The Nottingham has today announced plans to axe its own estate agency business and enter into a strategic alliance with Belvoir Group to run its estate agency and lettings services through Belvoir’s established network of franchisees.
Under the new agreement, the vast majority of The Nottingham’s estate agency and lettings activity will transfer over to the Belvoir Group, with The Nottingham ceasing trading for new estate agency and lettings operations at the end of August.
Belvoir franchisees will take a presence in up to 11 of The Nottingham’s branches, working together in Nottingham, Leicester and Cambridgeshire.
The move will result in the closure of three standalone estate agency branches and three combined building society and estate agency branches which are more focused on estate agency at the end of July, as well as affecting a number of field-based and central support roles.
The branches set to be axed are Enderby, Syston, Western Park, Market Harborough, Chatteris and Wisbech. There are also plans to merge a small number of branches, primarily in locations where there is a very close concentration of locations.
The society is proposing to take its branch network to 48 with the merger of eight branches that have a partner branch in close proximity and where current branch presence is high. Those are: Wollaton Park, Firth Park, Carlton Hill, Groby, Netherfield, Sherwood, Ruddington and Harpenden. The society is also proposing to close its Huntingdon branch as there isn’t a suitable local branch for it to merge with.
The Nottingham has assured its members that where a branch closure is taking place, the nearest replacement building society branch that services will be merged with will be no more than five miles away.
The tie-up with Belvoir means its franchisees, trading under the Belvoir, Northwood, Newton Fallowell and Lovelle brands, will have the opportunity to operate from branches across the building society’s network.
The partnership could, in time, also enable the Nottingham to extend its reach, creating a presence for building society services, through Belvoir offices in locations it doesn’t operate in today.
David Marlow, CEO of The Nottingham, said: “After great consideration, we believe the model in our members’ best interest and for the long term success and sustainability of the society is to deliver an estate agency and lettings proposition through an expert partner.
“We already successfully use this approach for a number of services delivered to members and the strategic alliance we are undertaking with the Belvoir Group not only provides a continuation of service to the majority of our members, but brings greater opportunities to work closely together to boost the reach of our combined national networks.
“Whilst the transfer of our operations to the Belvoir Group marks the end of an era of us being our own estate agency, we’re confident it’s a positive move for the society and our members.”
Dorian Gonsalves, CEO of the Belvoir Group, added: “This strategic alliance represents an exciting and mutually beneficial opportunity for both the Belvoir Group and The Nottingham, and is expected to pave the way for further joint initiatives in the future.
“This strategic alliance allows our group brands, to provide all Nottingham members with a seamless estate agency service, either from our shared or stand-alone locations throughout the UK. This alliance also enables our franchisees to open in new locations, further increasing the Group’s footprint.
“Franchisees within the Belvoir Group will have an opportunity to offer The Nottingham’s members high quality estate agency services, either from existing building society branches or from Belvoir’s stand-alone offices throughout the UK.
“In the first instance this opportunity will be extended to a number of our franchisees to increase their footprint by taking a presence in up to 11 of The Nottingham’s branches and working together in Nottingham, Leicester and Cambridgeshire.”