A HOUSING association that was heavily criticised by its regulator has appointed four new board members.

Cottsway Housing Association, based in Witney, had its governance and viability ratings downgraded by the Homes and Communities Agency last month.

It also had to hand over £6.3m of grants for 289 affordable homes in West Oxfordshire to a rival housing association, GreenSquare.

Cottsway said earlier this month that it was in discussions with GreenSquare about a possible merger. A decision will be made next month.

The new appointments aim to “go some way to addressing the regulator’s concerns” and improve the association’s governance, a spokesman said.

The appointments are Margaret Dodwell, managing director of Guinness South and previous finance director and managing director of Midsummer Housing Association; Richard Purchase, a former owner and chief executive of HR and consultancy firm Insight; Keith Reeve, who provides consultancy to Nationwide Building Society on finance restructuring; and Colin Sherriff, a former executive and non-executive director of housing associations.

The new board members replace John Baron, Robert Brown, Jeremy Burgess and Glenn Loftus, who stepped down after the regulator ruling.

Cottsway is also looking to replace board member David Hadrill, who stepped down for health reasons.