A NEW independent chairman has been appointed to lead a social enterprise which will run assets worth more than £30m in an area of Chester.

Hugh Evans has been appointed chairman of the Blacon Asset Management Company, which will oversee the £18.8m regeneration of The Parade, where more than 35 affordable homes will be built alongside retail, community and health facilities.

The new chairman will be assisted by a vice-chairman, who will be a community representative.

This initiative has been developed by Chester & District Housing Trust (CDHT), Cheshire West & Chester Council (CWaC), Cheshire West Primary Care Trust and the Blacon Alliance.

There will be extensive consultation with stakeholders this summer with a view to commencing building work on The Parade in spring 2012.

Mr Evans, of Bebington, Wirral, who was deputy chief executive of Riverside Housing Association in Liverpool from 1984 until his retirement in 2004, holds an MBA from the Open University.

He oversaw Riverside’s growth from 2,000 homes when he started in 1976 to more than 40,000 homes.

Chief executive of CDHT John Denny said: “Hugh comes with considerable experience and obvious commitment to the area of community regeneration.

“Hugh has served on the boards of four of the largest and most successful housing organisations in the North West.”

“In addition, he has done much work relating to the development of social enterprises and his application and interview evidenced an excellent understanding of the challenges involved in developing an asset management company which will generate surplus funds for investment in Blacon.”

Hugh Evans added: “This is an exciting opportunity to work with partners to make a real difference. I have a strong belief if local people are empowered to act for the benefit of their community, areas like Blacon can thrive.”

The key function of the new asset management company is to ensure commercial success which will generate surplus revenue to deliver localised services through the management of services, the public realm, housing and retail stock in Blacon.

It is intended the company will have responsibility for the management of an asset base that ultimately could exceed £30m, including the new Blacon Parade development.