Britain’s largest housing co-operative has formed in Rochdale, on an historic day for the movement.
On December 21st at 8pm, the tenants of Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) voted to take ownership of all 13,800 housing units owned by the Borough. RBH will immediately become the largest housing co-operative in Britain. The new co-op will operate an enterprise with over £30 million in turnover, 620 employees and home to 40,000 people.
The results were originally to be announced on the 20th of December. However, Gareth Swarbrick, Chief Executive of Rochdale Borough Housing, changed the vote’s announcement to coincide with the same time and date as the opening of the Toad Lane co-operative store in Rochdale in 1844. So at 8pm on the 21st December, the Borough announced that the tenant vote was 76% in favor of the newest co-operative in Rochdale.
RBH will transform into a multi-stakeholder co-operative where the representative body will have the power to appoint board members and will consist of 15 elected tenants, eight elected employees, three members from the tenant management organisation, four from the council and three from other organizations.