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Home > About us > Cirencester Housing transfer

Cirencester Housing transfer

Cirencester Housing decided to transfer all 176 of its homes to Cottsway. We took ownership of these homes on 1 December 2023 and became responsible for their maintenance and services for the customers living in them.

Cirencester Housing decided to merge with Cottsway at a meeting held on 19 October 2023. This transfer decision came at a time when housing associations are facing increasing regulatory requirements and a challenging economic climate.

Cirencester Housing took the decision as it felt that Cottsway was better equipped to take on the regulatory challenges, while being able to provide the best for their customers. 

What this means

Cirencester customers now benefit from all Cottsway services, and our merger promises:

Transferring customers have access to:

  • All Cottsway services - including a central customer services team to help with all repair requests and support with your queries and complaints.
  • Our Community Fund to support individuals, groups and projects.
  • Independent welfare and debt advice.
  • Tenancy support and pre-tenancy support.
  • A dedicated team of Tenancy Support and Sustainment officers to assist with any tenancy matters.
  • Referrals to local food banks and other support agencies.
  • Free coaching and mentoring for customers in need of employment support or further education advice.
  • Digital inclusion through training, free loan of tech and wifi dongles.
  • Community events and clean-up days.
  • Furniture reuse scheme.
  • Join or assist Cottsway’s customer Scrutiny Group, along with other ways to give feedback via surveys and be kept informed, including access to a closed Facebook for customers and regular customer updates.
  • Training and resources to support tenant involvement and engagement.
  • Support for vulnerable customers with any welfare needs, including out of hours as required.

In addition, we will also:

  • Establish a Legacy Fund with the use of this to be determined by Cirencester customers – we will reach out to ask your views on this in early 2024.
  • Deliver planned home improvement works set out by Cirencester Housing.
  • Deliver an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least a C by 2030 and achieve NetZero requirements as set-out by the government.
  • Continue to develop in the Cirencester area.

During the first 3 months after the transfer happens on 1 December 2023, we will:

  • Start carrying out visits by a qualified surveyor to check the condition of everything and get to know your home – and you – better.
  • Plan in regular estate visits to check the condition of your estate, buildings and communal areas, and we will report any maintenance repairs required. For details of when these happen, see: Estate inspections

During spring / summer 2024, we will:

  • Carry out two community clear-up events during the Easter school holiday and May half term break. We’ll be in touch if these are happening in a location near your home. The grounds maintenance contractor will be on-hand at this event.
  • Organise a summer event in the the local community for you to come along and meet us, with fun activities for families. 
  • Contact you to ask for your views on the Legacy Fund that we have promised to deliver as part of this merger and use your feedback to shape proposals – and we will keep you informed on the progress. 

We will also:

  • Send you an update every April and October for the next 3 years to keep you informed on how we are performing overall, satisfactions with repairs, what is happening about the Cirencester Legacy Fund, and planned maintenance and component replacement promises.
  • Work with Acuity, an independent market research company, to carry out surveys to find out how you are feeling about Cottsway and the services you have received

Cirencester Housing heritage

Cirencester Housing was formed in 1949 by a small group of people who were passionate about providing homes in a post-war Britain that was facing its worst housing crisis for some time.

A new approach to supplying people with houses was needed. This led to a variety of innovative housing ideas across the country.

Despite having to overcome more challenges along the way, Cirencester Housing continued to increase the number of affordable houses by purchasing properties from the open market and obtaining money for development from the government, private lenders and by using its own reserves.

Cirencester Housing transferred its stock to Cottsway in December 2023 and everyone involved at Cirencester Housing over the years has been proud of what the organisation has achieved.

 

Timeline

After World War II, Britain was faced with its worst housing crises of the 20th century with an estimated 750,000 new homes needed across England and Wales.

A board of local people including the 8th Earl Bathurst formed Cirencester Housing Society, obtaining funds from Cirencester Urban District Council to deliver social housing. Land was subsequently donated by Colonel Chester-Master.

Cirencester Housing’s 40 ‘Easiform’ houses and two blocks of flats in Shepherd’s Way were occupied. In 1955 clothes lines were placed at the rear of the flats to prevent ‘unsightly’ washing hanging over the balconies of the flats.

Cirencester Housing makes structural changes to a home to enable a disabled resident to stay in their home, long before this was standard practice.

Cirencester Housing built and sold flats and houses on the open market to repay its debt and generate funds to deliver more social housing including; Lavender Lane, Jefferies Court and the takeover of Vyners Close from Corinium Housing.

Cirencester housing installs gas central heating and double glazing in the majority of homes to improve warmth and energy efficiency for its tenants. A new roof is installed and balconies enclosed from the weather at 71-93 Shepherd’s Way to improve warmth.

In addition, they build 4 houses on the car park of Lavender Lane.

Cirencester Housing buys bungalows in Southgate Mews and Chester Mews off the open market as funding for new projects is increasingly harder to source.

Further improvements are made to properties including: installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and creating ‘houses for life’, with walk-in showers and wet rooms.

Cirencester Housing embarked on securing exempt status, including consultation with tenants. The benefits were supported by all and Cirencester Housing gained exempt status as a charitable body under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act.

Pethera close bungalows are also built and occupied on the site of former garages.

Cirencester Housing celebrated its Diamond Anniversary. Lynne Barber, former CEO, organised a roadshow for Board members to meet tenants. In addition, each household received a celebratory gift voucher as a reaffirmation of the positive relationship between residents and Cirencester Housing over the years

Cirencester Housing joins the Gloucestershire Rural Housing Alliance and the New Futures consortium to deliver more homes in the Cotswolds.

In partnership with Hills Construction, 3 affordable homes in Stonesfield Close, Southrop are occupied, becoming the first homes Cirencester Housing provided outside of the boundaries of Cirencester Town.

At the bequest of the Cotswold District Council, Cirencester Housing purchases a home in Fairford for a local family to occupy.

Arlington Fields, Bibury homes are occupied after 8 years of working with the local community to identify and purchase land, and to secure planning permission to build 11 homes to meet the local housing need.

Churnbridge Row, North Cerney homes were occupied in 2020. Cirencester Housing started this project in 2013, in support of the parishes of North Cerney and Badgendon to deliver homes to serve the housing needs of their local communities.

Jenners Yard houses and flats built on the edge of Cricklade in Stones Farm. Residents occupied the homes in the spring and summer of 2022.

Cirencester Housing Shareholders agreed on merger proposals put forward by Cirencester's Board. They agreed that the move was right because Cottsway is better equipped to take on increasing regulatory challenges, while being able to provide the best standard of homes and services for their customers, while ensuring Cirencester Housing's social purpose continues. 

 

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