BUSINESS bosses spearheading the planned merger of two housing associations in our area have been revealed.

The top team to oversee the merger of Braintree-based Greenfields Community Housing and Colne Housing, in Colchester has been put together.

Emma Palmer will be the chief executive of the new organisation, while Sara Thakkar is deputy chief executive.

The housing associations announced plans to join forces last July.

The merger – planned for later this year – would see them managing 12,000 homes in Essex and Suffolk.

The proposals will go before board members this spring.

Bosses say the move would enable £500million of investment over five years to help meet the region’s shortage of new affordable homes, as well as improvements for existing housing and communities.

The chief executives of both housing associations have written to residents to let them know that their homes and services are not affected by the proposal.

Mrs Palmer, who is currently chief executive of Greenfields, said: “Greenfields and Colne are proposing that we could achieve more by working with our residents and communities to provide affordable homes and modern services tailored to their needs.

"Together we would make a great team.”

Mrs Thakkar, who is chief executive of Colne Housing, said: “After working closely with Greenfields, residents, our staff and board members over the last year, I am really pleased to be able to deliver our ambitious shared vision.”

Greenfields owns and runs nearly 9,000 homes in Essex and Suffolk, including properties for rent, shared ownership and leasehold.

It operates one of only four community gateway associations in the country, giving residents the chance to make key decisions about their homes and services.

Colne Housing has properties spread across nine local authority areas, including Braintree, Maldon, Uttlesford, Chelmsford, Colchester, Tendring and Babergh.