College Bank and Lower Falinge: Frequently Asked Questions

We know that residents have lots of questions about the potential improvements at College Bank and Lower Falinge, so here are the most frequently asked to help keep you informed.

Why does RBH need to look at options and additional investment for College Bank and Lower Falinge?

We know that there are people who enjoy living in Lower Falinge and College Bank, but unfortunately, people don’t choose to live in these neighbourhoods compared with many other RBH homes.

We want to explore all options and how additional investment could change this and improve the quality of the homes and neighbourhoods for residents.

What are the options?

Together with residents, we are looking at a number of options for the future of College Bank and Lower Falinge and what these could mean for existing and future residents, including:

  • Continuing to manage College Bank and Lower Falinge as they are
  • Extra investment to improve the existing homes for people living in them now and in the future
  • Some demolition of the existing homes, and what type of homes and facilities could replace these

We are also seeking to understand how we could provide additional support to help existing and future residents improve their health and quality of life.

How will RBH decide which option to take?

We are currently discussing all options with the local community. We will use this feedback to help make our decision and will also look at what potential funding we could receive from both the Government and private sector. 

Are the options we saw at the consultation event in March the final plans?

No. At the consultation event we showed a number of options for investment in College Bank and Lower Falinge and no decisions have been made. The options shown which included the demolition of homes were to show what may be possible and not to show which, if any blocks are to be demolished

Why can’t RBH just invest in more cleaning, caretaking and security to improve these homes?

Expanding these services would significantly increase service charges, making them unaffordable for many residents.

We need to get the balance right between service levels and costs to residents, so as part of our consultation process, we are looking at whether different design could help keep service charges affordable.

Are RBH still letting homes in College Bank and Lower Falinge?

Yes, and we will continue to do so until plans are confirmed for each home.

How will this process affect the current management of College Bank and Lower Falinge, including repairs?

While we are reviewing options with residents, we will continue to carry out work to individual flats such as day-to-day repairs for all homes in College Bank and Lower Falinge. 

We will also ensure that our Neighbourhood Housing, Caretaking and Community Partnership teams continue to provide their services in College Bank and Lower Falinge. 

Work affecting whole blocks such as window and door replacement won’t be started until we have a clearer idea of what improvements will be made to Lower Falinge and College Bank. Depending on the chosen option, this work will either resume or the proposed investment used to support new improvements.

If new homes are built, would they be the same size and type as the ones they replace?

This discussion forms part of the consultation we are having to ensure we meet the needs of existing and future residents.

If new homes are built, would they be affordable?

As no plans have been agreed yet, we can’t confirm details yet, but if this option is pursued, we would aim to provide as many housing options as possible for residents, including homes for affordable rent.

We would also build homes to very high environmental standards, so they would have lower energy costs and be cheaper to run.

Could RBH let homes to people who are working only?

Our aim is to provide a broad range of housing options to meet the needs of people of all ages and regardless of their circumstances, rather than restricting homes to one group.

Could there be dedicated blocks for older people at College Bank and Lower Falinge?

This is one of the options which we will explore further based on the feedback we have had from residents. A designated block for older people may still mean that people need to move home as work is carried out.  

If some of the homes are demolished, what would happen to those residents?

We know that each household would have different needs and concerns. We would let residents know at least a year in advance and offer tailored support throughout this time, ensuring they have enough time to prepare and find a new home. We know this would be a stressful time for people we would look at how we could best support people during this time.

Where possible, this would include accommodating people’s preferred location for a new home.

We will continue to keep all existing residents updated as any options develop, so they will know if their home could be affected by proposals long before any final decision is made.  

Are the options we saw at the consultation event in March the final plans?

No. At the consultation event we showed a number of options for investment in College Bank and Lower Falinge and no decisions have been made. The options shown which included demolition were to show residents what may be possible and not to show which, if any blocks are to be demolished

As an RBH tenant, could I have the same number of bedrooms if I had to move?

Yes.  You would have the highest priority for rehousing and the option would be ‘like for like’ in terms of number of bedrooms.  If you want to have a different sized home to better meet your future needs, this is something we could talk through as part of the rehousing process.

As an RBH tenant, would I receive any compensation if I had to move home?

RBH tenants that need to move home would be entitled to compensation of £5,800, an amount set by the Government but paid by RBH. This figure is the total for all tenants living at an address and payable to those on the tenancy agreement.

In addition, we would pay residents a disturbance payment of £500 plus £250 towards the costs of removals. 

If a RBH tenant has any rent, service charge or recharge arrears these would be deducted from the compensation.

As a homeowner, what would happen if I had to move?

We would offer to purchase the property and support you to either buy or rent a new home. This offer would be based on an independent valuation plus an extra 10%.  RBH would also cover all reasonable expenses incurred in the sale plus the purchase of a new home, for example solicitors, mortgage or survey fees.

If you own a home, but rent it out, the same applies although the offer would be based on an independent valuation plus an extra 7.5%. 

The Land Compensation Act ensures that you will be no worse off financially if your home is acquired to support regeneration.

As a private tenant living in a home in Lower Falinge or College Bank, what would happen if I need to move?

If your landlord is not RBH, your tenancy agreement will set out details about what your landlord must do if they end your tenancy.  This may vary from agreement to agreement.  If you need help with finding a new home then we can help you with this.

Do I have any options if I want to sell my home now?

If you’re hoping to sell soon, we may be able to buy your home from you before any decisions are made about the future of the neighbourhoods. Please contact us to discuss your circumstances and options.

How can I have my say on the options?

We know that local residents know their area best and we want to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to let us know their views.

We have held a number of consultation events to discuss the options with residents and get their views.  The next consultation will take place at the end of April and all residents of Lower Falinge and College Bank will be invited to attend.

If you have an idea of a different way to have your say then please do let us know.

Who is helping RBH with this work?

  • Levitt Bernstein – a nationally renowned architectural practice.
  • The RSA – a charity which is looking at how we can provide more support to residents at College Bank and Lower Falinge to help them into work.
  • Groundwork and Vintageworx – organisations which are helping us to engage young people in the process, ensuring the next generation can also have a say on the options
  • AECOM – a consultancy which has been commissioned by the Council to assess how roads and infrastructure could be improved in and around the Town Centre.
  • You – the community. You are the experts in the areas that we are talking about, these are your homes and your community. Your opinions, thoughts and concerns matter and we want to hear from you.

How are RBH paying for external organisations to help them?

We have secured funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government to support the cost of commissioning external organisations. This grant will also help us pay for work next year on more detailed planning, technical and financial studies to help us agree the best options for future investment.

When will you make a decision?

After the consultation, based on what residents have said, architects will prepare a masterplan for College Bank and Lower Falinge and we expect that this will be completed by late 2017. This may then form part of the Council’s planning documents for the Town Centre. 

In 2018, we will begin to identify individual sites and areas within the masterplan and work those up in more detail in consultation with residents.