OUTGOING Wirral Council chief executive Graham Burgess has been appointed chairman of a newly-formed Northwest housing group.

Mr Burgess, who surprised councillors in Wirral last month when he announced his early retirement, is to join the new “Torus” organisation.

The association will be formed as an “umbrella” group overseeing social housing landlords the Helena Partnership in St Helens, and Warrington-based Golden Gates Housing Trust.

When the arrangement is finalised, Torus would own 22,000 homes, employ around 1,000 people and have a joint turnover of £100m, making it one of the largest housing groups in the Northwest.

A spokeswoman for the group said Mr Burgess will begin work in April and will be acting in a non-executive capacity on a part-time basis.

Mr Burgess said: “The opportunity to chair Torus appealed to me straight away.

“Torus has ambitious plans that will cut right across the region.

“The size, scale and vision of what I have seen so far are really impressive.”

Joining him at the top of the new organisation will be Rob Young, Helena’s current chief executive, who has been appointed group chief executive designate of Torus.

Mr Young said: “It’s fantastic we have been able to attract a candidate of Graham’s calibre to Torus.

“His track record speaks for itself and gives us a fantastic base on which to build a first-class team and organisation.

“I’m really looking forward to working alongside Graham right from the start of the Torus journey.”

Torus is committed to building 1,500 new social housing properties over the next five years.