Bosses approve demolition of iconic tower blocks

Reporter: Charlotte Green
Date published: 23 September 2020

Council bosses have approved plans to demolish two iconic tower blocks in the heart of Oldham.

Housing association First Choice Homes is decommissioning Crossbank House and Summervale House, which stand at the so-called ‘gateway’ to the town at the junction of Manchester Street and Oldham Way.

The association intends to replace the 1970s-style run-down buildings with modern apartments and townhouses.

It would see residents of the 247 properties around Vale Drive moved out and the two blocks of flats reduced to rubble.

The town hall has now given prior approval to knock down the buildings, as well as an adjacent group of bungalows and the undercroft parking. 

According to the planning documents, it is anticipated that the works will commence in January 2021, taking between four and six months to complete.

Ahead of the demolition services will be disconnected and they will assess whether there are any ‘notifiable substances’ in the buildings, including asbestos.

If any asbestos is found on the site, a ‘suitably approved licensed’ asbestos removal contractor will be appointed to carry out the removal of all asbestos containing products, according to the demolition method statement. 

West Vale

A site compound would be set up, with welfare facilities and site security and then an ‘internal soft strip’ of the buildings would take place.

This would be followed by mechanical demolition of the super structure to ground slab level, and processing of materials – including a mobile crushing plant – to be removed for recycling or disposal.

The working hours have yet to be confirmed but they are anticipated to be between 8am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am to 4pm on Saturday, with no working on Sunday.

The demolition of the towers will make way for new family homes, as the housing association is investing £160m to build 850 properties in the borough over the next six years.

First Choice Homes and developer Fabric Living want to transform the area into a new development dubbed ‘West Vale’.

It would see around 90 new homes built, ranging from one bedroom apartments to ‘family homes’, which would incorporate green technology.

Outlining the proposals, First Choice states: “West Vale will be a gateway to Oldham and is in a prime location for residents, with easy access to nearby amenities, Oldham town centre’s shops and services and the local transport network.

“It will provide a range of high quality, affordable new homes in a vibrant neighbourhood where people, families and businesses can thrive.

“All will be economical to run, incorporate energy efficient design features and equipped to meet the needs of people who work from home, making the development fit for the future of our town.”

Bosses say homes are being designed to ‘meet the needs of people’ across the borough, and create a space where ‘residents will feel proud to live’.

They are also planning on improving the wider surrounding of the current tower blocks.

A further 11 bungalows on the existing site are to become vacant in the next three months, freeing up more space. 

No planning application has yet been submitted to Oldham council for the redevelopment.


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