A BIG decision has been made on the future of an affordable housing association in Cirencester.

Cirencester Housing Ltd - which is currently based at the Cotswold District Council Offices in Trinity Road, Cirencester - has announced its intention to transfer all its 176 properties to West Oxfordshire’s largest affordable housing provider, Cottsway Housing.

The decision was agreed at a shareholders meeting on Thursday, October 19.

Cirencester Housing will continue to be responsible for customers’ homes and service provision until Friday, December 1, when the transfer will take place.

The five members of staff who currently work for Cirencester Housing have been given the opportunity work for Cottsway.

Nicola Miller, Cirencester Housing board chair, said: “The board, shareholders and staff members over the past 73 years have all been passionate about serving our customers, and we are proud of the role Cirencester Housing has played in their lives and the local communities we serve. 

"However, we feel the time is right to make this move to ensure that we can secure the best future for our customers. 

“We held a six-week consultation about this during the summer and I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts on the proposals. 

"It has been a pleasure to have served our customers and we are confident that Cottsway is the right organisation for our customers.” 

Maureen Margrie, Cirencester Housing’s executive director corporate, added: “We’re a very small housing association with only five members of staff and we’re extremely proud to have remained in a strong financial position, despite the nationwide challenges of the past few years. 

"But this transfer is about taking control of the future for our customers – those we have and those who would like to live in a safe and low-cost home in their local community. 

"This merger also offers our staff the opportunity to transfer to Cottsway’s workforce.

“Cottsway is a larger housing association, better equipped to take on the regulatory challenges ahead, while being able to continue to provide the best for our customers, both the standard of the homes they live in and services they receive."

Cottsway Housing currently has more than 5,300 homes and has a growing number of homes in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, including Cirencester. 

Richard Reynolds, Cottsway’s chief executive, said: “We’re delighted that Cirencester Housing have chosen us for this transfer.

"We are very familiar with Cirencester as we already have 53 homes in the town, with more in the surrounding area.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming their customers on board officially on 1 December and will be working with Cirencester Housing to ensure a smooth transition.”

Cirencester Housing staff have written to all their customers to let them know about the decision and inform them of the next steps.

Estate visits will be carried out by Cottsway before the transfer date and customers will also be sent more detailed information about the switch over.