Giant social landlord L&Q has announced ambitious plans to invest £4bn to create 20,000 new homes and neighbourhoods in the North West of England through the takeover of Manchester based Trafford Housing Trust.
L&Q sees THT as a gateway to the North West and a key to delivering on its plans to build 100,000 new homes over the next 10 years to tackle the country’s under-supply of housing. The Government has a target of building 300,000 new homes a year, well above the current delivery of 180,000 per annum. L&Q and Trafford Housing Trust (with 90,000 and 9,000 homes respectively) announced in early April they were in talks for THT to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of L&Q. The deal is due to complete in June 2019, subject to due diligence, customer consultation and the development of a five-year business plan. The acquisition of THT will build on an existing joint venture partnership that has already seen 679 housing starts with a further 1,493 in the pipeline since it was launched in April 2017. The new agreement will unlock £4 billion of investment in the North West by combining the capabilities and resources of the two HAs. At least half of the 20,000 new homes will be affordable.
Major reinvestment plans
Around £2 million will be put aside to improve the standard of THT’s existing homes, as they come up for re-let, in-line with L&Q’s Home Standard. This includes modernising, re-painting and fitting carpets. This is part of L&Q’s £225 million annual investment in existing homes. There will be savings by removing duplication and increasing efficiencies, but the HAs say the acquisition is focused on investment and growth and there will not be any compulsory redundancies as a direct result of the acquisition. Commenting on the announcement, L&Q Group Chief Executive David Montague said: “L&Q has an ambitious plan to build 100,000 quality new homes over the next 10 years to tackle the national housing crisis. We are excited by the opportunity to invest in the North West with a partner that shares our social purpose, values and ambition, has excellent local knowledge and a strong reputation for innovation and delivery.” Larry Gold, Acting Chief Executive of THT, added: “This is a unique creation that will be built on true partnership and the strength of our vision, and the people who will deliver it. As part of L&Q, we’ll create significant social impact in the North West at scale and pace and strive to find solutions to the national housing crisis. We will deliver an extensive programme of new development and regeneration projects, as well as improving homes and services for our existing customers.”
By Patrick Mooney, Editor