Leading Brighton and Hove housebuilder and social landlord says proposed merger will help tackle housing crisis
Hyde Housing – one of the biggest housebuilders and social landlords in Brighton and Hove – is planning to be part of an ambitious merger.
The housing association has proposed joining with two others – L&Q and East Thames – and said that this would make it cheaper and easier to build more homes for the poor.
Hyde said that together they would be stronger and able to make a real difference to the housing crisis.
They hope to build 100,000 homes in ten years in London and the south east, with Hyde already in talks about an innovative partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council.
The merged organisation would be one of Europe’s biggest social landlords and the fourth biggest housebuilder in Britain.
In Brighton and Hove, Hyde has built homes in the past few years by Hove Park, at the Open Market and Brighton Station and in St James’s Street.
It recently withdrew a planning application for flats on the site of the old Sackville Hotel on Hove seafront and is expected to go back to the drawing board.
One observer said that it was one of the builders of any note in Brighton and Hove and the only housing association putting up new homes.
Hyde said: “L&Q, The Hyde Group and East Thames have entered into merger talks with a view to creating one of the country’s top four largest housebuilders.
“Together, the three organisations will be able to build 100,000 new homes across London and the south east – 35,000 more homes than they could have achieved alone, representing an investment of £25 billion over the next ten years.
“Half of these new homes will be for people on lower incomes, making the new organisation the largest provider of affordable homes in the country.
“In total, 25,000 affordable new homes will be set aside for first-time buyers and 25,000 new homes will be for affordable rent, with the remaining 50,000 new homes for market rent and sale.
“The 35,000 additional new homes built as a result of this proposed merger represents an investment of £9 billion and is welcomed by the Housing Minister Brandon Lewis.
Mr Lewis said: “This shows what can be achieved by combining the strengths of each organisation.
“It will make a real difference to increase their capacity to build, house and help thousands of people across London and the south east.
“I welcome the added focus on helping our ageing population and the launch of a training academy for staff and residents.
“In my mind, this is exactly what housing associations should be doing.”
Hyde said: “The proposed merger of three of the nation’s leading housing associations is a positive step for the sector.
“In addition to building 100,000 new homes, the new organisation will also be responsible for managing 135,000 homes.
“The new organisation, worth an estimated £30 billion, will continue to provide good quality homes as well as better and easier access to services for residents, delivering these through a new regional structure to ensure continued local accountability.
“The merger will also see the creation of a new training academy with a £5 million a year increase in investment over existing training budgets.
“This will provide nationally accredited apprenticeship schemes, greater career development opportunities for staff and training and employment options for residents in the communities they serve.
“As a result of the merger, L&Q, the Hyde Group and East Thames will be able to deliver efficiency savings of £50 million a year within five years, primarily through combining back office functions, investment in IT, flexible working, growth through development and combined purchasing power in procurement.
“The new organisation aims to be innovative and agile, responding to Government’s criticism of the sector head on.
“Through the expertise that East Thames brings, a large care and support subsidiary will be created taking in supported housing from all three partners and investing in a new offer for vulnerable and older people, catering for London’s ageing population.
“In addition, the new organisation will set aside £250 million over and above current spending levels for community investment, funding like-minded charities and groups to deliver projects which make London and the south east a better place to live.”
L&Q chief executive David Montague is the chief executive designate of the new merged organisation. Hyde chief executive Elaine Bailey is the deputy chief executive designate.
Yvonne Arrowsmith will continue as chief executive of East Thames which will become a subsidiary of the new organisation.
The chairman designate will be Aubrey Adams, the current chairman of L&Q, and the deputy chairman designate will be Hyde’s Mark Sebba.
David Montague said: “Our plans will allow us to tackle the housing crisis head on, driving greater efficiency, building more homes, creating beautiful new places and sustainable, independent communities.
“At the heart of our united mission will be the continued provision of affordable homes for those in need.”
Elaine Bailey said: “The combined strength of all three associations means that we will be able to deliver a house building programme that would have been impossible to achieve for each organisation alone.
“As well as this, we want to lead the sector in customer service, meeting the service aspirations of all our residents across a range of housing tenures.
“Put simply, we are stronger together – more financially capable of delivering and managing our stock than we are apart.
“Every penny that we make will be invested back into the services we deliver and into building much needed homes.”
Yvonne Arrowsmith said: “We know there is a high demand for affordable housing amongst the communities we work with as well as major opportunities for growth.
“Joining with L&Q and Hyde enables us to remain committed to these communities and to maximize our impact there.
“It also brings the opportunity to grow much-needed care and support services for vulnerable or elderly residents, which can be expanded across L&Q and Hyde’s areas of operation, stretching as far as Hampshire and Sussex.
“We know that with the financial strength of all three combined organisations we can achieve so much more and are excited about what this will mean for our current residents, staff and the many partner organisations we currently work with.”
Hyde said: “The new organisation will aim to engage residents throughout the process and will be holding a special consultation event for involved residents from all three organisations early this summer.”
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