Irvine Housing Association (IHA)
is to join Riverside, one of the UK's leading providers of
affordable housing, in an agreement set to bring improved services
for tenants and more new homes.
Shareholders of the Irvine-based association
voted overwhelmingly to enter a 'constitutional partnership' to
become a subsidiary of the Liverpool-based association. Of the 336
votes cast by shareholders – 93% were in favour of the deal.
Overall, 92% of IHA shareholders voted. Two thirds of shareholders
are IHA tenants.
Under the terms of the deal, IHA will gain a
grant of £1.5 million to help redevelop an estate in Kilwinning,
Ayrshire, and the ability to access better borrowing facilities
than it could as a stand-alone organisation. The association will
also be able to save money by sharing back-office services with
IHA decided to look for a partner two years
ago to increase its capacity to continue improving services and
build more homes in the current economic climate. Options were
carefully considered, with shareholders, tenants and employees
having the opportunity to visit Riverside’s offices and communities
and speak to others who have previously joined the
Work will now begin to
improve the Pennyburn estate in Kilwinning, which was prioritised
by tenants for action, where blocks of unpopular flats will be
demolished and replaced with new housing. Customers in all areas
will see improvements including an estate caretaking service in
Drongan and acceleration of major improvement works.
Tommy Farrell, Chairman of
the Irvine Housing Association, said: "Riverside is very focused on
tenants and local services, which is the main reason we picked them
as a partner. This is fantastic news for tenants, the wider
community and future generations. This partnership will ensure a
vibrant future and help breathe new life into our
Irvine Housing Association Chief Executive,
Paul Hillard, added: “The entire process has been in full
consultation with our tenants and shareholders. We are looking
forward to working alongside an organisation who we know share our
values, passion and drive.”
Riverside Chair Paul Brant said that the
organisation is looking forward to welcoming Irvine to the group:
"This is our first activity in Scotland, and we are looking forward
to working with IHA to share best practice in tenant services and
to learn more about how we can contribute to the housing community
north of the border."
Irvine Housing Association will officially
join Riverside in the autumn.