UK. But the plans, which come after nine months of public consultation, will see the estates changed beyond recognition.

Four of the towers - Mitchell Hey, Dunkirk Rise, Tentercroft and Town Mill Brow - would be demolished to make way for up to 120 new homes.

The three remaining blocks - Mardyke, Holland Rise and Underwood - would be modernised under the proposals drawn up by renowned architects Levitt Bernstein.

Sixteen of the 26 two-storey blocks on the nearby Lower Falinge estate, which contain 244 occupied flats, would also be knocked down with up to 560 new houses built in their place.

Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) say the plans would improve the area for everyone and anyone forced to move will be given a year's notice, compensation and 'provided with a new high-quality home that meets their needs.' .

But the plans for College Bank have been met with widespread opposition.

Former mayor of Rochdale Robin Parker has lived in the flats since 1989. When the proposals were first put forward he launched the 'Save Seven Sisters' campaign to fight demolition and has applied to Historic England to have the blocks listed.

He said: "We always knew this was going to happen. RBH had their agenda from the start.

"These are excellent flats. I am very happy here. They were built to a very high standard in the '60s and they are still of a high standard now. There are things that could be improved, but nothing that couldn't be done for minimal cost.

"I am very angry. There were elderly people in tears when the plans were announced. RBH are just ignoring the human impact of this.

"If RBH think they can build enough homes here to rehouse everyone who is losing their flat they are living in cloud cuckoo land."

Andrew Johnson, secretary of the College Bank Tenants and Residents Association (TARA), said the proposals had left a lot of unanswered questions.

He added: "When the plans were announced there were many different responses. Lots of people were shocked and bewildered, some of the elderly people especially were upset.

"People like living here, they do not want to have to move.

"RBH have been doing their best to reassure them it is not going to happen overnight, but there is still a lot of worry.

"I didn't hear anyone during the consultation say 'I am all for this, it is great',' but I have spoken to some people privately who say they want their block to come down, mainly because they want the compensation.

There were people in the plans "At some point over the next few years RBH will have to rehouse somewhere in the region of 1,000 people in and around the town centre. …

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