Two English housing associations agree to merge

Axiom Housing Association chief executive, Alan Lewin, and Longhurst Group chief executive, Julie Doyle

Axiom Housing Association chief executive, Alan Lewin, and Longhurst Group chief executive, Julie Doyle

Midlands housing associations Longhurst Group and Axiom have agreed to merge to create a 21,300 home organisation.

Longhurst Group, which currently owns and manages over 19,000 properties across the Midlands and East of England, said the new partnership with Peterborough-based Axiom Housing Association will help it deliver 700 new homes a year and maintain its focus on providing comprehensive care and support services.

The agreement was formally signed off by shareholders last week and will see Axiom join the group on 3 July, 2017.

The partnership is expected to grow the group’s turnover to over £160 million within five years and lead to a 30% operating margin.

Longhurst Group chief executive, Julie Doyle, said: “The most satisfying aspect of this partnership is that it will help us to deliver exactly what the country needs. We believe that it is integral for housing associations to not only build more homes, but to ensure that people have access to the best quality care.

“There is a greater pressure for the sector to do more for our customers and we feel that by working together, with stronger finances, greater resources and shared knowledge, we can provide even better services.

“We have already established a successful working relationship with Axiom and our partnership as part of the Blue Skies development consortium has seen us deliver 293 new homes together.

“Axiom have an excellent reputation for providing first-class care and supported housing services and this approach is aligned with the Group’s vision. We will use this expertise to ensure we remain a leading provider of housing, care and support services and continue to make a positive difference to our communities.”

The partnership means that Longhurst Group, which currently comprises Longhurst & Havelok (L&H) Homes, Spire Homes, Friendship Care and Housing and Keystone – the organisation’s commercial development arm, is responsible for over 22,000 properties across almost 50 local authorities.

Axiom owns more than 2,300 homes across Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. It provides housing and services to over 5,500 people and employs more than 300 people.

After Axiom joins the group, its current chief executive, Alan Lewin, has chosen to step down from his role and leave the organisation after eight years at the helm.

“This is a crucially important milestone in the history of Axiom,” Alan said.

“The association is currently celebrating its 50th year and I am confident that joining Longhurst Group will guarantee another 50 years of excellent housing and care provision.

“While this partnership will help both Axiom and Longhurst Group to enhance our profile nationally, the services we provide locally will also be improved. The Axiom board are 100 per cent committed to this partnership and I strongly believe that joining Longhurst Group can only benefit our customers and the communities we serve.

“As well as making the business stronger financially, it will lead to greater efficiency and improved services. Together, we can do more to build a wider range of affordable homes for people living in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and beyond.

“Our shared contacts and expertise will enable us to have greater influence locally and regionally, and therefore deliver more to where it is needed the most.”