ANDOVER'S MP has said that the 'welfare and care' of residents must be a priority in discussion surrounding the merger between a disability charity and housing association.

As previously reported, housing association Aster has announced that the disability charity Enham Trust is set to join its group, subject to consultation and final approval in the autumn.

Enham Trust’s care home facilities recently received an ‘inadequate’ rating from the Care Quality Commision, and pledged to improve. 

READ MORE: Disability charity Enham Trust to merge with Aster housing association

Reacting to the news, Cllr Phil North, leader of Test Valley Borough Council, said he was "surprised and dissappointed", said he would be calling for an "urgent meeting" with the Trust, and urged residents to contact him with any feedback.

Now, Andover's MP, Kit Malthouse, has echoed his surprise, and said the 'welfare and care' of Enham residents must be the main focus in discussion going forward, despite his previously 'challenging' relationship with Aster.

Reacting to the news, Mr Malthouse said: “This announcement has come as a surprise to me and I'm sure to many Enham residents not least since I met the Chair of Trustees and Interim Chief Exec just a few weeks ago.

"I have been working closely with the Friends and Family Group at Enham over the past year in the light of the CQC concerns, and I will of course be consulting with them and the residents on this matter.

READ MORE: Cllr Phil North reacts to proposed merger between Enham Trust and Aster Group

"While I know Aster well from their wider work in Andover, our relationship has at times been a challenging one and I will be interested to know how they think they will improve things for the people who live under Enham’s care. Their welfare and future must be our primary concern."

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