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Merger talks fall through for Berkshire housing associations

Talks over a potential merger between two Berkshire-based housing associations have broken down.

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Merger talks fall through for Berkshire housing associations

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Housing Solutions and Bracknell Forest Homes entered discussions to join forces in January, but the associations’ boards have now decided not to go ahead with the plans.

Identical statements put out on the two organisations’ websites said: “Whilst there were sound grounds for evaluating the option to merge, having concluded the due diligence process and sought to develop a joint business plan, it became apparent that there were differences of opinion about the way forward for the merged association and that these could not be easily bridged.”


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It adds that work done during the process “can be carried forward into our respective strategies”.
If the merger had completed, it would have created a 14,600-home landlord.

Housing Solutions owns and manages more than 7,500 homes and has an annual turnover of £43m, while Bracknell Forest Homes has upwards of 7,000 units and a £42m yearly turnover.

In a joint statement, the two associations said they agreed at the start of the talks not to disclose details and so “will not be releasing any further information”.

“Both associations are reviewing their separate corporate strategies over the next two months. Both remain financially very strong and neither needs to seek a merger,” the statement added.

Orla Gallagher, chief executive of Housing Solutions, has written to the association’s customers.

In the letter, she said: “I would like to thank you for all your support and contribution during the customer consultation in May this year. Your feedback during the merger consultation has been extremely useful.

“During the consultation I heard how much you value our local maintenance and housing management services and we are looking forward to continuing to work with you to make our services even better.”

Bracknell Forest Homes residents were also contacted by chief executive Alan Ward to inform them of the news.

His letter said “there will be some announcements about the direction for the association in due course”.

UPDATE AT 15:33 07.08.17: The story was updated to add a joint statement from Bracknell Forest Homes and Housing Solutions and a quote from Alan Ward’s letter to residents.

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