Newport pre-fab housing group could be taken over
12:34pm Thursday 13th February 2014 in News
A SMALL Newport housing association that redeveloped the city’s pre-fab housing stock could be set to become part of a larger group.
The Newport Housing Trust has agreed to become part of the Seren Group since its redevelopment work was completed.
It will be down to Newport’s councillors to decide whether to approve the partnership between the trust and Seren. Newport Housing Trust was set up in March 2001 to take on the city council’s pre-fab housing and redevelopment of the properties.
The council has remained a founder member of the trust, holds voting rights and has representatives on its board.
According to a document to Newport council cabinet, the trust has found it increasingly difficult to operate effectively as a small, stand-alone registered social landlord (RSL) as it doesn’t have the capacity and resources of other larger housing associations.
Therefore the trust voted unanimously to explore options for entering into a strategic partnership with another RSL to boost the quality of services provided for tenants.
Seren was selected as a preferred partner but the larger group’s offer was made subject to the trust becoming a subsidiary of Seren.
To allow this the council must relinquish its rights in relation to the trust as a member and at a board level.
Cllr Bob Bright told a cabinet meeting that the move was “not entirely how we would have wanted it to be, but in the circumstances it’s a matter open to debate.”
Cabinet were asked by officers to recommend to the full council for the partnership agreements to be approved, and that current council nominees who are interested in serving on the new board be nominated to Seren to be appointed as independent board members.
But the group of senior Labour councillors didn’t state a preference and left the matter to a future meeting of full council.
Amanda Davies, chief executive of Seren Group, said: “We are very excited about our future partnership with the Newport Housing Trust. The Seren Group’s plan is to develop together t homes and housing services “Our aim is to launch the partnership on April 1, with the agreement of Newport City Council and the Welsh Government.”