Council decides on new housing association partner

Merton Council is pleased to announce Circle Anglia as the new housing partner for Merton should tenants vote in favour of transfer in a ballot next year.

Following considerable input from residents and staff earlier in the year, it was decided the homes should be transferred to a brand new, not-for-profit, local housing organisation, which would work in partnership with an existing housing association.

Working with an established housing association means the new, local housing organisation for Merton will immediately benefit from the experience and support a partnership brings.
The council received 13 applications from housing associations interested in forming a partnership with Merton. Following a robust selection process, five housing associations were short-listed and went through to the next stage, which included in depth interviews and visits. Feedback was also sought from each association’s existing tenants and leaseholders.

Councillor Linda Scott, Cabinet Member for Housing said: “We are delighted to announce that Circle Anglia has been selected following this rigorous process. We are convinced the housing association will make an excellent partner for Merton’s new local housing organisation and will be instrumental in delivering better homes for our tenants and leaseholders.”

Ann Moyies, chairperson of Merton Tenants and Residents Federation, says: “We were involved every step of the way, from visiting each association to reviewing all applications, and were given the chance to be fully involved. We felt that the selection process was a real success and we’re confident that Circle Anglia is the association we should be working with in the future.’

Mark Rogers, Chief Executive of Circle Anglia Group, said: “We are delighted that Merton has selected us as their preferred partner. We believe we are a good cultural fit and will together form a solid partnership. Merton will be able to benefit from Circle Anglia’s strength, scale and support.”

Tenants and leaseholders will have the opportunity to find out more about the kinds of improvements the new housing organisation will be able to make in their specific areas through the council’s transfer roadshow in September.
The roadshow will be visiting 18 different locations in the borough and will have staff from both the council and the housing association on hand to provide information about the transfer and answer any questions. TPAS, the Independent Advisor for tenants and leaseholders during the consultation, will also be at the roadshow.
For more information residents can visit http://www.merton.gov.uk or telephone the council’s Better Homes Team on freephone 0800 923 0037.

Notes to editors:
The transfer of the council’s homes to a brand new, not-for-profit local housing organisation is being proposed by Merton Council because it will provide tenants with better quality homes and neighbourhoods and give them a bigger say in how they are managed.

Currently, 60% of council houses in Merton do not meet the Decent Homes Standard, a basic standard set by Government, let alone the higher standard tenants have said they want to see. The council does not have, and strict Government rules mean it is not allowed to borrow, the money needed to bring its homes up to even the basic standard.
In addition, 35p of every £1 of tenants’ rent has to go to the Government and is used to subsidise housing in other parts of the country. If transfer goes ahead, this would stop and all the money would be spent on improving homes and providing the housing service here in the borough instead.

If transfer goes ahead, it would unlock a £129 million pound programme of investment in the first 10 years to bring homes up to the standard tenants want to see and improve estates and the environment too. Visit http://www.merton.gov.uk/betterhomes for more information on the transfer consultation.

Under the proposal, 6,350 homes and 2,550 leasehold homes would be transferred to the new local housing organisation. Merton Council can only transfer its homes if the majority of tenants who vote, vote in favour for the transfer in a ballot next year.