Bromford and Merlin are in formal partnership talks to deliver the largest housing association-led new homes programme throughout Gloucestershire and the Midlands.
The proposed partnership will see the organisations – with nearly 40,000 homes between them, a combined turnover of £250m and strong operating margin – join together to invest £1.5bn in 14,000 new homes over the next decade.
In a joint statement, CEOs Philippa Jones from Bromford and Robert Nettleton from Merlin, said: “This is a partnership where each organisation brings expertise that complements the other and service aspirations that fit really well.
“It brings together two forward thinking housing associations with a shared vision of enabling customers to use great affordable homes as a springboard to achieve more of what they hope for themselves, their families and their communities.
“Both our organisations have ambitious development programmes. Working together these can be combined and expanded to deliver 14,000 new homes in the next decade.
“This capability and a common passion to offer an exceptional customer experience, will help our combined business grow and deliver more of a difference.”
Over the coming months the organisations will seek feedback and consult customers and stakeholders on the vision for the partnership which includes:
- Unlocking the ability to do more in communities we work in, especially in coaching and empowering our customers to build resilience and take control of their own lives. This partnership will allow us to share expertise to benefit the whole and enable us to reach more customers than we can do alone
- Expanding our ambitious development programmes to deliver 14 000 new homes in the next decade. This capability makes the aspiration of developing and regenerating new communities possible. Together we will be able to deliver the largest housing association led development programme in our area of operation
- Transforming customer experience by developing automated digital services alongside our continued strong focus on local services and personal relationships
- Enhancing flexible working practices and a culture based on values and behaviours which will attract and retain the best talent, expand apprenticeships and create more graduate opportunities.
In the past 12 months, Bromford has announced two major initiatives that are designed to meet the businesses new strategy which has three strategic aims: providing the right home for customers, providing an increasing supply of homes, and providing the right relationship with all customers.
In August 2016, Bromford launched its £3.5m localities programme to revolutionise the traditional approach to housing management by strengthening relationships, connecting communities and empowering customers to be more resilient.
New neighbourhood coaches, now working right across its operational area, are being challenged to work far more proactively by coaching customers on smaller patches.
In April this year, Bromford revised up previous forecasts and committed to increasing its housebuilding programme by 57% – completing 5,311 homes by 2022 instead of 3,380.
Of the new homes, 74% were for rent and shared ownership, 13% for specialist products for elderly people or adults with learning disabilities and the remainder for outright sale.
Bromford has more than 28 000 properties across the Midlands, and employs 1200 people
Merlin owns or manages nearly 9,000 properties in the south west, which are home to more than 16,000 people across South Gloucestershire, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset.
Over the past four year Merlin has increased its development programme from 2 new homes a year to 235 and its surplus from £3.8m to £13m.