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Manchester housing associations announce merger plans

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing

Manchester housing associations announce merger plans Manchester housing associations announce merger plans

Two Manchester-based housing associations have announced plans to merge.

The boards of City South Manchester Housing Trust and Eastlands Homes have agreed to form a new partnership that would see the creation of a 12,400-home group.

In a joint statement, the board said the partnership would be "the best way to grow and strengthen both organisations and deliver long-term improvements to their communities in south and east Manchester".

City South and Eastlands Homes will now begin formal discussions over forming a new housing group and start a six week consultation with their tenants and leaseholders.

Both housing associations were set up following a stock transfer of homes from Manchester City Council, Eastlands Homes in 2003 and City South in 2008. Both have carried out multi-million pound improvement programmes to their homes and communities.

Geographically the housing associations are almost neighbours, with Eastlands Homes working in the Beswick, Clayton, Openshaw, Ardwick, Gorton, Levenshulme, Longsight and Rusholme areas of east and south Manchester; while City South has homes in Hulme, Fallowfield, Moss Side and Whalley Range.

The new group structure would mean that City South and Eastlands Homes would keep their own identities as subsidiaries, but would come under the umbrella of a new parent organisation, the name of which has yet to be decided.

Dave Power, chief executive of City South Manchester Housing Trust, said: “One of the main drivers of the partnership is a new social innovation agenda to maximise opportunities for our residents and the integrated management of our neighbourhoods.

“We want to use our experience and partnerships across all sectors, not only to invest in new homes and services, but also to complement and add social value to the City of Manchester’s ambitious growth agenda and ensure our residents and neighbours benefit.

“Neither organisation wants to stand still and we know that our future lies in strengthening the organisations so we can continue to provide the very best homes and services for our customers.”

Sheila Doran, chief executive of Eastlands Homes, said: “The two organisations have similar ambitions and values, and share the view that building communities is what matters most to us.

“There is also a logical geographical fit as well as we are situated relatively close together. We will take our different strengths and areas of expertise and bring them together to create a very effective partnership.”

The companies said the merger would also allow them to offer better value for money, generate millions of pounds, increase the financial strength of the businesses, have a stronger voice in the region and housing sector and continue to retain and attract the best staff.

The formal part of the process is now underway. Both organisations will be working closely with their funders and regulators on the legal, financial and governance arrangements in the coming months, with the proposed merger planned to take place in April 2015.

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