Housing association mergers continue apace

Mergers in the social housing sector continued with several completed deals being announced in different parts of the country, as the drive for efficiency savings and bigger volumes to deliver new development work persists.

In East Anglia, Cambridge based King Street Housing Society transferred its 600 homes to the 11,000 home Aldwyck Housing Group. The organisations said the deal frees up £40m for investing in the building of new homes in Cambridgeshire over the next five years. Craig Glasper, former chief executive of King Street, takes responsibility for “seeking opportunities for growth” in Cambridgeshire and in Aldwyck’s wider operating area.

Sara Garnham, former chair of King Street Housing Society and now an Aldwyck board member, said: “We know all too well that Cambridgeshire, like much of the UK, has a chronic shortage of affordable quality homes. Through our merger we can play our part in addressing the housing crisis and continue to provide great service to our existing customers.”

In the capital Notting Hill and Genesis completed their controversial 64,000-home merger, to form Notting Hill Genesis, less than nine months after talks were first announced. Residents of both associations and the former chair of Genesis had publicly declared their opposition to the deal, but to no avail. Shareholders (made up of residents, founders, current and former board members and others) voted strongly in favour of merging. The two organisations aim to free up £20m worth of savings a year through the merger, and hope this will help them to deliver 400 extra homes per annum.

Kate Davies, the chief executive of Notting Hill, is now chief executive of the new organisation, while Elizabeth Froude, deputy chief executive of Genesis, has the same role at the new association. Dipesh Shah, the chair of Genesis, is now chair of Notting Hill Genesis. Meanwhile two Greater Manchester housing associations have completed a merger to become one of the largest landlords in the region. New Charter and Adactus Housing have formed Jigsaw Homes Group, with more than 33,000 homes in ownership.

The new group also has stock in the North West and the East Midlands, with plans to deliver more than 2,700 homes during the next three years. It has an estimated turnover of £194m and employs about 1,450 staff. Former Adactus boss Hilary Roberts will take over as chief executive, while Ian Munro, former chief executive of New Charter, is set to retire after a transition period. The group comprises six housing association subsidiaries, as well as a housing advice charity, a development arm and a procurement company. It will operate across Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire.

By Patrick Mooney, editor