Our work at Toad Lane within the Falinge Housing Estate in Rochdale is starting to change outsider’s perceptions of this ‘sink estate’ and is helping improve the lives of the people that live there. Falinge attracted the unwelcome title of the country’s biggest ‘welfare ghetto’ coined during its ‘Secret Millionaire’ supporting role on Channel 4. Statistics in 2013 showed 72% of people living on the estate were unemployed, 60% of whom suffered from mental health issues. Four out of five children were also growing up in poverty.

In OMI carried out a full review of the estate to determine its future. A flexible masterplan was produced outlining a phased improvement programme that included retaining most of the blocks and carrying out selective demolition and in-fill development of new family housing.

Toad Lane is the first of these phased developments. Two blocks, containing 30 flats and straddling a disused car park were replaced with 26 family houses and bungalows. The dwelling mix seeks to address the current imbalance within the estate and encourage existing families (in employment) to stay on the estate or attract new families to relocate to Falinge.

This project works with the prevailing physical issues whilst tackling the general perception of the estate and its residents. The scale, materiality and massing of the new dwellings take their cue from the existing blocks of flats. Unattractive existing features, such as the exposed gables of the existing blocks, are transformed by the introduction of new stair towers on prominent corners, thus signifying change to the outside world. OMI are commissioned for a second phase, due on site in 2017.

CLIENT – Rochdale Boroughwide Housing
STATUS – Completed
VALUE – £2.5M
LOCATION – Toad Lane, Rochdale
Structural Engineer
Quantity Surveyor
Poole Dick Associates
Main Contractor
Landscape Architect