Group Simplification Consultation in progress

Dear Resident

Proposed group consolidation of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group Limited (‘WCHG’), Parkway Green Housing Trust (‘PGHT’) and Willow Park Housing Trust Limited (‘WPHT’)

WCHG is currently considering simplifying how it and the other housing associations in the Group operate.

This letter and the attached ‘Your Questions Answered’ document tell you about what we are proposing and why, and give you a chance to have your say.

The Group currently comprises WCHG as the “parent” housing association with two housing associations as subsidiaries – PGHT and WPHT. All our residents are tenants or leaseholders (which includes shared owners) of one of the three associations.

What we are proposing is as follows:

  1. WCHG and PGHT would merge with WPHT by what is called a Transfer of Engagements (TOE) which is just a legal method of merging housing associations.
  2. This would then create one landlord for all our residents - the merged organisation will also then change its name from Willow Park Housing Trust to Wythenshawe Community Housing Group to ensure we retain the parent name.
  3. In order to undertake the TOE, the three associations must each first become a Community Benefit Society*.

*WCHG, PGHT and WPHT are currently registered charities, registered with the Charity Commission. In order for the TOE to go ahead, all three organisations would each have to convert to become a Community Benefit Society (‘CBS’), also a type of charity. In practice, this change would have no effect on our residents – the conversion to a charitable CBS is merely a means to achieving the TOE.

We are sharing our intentions with you here, and giving you more information about what this means for you. We would like your views and feedback, so please read this letter carefully.

Why are WCHG looking to consolidate the Group?

We believe that simplifying the current group structure will save money, create a more streamlined organisation and avoid duplication of work and governance structures i.e. the number of boards, committees and so on currently needed to run three associations.

In turn, this will also allow us to make savings which we can then reinvest in new housing and improving our existing homes and services.

There are fewer sources of funding for housing associations than used to be the case, but the demand for affordable housing continues to rise. Making savings and efficiencies is therefore more important than ever.

We believe we will become a more effective and efficient housing association as a result of consolidating.

What does it mean for you?

If it goes ahead, the TOE would mean that current residents of PGHT would have a change of landlord (or freeholder if you are a leaseholder/shared owner). Residents of WCHG would also technically have a change of landlord, but they would not see any difference because the name of their landlord would remain the same - Wythenshawe Community Housing Group.

The TOE would not have any effect on your tenancy or lease and your legal rights and the terms of your tenancy or lease would remain unchanged - all that would happen is that your landlord would become Willow Park Housing Trust, but renamed as Wythenshawe Community Housing Group.

If you are already a resident of WPHT, your landlord/freeholder would remain the same but with the name changed to Wythenshawe Community Housing Group.

In summary, if this proposal goes ahead and you are currently a resident of WCHG or PGHT, your landlord would change but you would not see any other changes in the short term. There would be no changes in staff who manage your home as a result of the proposal going ahead. All your legal rights would be protected including the right to buy, if you already have the right. The services you receive would not change but in the longer term, we anticipate being able to bring improvements to those services as a result of the consolidation. Current residents of WPHT would also see no changes to staff or the services you currently receive.

About this consultation

We are carrying out this consultation with our residents in line with the Standards issued by the Regulator of Social Housing. Your feedback will be shared with the WCHG, PGHT and WPHT Boards and they will take it into account before making any decision to proceed with the proposal. All residents will be informed of the decision.

Attached to this letter is a list of questions and answers that will give you more information.

How you can have your say?

This letter forms our consultation with you, and we welcome your questions and feedback. The consultation period lasts until 28 November 2019. We need to have received comments from you by then in order to take them into account.

  • Write to us at Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, Wythenshawe House, 8 Poundswick Lane, Manchester, M22 9TA – for the attention of Shahida Latif-Haider;
  • Email us via resconsultation@wchg.org.uk;
  • Call us on 0161 946 9552 and speak to Shahida Latif-Haider;
  • Fill in the feedback form on our website at www.wchg.org.uk.

 What happens next?

Once the consultation with residents is complete, we will feed back to you on the Boards’ decisions and the next steps if the decision is taken to proceed.

Yours sincerely

Shahida Latif-Haider

Assistant Director of Compliance & Assurance