Stonewater and Greenoak Housing Association have agreed an intention to enter into a partnership, where to begin with, Greenoak will expand its operations as a subsidiary of Stonewater and later, will become part of the Stonewater group.

The announcement follows discussions between their respective boards who believe the partnership “has potential to deliver more sustainable new homes, expand their existing customer offer and drive the net zero agenda as leaders in the sector.”

While details of the deal are still being agreed, it’s envisaged the partnership would mean:

  • Greenoak becoming a subsidiary of Stonewater for two years, then becoming part of the Stonewater group while maintaining a regional operational base in Woking
  • Transferring housing management of around 600 Stonewater homes into Greenoak management, on a phased basis
  • Establishing a new, national Centre of Excellence for zero carbon development and retrofit, which will pioneer exemplar projects, standards and processes to achieve genuine sustainability
  • Expansion of direct service provision and apprenticeship opportunities through new pilot schemes to enhance asset management and support the development of much needed trades skills, particularly to drive delivery and operation of zero carbon projects
  • The creation of a new ‘future-proof’ brand for selected developments, to accelerate the provision of energy efficient and sustainable homes.

Nicholas Harris, Chief Executive at Stonewater, believes the partnership will bring a range of benefits: “There is a strong, natural fit between Greenoak and Stonewater, particularly in the areas of social ethos, customer care and commitment to the net zero agenda.

“With so many challenges facing the sector, not least the on-going housing crisis, post-Brexit impacts on supply chains and costs, the climate emergency and the need to drive up customer standards, we need to be agile in our response and the partnership will enhance what we do now, as well as what we want to do in the future.”

Chief Executive, Diana Kingdon, added: “We have always been about providing good quality homes that are both affordable and sustainable. Greenoak has been at the forefront since winning several national awards for sustainability and innovation in this field, all demonstrating a passive, fabric-focussed approach.

“The need for more sustainable homes and enabling ‘greener’ living has become ever more pressing to achieve the 2050 net zero carbon target. We need an urgent response to the current housing and cost of living crises, and we could contribute more strongly by working together to provide more energy-efficient affordable homes.

“Joining with Stonewater will enable us to scale up and play a significant role in the sector’s contribution to the emerging ‘green economy’, by create genuinely sustainable homes and communities, where they are needed most.”

While the partnership has been agreed in principle, talks will now continue to agree more detail, including due diligence, lender consents and resident consultation, with a final decision expected towards the end of the year.