L&Q sees THT as a gateway to the North West and a key to delivering its ambitious plan for 100,000 new homes over the next 10 years. The transformational deal will see Trafford Housing Trust (THT) becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of L&Q, and unlock significant investment and growth in the number of social homes in the North West to meet local needs.
It is anticipated that the acquisition will complete in June 2019, subject to due diligence, customer consultation and the development of a five-year business plan.
The acquisition of THT by L&Q will build on a highly successful joint venture partnership that has already seen 679 housing starts with a further 1,493 in the pipeline since it was launched in April 2017. This new agreement will unlock a further £4bn of investment in the North West by combining the capabilities and resources of the two housing associations to create 20,000 new homes and strong communities over the next 10 years. At least half of these homes will be affordable.
Around £2m will be put aside to improve the standard of THT’s existing homes, as they come up for re-let, in-line with L&Q’s Home Standard. This includes modernising, re-painting and fitting carpets. This is part of L&Q’s £225m annual investment in existing homes.
L&Q and THT will work closely with local authorities in the North-west to ensure that both new and existing homes meet local needs, including homes for the over 55s and for those with specialist needs.
Over time, there will be savings by removing duplication and increasing efficiencies. However, the acquisition is focused on investment and growth and there will not be any compulsory redundancies as a direct result of the acquisition.
While London and the South East will continue to be a major area of operation and growth, L&Q has been carefully expanding its geographical focus. Through this acquisition, L&Q will gain access to the North West through THT’s local knowledge, relationships and strong reputation for innovation and delivery. THT will benefit from the scale, financial strength and resilience of one of the largest and most successful charitable housing providers in the country, with unparalleled access to strategic land. THT’s existing management team will continue to be responsible for local service delivery, accountable to the THT Board.
A newly-created North West Foundation will invest in local communities to help the most vulnerable in society, including projects to tackle poverty and support people experiencing domestic violence, mental health and debt problems, as well as improving the lives of the region’s aging population.
The Foundation will also fund projects to help young people and the hard-to-employ back into work, as well as increasing skills amongst THT’s own workforce through an L&Q Academy in the North West, mirroring its successful work in London and the South East.
As part of the acquisition, THT CEO Matthew Gardiner, who has led the company since it was established 15 years ago, will step down and be succeeded by current Acting Chief Executive Larry Gold. Matthew has spent the past few months on secondment as Head of Ideation for L&Q Group, leading innovation projects, and this will become permanent. THT Chairman, Edna Robinson, will join L&Q’s Group Board to help shape future strategy.
Commenting on the announcement, L&Q Group Chief Executive David Montague said: “L&Q has an ambitious plan to build 100,000 quality new homes over the next 10 years to tackle the national housing crisis. We see THT as a gateway to the North West, an area of outstanding growth that needs more high quality, affordable homes.
“We are excited by the opportunity to invest in the North West with a partner that shares our social purpose, values and ambition, has excellent local knowledge and a strong reputation for innovation and delivery.”
Larry Gold, Acting Chief Executive of THT, added: “This is a unique creation that will be built on true partnership and the strength of our vision, and the people who will deliver it. As part of L&Q, we’ll create significant social impact in the North West at scale and pace and strive to find solutions to the national housing crisis.
“We will deliver an extensive programme of new development and regeneration projects, as well as improving homes and services for our existing customers.”
Pictured above from left to right is Aubrey Adams (Chairman of the Group Board, L&Q), Larry Gold (Acting Chief Executive, THT), David Montague (Group Chief Executive, L&Q), Edna Robinson (Chair, THT).