West Vale Redevelopment Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve been asked lots of good questions about the West Vale redevelopment by local people and business owners, and on this page we’ll share our answers.
These Frequently Asked Questions will be continually updated throughout the course of the project.
If you have any questions that have not been answered, please get in touch with us – we’re to help.
Q What benefits will the West Vale redevelopment bring to the local community?
A Our development will have lots of benefits for the local community:
- It will provide much needed homes for people here in Oldham, where there is a shortage of affordable housing
- It will improve the appearance of the area and create a vibrant neighbourhood where people, families and businesses can thrive
- It will generate social value, including working with local businesses and creating jobs and training opportunities for people in Oldham; all of which will contribute to helping to boost Oldham’s economy
- It will create a more attractive gateway to Oldham town centre
- Access through the site to existing homes and to the town centre will be improved.
Q Why are you engaging with residents and businesses from the Vale Drive area and people across Oldham?
A Working closely with local people and businesses is crucial to the success of our proposed new development at West Vale. We want to keep you updated throughout the planning and development stages of the proposed scheme, and enable you to have your say, every step of the way.
Q How are you engaging with local residents and the wider community?
A We are engaging with people in a variety of ways
- In December 2019 we held a face-to-face resident engagement session at Richmond Academy. We welcomed 30 people to the event, who were able to have their say on our proposals. Thank you to everyone who contributed. We've listened to your feedback, and it has helped us shape our development plans to date.
- We are producing regular newsletter for Vale Drive estate residents, with latest updates on the development’s progress. Digital copies are sent to local people and paper format newsletters are hand delivered to homes by our Stronger Communities team, too.
- We have established a Resident Engagement Panel for local people to discuss their ideas and opinions. If you’d like to be part of this, email us - we’d love to hear from you.
- We want to get conversations going with more people in the West Street and Vale Drive neighbourhood. So if you are passionate about the area and want to have your say in our West Vale Redevelopment, complete the online West Vale Place Standard Questionnaire.
Looking ahead we plan to:
- Hold online engagement sessions to help us work safely and in line with government coronavirus guidance, while engaging with a wide range of people.
- Resume further face to face engagement sessions when it is safe to do so.
You can stay up to date with all our engagement plans by visiting our West Vale webpage.
Q How can I share my views on the development?
A You can:
- Take the online West Vale Place Standard questionnaire
- Join our Resident Engagement Panel – email us to get involved
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Get in touch with our Contact Centre. Call 0161 393 7117 or email email@example.com.
Q How will you ensure recreational space at the new development meets the needs of the local community, are there plans for more improved public space and what will you put in place to deter potential antisocial behaviour (ASB)?
A The proposed play area has been designed to be accessible to the whole community and we want it to be an attractive place for existing and future local children to play.
The plan we have put forward for the play area includes 10 elements and will be surrounded by soft landscaping features, including hedgerows and fencing. You can see an initial plan of the playground below.
We are in discussions with Oldham Council, local councillors and schools about how we can work together to improve further public open spaces to enhance the area for the local community and address concerns about ASB.
Our Stronger Communities engagement team is also exploring these topics with our West Vale Resident Engagement Panel. Made up of people who live, own businesses and work in the West Street/ Vale Drive neighbourhood, this group is helping to shape our plans. If you’d like to be part of the panel and share your views, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q Will having 10% parking for the apartments be enough? If it isn’t, where should these customers park?
A Building on our initial proposal, we are now looking to provide 15% resident parking with some additional parking provided adjacent the new substation. There will be the opportunity for on street parking along Vale Drive between the scheme and the school.
Q Are the Crossbank House and Summervale House tower blocks empty
A Yes they are fully empty.
Q When were the tower blocks vacated?
A The final customer moved out in April 2020.
Q Were the customers living in the tower blocks compensated?
A First Choice Homes Oldham customers in the tower blocks received a Home Loss payment to compensate them, plus a Disturbance payment to cover costs such as removals, floor coverings etc.
Q Were all the residents in the tower blocks rehoused?
A All First Choice Homes Oldham customers have been supported into alternative accommodation.
Q What percentage of tenants living in the high rise blocks when the scheme was announced will be eligible to live in any of the new homes?
A The new homes will be allocated to people based on housing need, in line with Oldham Council’s Allocations Policy and our Letting Policy. For more information on these, please visit the how to apply for a home page on our website.
