Peterborough housing association merger is expected to create more homes and jobs in city

More than 300 staff at a Peterborough housing association are facing a new future as the organisation merges with a rival group.

Wednesday, 31st May 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 10:04 pm

Long established Axiom Housing Association, of Cottesmore Close, Netherton, which owns more than 2,300 homes across Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, is to merge with Longhurst Group, which owns and manages 19,000 properties across the Midlands and East of England.

Bosses say the merger will help Axiom to deliver 250 new homes in the area each year.

Axiom’s chief executive Alan Lewin said: “The merger will allow us to provide more homes and with it create more jobs in Peterborough.

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“We have fully consulted with staff all the way down the line and they have been very positive about it, and they feel it will provide more opportunities.”

While the number of care and support services jobs are likely to increase, cuts to back office roles have not been ruled out as efficiencies are made following the merger, which takes place on July 3.

Mr Lewin, who is also chairman of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s housing associations group, will leave Axiom after eight years at the helm.

Axiom was founded 50 years ago and provides housing and services to more than 5,500 people including services for vulnerable people.

The merger will create one of the largest housing groups in the Midlands with turnover expected to grow to more than £160 million in five years.

Mr Lewin said: “This is a crucially important milestone in the history of Axiom.

“While this partnership will help both Axiom and Longhurst Group to enhance our profile nationally, the services we provide locally will also be improved.

“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.”

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.”

Axiom says it is helping to combat the housing crisis in Cambridgeshire, where the average house price is more than 10 times the average salary and the average cost of private rent is £785 a month.

According to National Housing Federation research, an increasing number of people are being priced out of home ownership and turning to the more affordable options provided by Axiom and the rest of Longhurst Group.