Partnership promises thousands of new homes

Partnership plans between Jephson and Raglan housing associations have reached a major milestone this week with the submission of their formal application to the HCA.

If approved, the merger will create one of the UK’s most significant social housing providers, with around £160m in turnover and £1.6 billion* in assets.

The initial business case assumed merger-led savings of around £5.8m per annum, which could provide 940 additional new homes. The current plan however goes even further - projecting up to 1,272 additional homes – over 300 more than originally forecast.

George Blunden, (current Raglan Chair and Chair of the joint organisation’s new Board Designate Committee), says it’s a fantastic prospect: “Overall, we’re looking at potentially developing more than 7,000 new homes over the next 10 years. That represents an opportunity for thousands of people and families to have a place they can call home, particularly those who may be disadvantaged or vulnerable and whose needs are not met by the open market.

“Our calculations are based on conservative assumptions about the economy and maintaining the very strong financial position of the group. There may therefore be additional scope for increasing the figure at a later date.”

The application also outlines plans for customer service improvements, stock rationalisation, value for money and the intention to re-brand the new Group. CEO (Designate), Bob Strachan, says they’ve been working closely with the regulator to ensure plans capture and maximise all the potential benefits: “We’ve been very thorough in detailing what a joint organisation will bring in terms of advantages for residents, employees, the business and our working partners. The HCA needs to be certain we have the strength and capacity to deliver our plans, which we believe are both ambitious and achievable.”

The regulator will now consider the application and a decision is expected in September. If approved, the new Group will become operational from January 2015.