Berkshire housing associations announce merger plans

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 | MERGER

Two Berkshire-based housing associations have announced plans to join forces to create a new 14,600-home landlord in the county.

Bracknell Forest Homes, which owns and manages over 7,000 properties, said it had started “early discussions” with Maidenhead-based association Housing Solutions, which owns 7,500 homes.

Bracknell said the merger would help both associations manage the “immense pressure” on them to provide more homes to meet the shortage of affordable housing.

“I’m very pleased that so far the potential collaboration with Housing Solutions seems to match our expectations,” said Graeme Stanley, chair of the board at Bracknell Forest Homes.

“Both associations have a comparable number of properties and share an ambition to build more homes, deliver the best possible service for customers and invest in communities.

“Initial indications show that our combined strength could deliver one and a half times more homes compared to what we could both do on our own.”

Both associations are similarly sized. Bracknell Forest Homes, established in 2008, is a not-for-profit association employing around 220 people and with an annual turnover of £42 million.

Housing Solutions was founded in 1995, employs more than 150 staff and has an annual turnover of £43 million.

Bracknell said ”further work” will now be done on the proposal and there will be consultation with customers and other stakeholders, with more information to be published in the coming months.

Paul Bettison, leader of Bracknell Forest Council, welcomed the news and said the council would be watching the talks “with interest”.

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