Richmond in new group talks with Thames Valley
Merger activity stepped up a notch this week as two associations launched talks over forming a new 20,000 home group and a troubled BME association identified a merger partner in a bid to avoid a ‘forced marriage'.
Richmond Housing Partnership and Thames Valley Housing Association have announced they are starting
formal discussions over forming a new group structure.
And Black Roof Community Housing Association has identified Shian Housing Association as a merger partner despite being subject to an ongoing Housing Corporation statutory inquiry. The inquiry could result in the corporation ordering it to merge with another association.
RHP and Thames Valley, which each own or manage around 10,000 homes, already operate from the same office block in Twickenham. The pair said they were considering forming a new parent company with the two associations retaining their identity underneath.
Keith Holloway, chief executive of Thames Valley, said the potential merger would open up greater development opportunities. ‘One of the main drivers is to develop more homes in Richmond and the
south east,' he said. ‘We have been doing that for a number of years and we are confident we can step up another gear.'
David Done, chief executive of RHP, said other merger partners had been considered. ‘We have looked at a number of associations in terms of potential partners and in our view TVHA came out best,' he said.
Done is confident of putting a strong case to the Housing Corporation. ‘It is early days, but it seems to me that it makes total sense from a business point of view.'
Job cuts were not expected, he added. ‘We do not envisage any compulsory redundancies.'
But Black Roof could be heading for a clash with the corporation over its bid to select its own merger partner despite the ongoing statutory inquiry. The association had complained that the corporation was trying to ‘bully' it into a merger (Inside Housing, 1 September). Aaron Whitaker, chair of Shian, said the corporation should support Black Roof's decision.
‘The Housing Corporation should feel a bit more confident that Black Roof is trying to do something to improve its lot,' he said. ‘Black Roof is in financial difficulty so I think they want us to move quite quickly,'
A Housing Corporation spokesperson said it was unable to comment on Black Roof's decision while the statutory inquiry was ongoing. It is due to conclude on Tuesday.