Aster group hires new director to drive property investment

Housing association Aster Group has appointed a new director to lead its £571m property investment programme.

Gary Bellenger joins from A2Dominion as property investment director and will take responsibility for co-ordinating investment in upgrades, maintenance and repairs across Aster’s 34,500-home portfolio and exploring smart and sustainable technology to improve customer experience and reduce environmental impact.

He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Building and has nearly 25 years of experience in asset management and investment in the social housing sector.

Gary said: “Aster has put delivering more for its customers at the heart of its strategy and is investing significantly in improvements to its homes. The drive and expertise to do this is already abundant in the business and I see my role as ensuring those efforts are focused and achieve the best possible outcomes for customers, crucially shaped by their feedback.

“The need for affordable housing has arguably never been greater. The economic impact of the pandemic, the cost-of-living hike, and ever-rising prices in the private housing market are creating huge challenges for lower-income households. Aster’s mission is not just to supply enough housing, but to ensure that homes are of good quality. I’m excited to start playing my part in achieving that.”

Emma O’Shea, chief operating officer of Aster Group, said: “Ensuring the best for our customers requires a robust approach to asset management and investment, and Gary brings a wealth of experience in this space.

“It is vital that we continue to provide safe, well-maintained homes, keep pace with the changing needs of our customers and ensure we reach our target of all homes being rated EPC C or above by 2025. Our experienced team, coupled with the financial strength of the business, puts us in a good position to continue meeting these expectations.”

Aster owns and manages more than 34,500 homes across the south of England, with a portfolio that includes social and affordable rent and shared ownership homes. The housing association has an A+ credit rating from S&P Global Ratings and in January had its G1 and V1 ratings for governance reaffirmed by the Regulator of Social Housing.


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