Housing Groups Riding the Storm

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Byline: By JEZ DAVISON

TEES Valley-based housing associations have escaped the social housing regulator's "watch list" of financially troubled companies.

The Tenant Services Authority said yesterday it was scrutinising the finances of six of the country's 250 housing associations, amid fears that the credit crunch was putting extra pressure on their cash flow.

Chief executive Peter Marsh said although these companies were "not in intensive care", they were being "subject to more regulatory scrutiny than normal" - including a weekly analysis of their cash flow.

But Tees-based housing groups moved quickly to confirm they were not on the regulator's troubleshooting radar.

Housing Hartlepool said its business plan was "financially viable" and it had "fundable" plans to increase its supply of new homes.

Middlesbrough-based Fabrick Housing Group - which owns 15,000 properties spread between Erimus Housing and Tees Valley Housing - said it was "in a very strong position".

Chris Smith, managing director of Erimus Housing, said: "We are pressing forward with our development programmes.

"We feel that now more than ever we need to continue building homes for rent because of the increase in people wishing to access the housing market."

Demand for homes has outstripped supply because cost pressures have forced developers to cease construction of new homes - putting in jeopardy Government plans to build three million more affordable homes in Britain by 2020. …