Q Why demolish the tower blocks?
A In 2018 we carried out a review of all our tower blocks. Our findings showed that:
- The 1970s blocks at Crossbank House and Summervale House, along with bungalows at Flemming Place, no longer meet the needs and aspirations of our customers.
- Turnover of customers in the blocks was really high. In 2018 one fifth of all the people living in the blocks decided to move out.
- Extensive repairs and maintenance at considerable cost would be needed to extend the life of the blocks.
After careful consideration of the findings our Board decided that the best option for existing and future customers was to demolish the Crossbank House and Summervale House tower blocks and support customers to find new homes.
Q What are your plans for West Vale?
A Our aim for West Vale is to create much needed new homes and improve the wider surrounding area to create a space in which our residents will feel proud to live.
Q How many new homes will you build?
A Our proposal is to build 88 new homes.
Q What type of homes will you build?
A We will be building a range of property types, ranging from one bed apartments to family homes, all designed to meet the needs of people across Oldham.
Q What will the tenure mix of the new homes be?
A We are still working on our plans and the tenure mix hasn’t been confirmed yet.
Q The seven storey apartment block will house how many of the 88 homes proposed?
A The 7/8 storey apartment block will consist of 62 apartments, which will be a mix of 1 and 2-bedroom and duplex apartments.
Q What are your plans for the existing neighbourhood around Vale Drive?
A Our plans for investment in FCHO customers’ homes and regenerating spaces in the West Vale neighbourhood are currently being discussed and we are working closely with Oldham Council on these. We’ll keep local people and stakeholders updated as our plans progress.
Q When do you plan to demolish the tower blocks?
A Our plans to demolish Crossbank and Summervale House tower blocks have been approved by Oldham Council. The demolition and clearance of the buildings is anticipated to take place late July - late Nov 2021, and throughout this period we’ll keep local people updated on our progress.
Q How will you keep local people, including children, safe while West Vale is being developed?
A We understand that keeping children safe while work is happening around the tower blocks is a key concern for you. Parents and other residents can be assured that the site will be fenced off during the project, making it inaccessible to children. Stringent site security will be in place and we’ll be working on a traffic plan for the surrounding streets.
Before any work begins at the West Vale site, members of our team will also be contacting Richmond Academy primary school and Westwood High and Oasis Academy Leesbrook high schools and local community groups, to speak to young people about the dangers of building sites and sharing advice on how they can stay safe.
Q How will you minimise disruption to local people and businesses from site traffic and keep people safe while the West Vale site is being developed?
A The safety of all pedestrians and road users is paramount throughout this project and a very carefully planned traffic management plan will be in place all the way through.
We will be insisting that the contractor who will be chosen to build West Vale puts in place robust traffic management procedures. This element will be a key part of our selection process.
The plan will identify traffic routes, timings etc to protect the local community and minimise disturbance and inconvenience to existing residents. For example in respect of the Broome Street works, we would insist on working hours outside of key school drop off and collection periods.
Q Has traffic monitoring on Vale Drive and Railway Road been carried out to identify any existing issues that may be exacerbated by your proposal?
A A full Transport Assessment will be carried out as part of our planning submission to Oldham Council. The assessment will help us identify transport issues relating to the proposed development and decide what measures are needed to be put in place. However, given the number of dwellings proposed for our development will reduce, we do not anticipate there will be a significant impact from traffic.
Q Will there be another access route for traffic to the site while the project is underway?
A We are in discussion with Oldham Council’s Highways department regarding options for another access route. However when plans were reviewed initially another access route was not considered necessary.
Q Will there be a loss of off road parking while the redevelopment works are ongoing?
A Some off road parking immediately adjacent to the site at Vale Drive may be lost as redevelopment progresses. We will have a clearer picture of the impact of this when the main contractor produces its traffic management plan and this will be shared when it's ready.
Q Will local businesses be given the chance to carry out the works at the West Vale redevelopment?
A Throughout this project we want to support the local economy and create opportunities for people and businesses in Oldham.
We will be insisting that the main contractor gives tendering opportunities to relevant local businesses across all trades as part of their local social value commitment.
Q Will there be any space in the new development for shops to open?
A There is no plan for retail units in the new development.
Q How long will the West Vale redevelopment project take to complete?
A The demolition work will take place May - September 2021.
The construction phase is programmed to start on site in March/April 2022 with completion in Sept/Oct 2023.