Two Castles Housing Association in Derwent & Solway merger plan

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Plans have been revealed for Two Castles Housing Association to join forces with another social landlod.

Cumbrian housing association Derwent & Solway is in talks to partner with Two Castles to create a new organisation that would own and manage more than 7,000 homes across the north of England.

Derwent & Solway was originally a subsidiary of Harvest Group, which merged with another association to create Your Housing Group in 2012.

The association remained as a subsidiary.

Since last 2015 its local board had investigated severing ties with the umbrella group and forming an allegiance with other Cumbrian housing associations.

But last summer that appeared to be in jeopardy after Your Housing Group bosses said the board had not submitted a plan by the required date.

They said Your Housing Group would work towards rolling the local association fully into its operation, which would have seen the local board replaced by a new form of local scrutiny, possibly involving tenants.

Now, however, Your Housing Group has given the subsidiary association the opportunity to partner with Two Castles.

The proposed moved will be subject to consultation with residents and discussion with the government regulator, the Homes and Communities Agency.

If approved by the boards of the three housing associations, the partnership is likely to go ahead in the summer.

Mark Tattersall, chairman of Your Housing Group, said: “Derwent and Solway has been an integral part of Your Housing Group since we formed in 2012, delivering invaluable housing services to residents across West Cumbria.

“Last year we instigated a group-wide review of every aspect of our business. During this process we consulted with the various subsidiary boards across the Group. As a result of that consultation it became clear that Derwent and Solway should like to continue to focus their service provision around local administration and delivery. As this objective did not fit with the future strategic direction of Your Housing Group the logical step was to explore the possibility of a demerger.

“Derwent and Solway and Two Castles will now work together with staff and residents to explore what can be achieved by the two organisations joining together and Your Housing Group will be fully supportive of this process.”

Rob Rimmer, chairman of Derwent and Solway, said: "We looked at a range of options before selecting Two Castles Housing Association as the best partner for Derwent and Solway to continue to serve our residents with high quality services with strong local oversight. Your Housing Group have been great in supporting the process."

Michael Johnson, chairman of Two Castles, added: "Even though as separate entities we’re strong and successful organisations, we believe that coming together we can focus on continuing to improve services to residents within the local communities across geographical regions we both already share.

"Both associations are committed to building more new homes to help tackle the housing crisis and improve services within our communities. If the merger takes place we hope to further develop our track records for value for money, quality and innovation."

The new organisation would serve Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and North Lancashire.

Residents have been invited to express their views on the proposed partnership by April 12.

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graham   sherriff , cockermouth Saturday, 18 March, 2017 at 9:12AM
this is a good thing ,i am sure we would get a better service ,and we would not have to phone via warrington to get in touch anyone
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Steve   Paine , CARLISLE Friday, 17 March, 2017 at 10:29AM
They could do a lot worse than Two Castles I can tell you. I am a Two Castles tenant in Carlisle, and I find them to be very approachable. In my honest opinion, they are by far the best landlord I have ever had. As a disinterested observer, I would urge Derwent and Solway tenants to wholeheartedly support the proposed merger. Love and Respect from Steve xXx
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