Contour and Vicinity housing groups unite

Michael Hunt

Liverpool-based Vicinity Housing Group and Contour Housing Group in Salford have agreed to join forces to form a new North West housing group.

Following a comprehensive process of exploratory discussions which was announced in October last year, both organisations have agreed to pursue an amalgamation to create a new parent body and extend their pool of subsidiary housing associations and commercial entities within an expanded partnership.

The new parent company will comprise seven stock holding member organisations with property portfolios ranging in size from 1,000 to 12,000 and totalling more than 36,000 homes.

Vicinity Housing Group said that the new organisation will cover 27 local authorities and aim to benefit these partners by creating a stronger entity which will enable it to do even more to help people with their housing problems.

The next phase will include a process of due diligence and tenant and stakeholder consultation. Subject to receiving the required consents, the amalgamation will take place on 31 March 2011.

Vicinity said that the key factors influencing this decision have been a joint determination to retain a clear local focus, to deliver excellent service for customers, to capitalise on potential efficiencies and to develop an organisation that can operate from the strongest possible position for the future.

Phil Gandy, chief executive of Vicinity Housing Group, said: "We are pleased to announce that we intend to progress our partnership with Contour. Fundamentally our cultures, aspirations and long term goals are a good match and we operate within a very similar framework of principles, with shared commitments to our group structure and the clear local focus and accountability this provides for tenants."

Mike Creamer, chief executive of Contour Housing Group, added: "To put it simply, we will be better together; better able to deliver services to our tenants and better placed to face future challenges. We are confident that this is the right decision for the future of both Groups."

Vicinity Housing Group works across Merseyside, Cheshire and Lancashire and owns and manages 17,500 homes.

Subsidiaries of Vicinity Housing Group includes Atrium, Beechwood Ballantyne, Cobalt Housing, Liverpool Housing Trust and Ribble Valley Homes.

Contour Housing Group owns and manages over 20,000 homes in Lancashire, Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

Contour's member organisations includes Contour Homes, Hyndburn Homes, Peak Valley Housing Association and Contour Property Services.

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