Huntingdon housing provider Luminus announces merger talks

Luminus, Huntingdon,

Luminus, Huntingdon, - Credit: Archant

Huntingdon-based housing provider Luminus has announced it has entered into discussions regarding a possible merger.

Luminus, Huntingdon,

Luminus, Huntingdon, - Credit: Archant

The group’s board said it was “delighted” to announce it had approached Places for People, one of the UK’s largest property management companies, about Luminus becoming a subsidiary.

Should the proposed merger go ahead, the board has insisted services would continue to be delivered from Brook House, in Huntingdon, and the local management board would be retained.

Mike Forrest, chairman of the Luminus Group board, said: “Joining the Places for People Group would give Luminus the financial strength to continue to develop much-needed new homes whilst improving and enhancing the services it provides to customers in what is a challenging time for housing associations.”

Mr Forrest confirmed to The Hunts Post in July that the company was actively seeking a merger with a larger provider following the resignation of its chief executive, Chan Abraham.

Mr Abraham stepped down just months after it was revealed that a report from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) had concluded Luminus tenants in Huntingdonshire were “exposed to risk of serious harm” after it had failed to comply with gas regulation in more than 1,000 of its properties.

The HCA also found the company’s board was not “maintaining effective control over Luminus and its activities”. As a result, the HCA rated the Huntingdon-based company as non-compliant.

Most Read

Luminus, which employs about 300 staff, had a turnover of £44.7million in the year to March 2016. According to its website, Luminus provides homes for more than 45,000 people. It owns and manages more than 7,000 properties.

It started life in 2000 after the large scale purchase of homes from Huntingdonshire District Council.

Places for People currently owns or manages 182,725 homes and provides services to more than 500,000 people. It is a not-for-profit housing association and a registered provider of social housing regulated by the HCA.

By joining Places for People, the Luminus board said it would have the capability to build at least 1,000 new homes within five years in the area.

The leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, Councillor Graham Bull, said: “The council looks forward to working positively with the new organisation, and we particularly welcome the retention of a Huntingdon-based presence.

“Together, we will explore how we can work actively in partnership, to both enhance the delivery of local homes and achieve greater resilience in our communities.”