New affordable housing chair means business at Thrive

Watford-based housing association Thrive Homes has appointed a new Chair to help it rise to the challenge of providing more affordable homes in a tough economic climate.

Dr Ashley Lane brings a wealth of experience in the commercial sector, combined with a strong understanding of affordable housing issues, to the role.

He was previously a group director for 16 years of two of the biggest housebuilders, Persimmon and Westbury Homes.

Dr Lane has been a board member of Solihull Community Housing for 10 years, serving as Chair for the last seven years, and has been a non-executive director of Two Rivers Housing, in Gloucestershire, for three years.

The father-of-two now runs a consultancy company providing specialist advice on the provision and construction of affordable housing to housebuilders, local authorities, housing associations and financial investors.

Elspeth Mackenzie, Chief Executive of Thrive Homes, said:

“We are pleased to welcome Dr Lane to our Board. He brings strong commercial experience, which will be invaluable in helping Thrive grow and develop as a business.

“He also has a good understanding of the issues housing associations currently face as we work to provide more affordable homes to meet rising housing needs, while our income is hit by national rent cuts and a challenging financial environment.”

Dr Lane said:

“I am looking forward to working with Thrive to build on its achievements and take the organisation on to its next exciting chapter.”

He replaces Thrive’s former Chair Richard Laval, who retired last month.


Before his move into the housing world, Dr Lane worked at oven makers AGA where he was responsible for the introduction of a more affordable version of the classic range cooker.

Known as ‘Mr Cooking’ among his colleagues, he used to work alongside celebrity chef Mary Berry when she over-saw production of the the AGA cookbook.


Dr Lane, who has a doctorate in engineering and business, is also a qualified football referee and has covered matches all over the country in the past 30 years.