Audit Commission praises Oldham, Rochdale HMRI

An independent investigation by housing watchdog the Audit Commission into Housing Market Renewal Initiative's use of resources scored the Pathfinder in Oldham and Rochdale as 'performing strongly'.

The Pathfinder was one of only three in the country to receive the highest mark available.

The study – the first of its kind by the Audit Commission – looked into the approaches the Pathfinders take in handling resources, including achieving value for money.

The report praised the Oldham and Rochdale Pathfinder for attracting more than £21m additional public funding during last year and a further £7m from developer partners, equating to an additional 24p of additional private investment for every Pathfinder pound. The Oldham Rochdale HMR Pathfinder was last year awarded £90m for a three-year period.

The Audit Commission highlighted a number of strengths including an established market intelligence programme, effective risk management and achievements in sustainable development.

Alastair Graham, Director of the Oldham Rochdale HMR Pathfinder, said: "We take the responsibility of managing the resources we have very seriously, so are incredibly pleased that this has been recognised. The mark mirrors the overall inspection we received from the Audit Commission last year.

"We face a tough year of challenges due to the recession, but building work is continuing and we are adapting our spending plans in the short-term to start preparing for the inevitable up-turn. This involves a focus on land remediation and environmental improvements in our target areas."

The first phase of a development by Artisan in Rochdale has recently been completed. Residents are now moving into Nelson Place, pictured, which has already received acclaim with a national housing award.

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