Poplar HARCA board visit Landmark Pinnacle at Canary Wharf. Image by Poplar HARCA.
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Poplar HARCA and Tower Hamlets Community Housing boards agree to merger

Around 3,000 homes managed by Tower Hamlets Community Housing to be affected as they merge with Poplar HARCA

The boards of Poplar HARCA and Tower Hamlets Community Housing (THCH) have approved a merger scheduled to be completed in spring 2024. The two housing associations manage a combined 13,000 homes.

Poplar HARCA primarily operates homes in Poplar, while THCH in Bethnal Green and Shadwell.

The two housing associations announced the potential merger in June this year. They are anticipating legal completion in spring 2024, pending approval by the Regulator of Social Housing.

Of the two housing associations, Poplar HARCA is larger, owning and managing around 10,000 homes. THCH owns and manages over 3,000. 

The merger will see THCH transfer its homes and buildings to Poplar HARCA. 

The approval comes after a twelve-week consultation process. A total of 1,098 residents for Poplar HARCA and THCH responded to a survey on the proposed merger. In total 8% of Poplar HARCA residents, 786 people, responded with 60% positive, 14% neutral, and 26% negative.

For THCH, 312 people responded representing 10% of residents. Of those 48% were positive, 13% neutral, and 38% negative.

THCH also said it addressed concerns from some of its residents who submitted separate petitions opposing the merger.

After the announcement of the potential merger, some THCH residents expressed concerns about how the merger would impact them. They signed petitions and staged protests claiming to be experiencing worsening conditions and rising costs.

In March of this year, the Regulator of Social Housing found that THCH was unable to meet the costs of its day-to-day operating activities and repair liabilities.

In February this year, Poplar HARCA had its credit assessment downgraded by financial services company Moody’s saying the outlook was ‘negative’.

Poplar HARCA’s chair and board will lead the merged housing association. Its chief executive, Steve Stride, will continue in his post. Anita Khan, the chief executive of THCH will become the deputy chief executive of the merged association.

Steve Stride said: ‘We’ll continue to talk with residents to understand their priorities and concerns and deliver on what they tell us.’ 

Anita Khan added ‘Both organisations have worked to ensure that a merger will not only improve services for residents, but also enable more investment into homes and community initiatives.’

If you enjoyed this article try reading: New 952 home development approved for Poplar, despite concerns about affordable housing along A12

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