Buckles launches social housing ‘alliance’
PETERBOROUGH solicitors Buckles has launched The BP Alliance creating one of the largest teams of social housing lawyers in the East of England.
It will bring together its social housing litigation team and Perrins Solicitors LLP, which has long experience in advising housing associations on site acquisitions and on the development of financing and construction of social housing projects. The new team will service all the legal needs of the 105 housing associations based in the Eastern re- gion which operate a stock of 208,000 homes.
Buckles’ head of social housing Gail Sykes, who specialises in advising on disputes in the social housing sector, said: “This alliance allows us to pack the punch of London firms without losing the excellent service levels that come from our local connections in Peterborough. Housing associations will find that it is far more efficient for them to go to one team for all their needs.”
Fred Perrin, managing partner of Perrins, with a long experience of the social housing movement, said: “Housing associations in Peterborough face real obstacles from a planning system that encourages nimbyism. The BP Alliance will be able to provide unrivalled advice to housing associations as they try to ensure that legal obstacles do not get in their way when they are carrying out the vital work of developing more affordable homes.”
The new team is being set up to assist housing associations as they attempt to alleviate the chronic shortage of housing in areas such as Peterborough. Figures from the National Housing Federation show the chronic shortage of housing in the local area – with 8,549 households on the waiting list. In Peterborough average house prices are £160,000 - 8.2 times the average salary. It is estimated by the National Housing Federation that a gross income of £41,000 would be needed to get a 90 per cent mortgage on an average property in the area. This is more than double the average income Peterborough income of £19,474.
The alliance comes at a turbulent time for housing associations in the Eastern region as they face the prospect of new legislation that gives local communities a stronger right to veto social housing schemes in their area. They will need effective legal support to help ensure that their construction plans aren’t thwarted. At the same time, housing associations in the region could face new legal responsibilities for the first time to allow social tenants to transfer their tenancies to another region.
Buckles Solicitors LLP (Buckles) is one of the strongest commercial property practices in East Anglia with clients in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, while Hertfordshire-based Perrins has clients across the region including Aldwyck Housing Group, Jephson Homes Housing Association, and the Longhurst Group.
BP ALLIANCE: The new team of Colin Bosher, Amanda Miller, Michael Rabbett, Fred Perrin, James Coppinger, Colleen Gostick, Christina Merrington and Gail Sykes.