Essex housing associations in merger talks select designate leaders

Essex housing associations in merger talks select designate leaders
7th January 2020 James Calnan

New designate leaders have been appointed to oversee a proposed merger which would create a leading Community Gateway Association for the East of England.

In July 2019, we announced that we were exploring co-creating a new organisation with Colne Housing, a 3,000-home association based in Colchester.

Greenfields was selected after Colne issued a pioneering proposition asking others to partner with them to create long-term solutions to the housing challenges in the East of England.

The Boards of Essex-based Colne Housing and Greenfields Community Housing have now created a top designate team. They will present the full business case to merge to both Boards this Spring.

Emma Palmer will be the Chief Executive of the new organisation, which will be formed with a new strategy, values and brand to be the largest Community Gateway Association in England.

Sara Thakkar will be the organisation’s Deputy Chief Executive. She will be responsible for the growth and ambition of the new organisation, building on the work Colne started in 2016 to create a bigger, better, bolder housing association for the East of England.

Hattie Llewelyn-Davies has been selected Chair designate of the shadow board and Dale Butcher is the Vice Chair.

Emma Palmer, currently Chief Executive of Greenfields, said: “Greenfields and Colne are proposing that we could achieve more by working with our residents and communities to provide affordable homes and modern services tailored to their needs. Together we would make a great team.”

Sara Thakkar, currently Chief Executive of Colne, said: “After working closely with Greenfields, residents, our staff and board members over the last year, I am really pleased to be able to deliver our ambitious shared vision. Our organisations’ strengths will combine to complement each other as we co-create a new Community Gateway Association.”

If the merger goes ahead, it would enable a five-year £500m investment in new affordable homes and greater opportunities to strengthen the ‘resident voice’ and empower communities to thrive.

The chief executives of both housing associations have written to residents to let them know that their homes and services are not affected by the proposal.