HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED FOR AVANT HOMES?
Commenced employment with Avant in May 2018. I have been made to feel extremely welcome since I joined and so it feels much longer!
PREVIOUS LAND EXPERIENCE?
I am a Chartered Town Planner having worked in both planning consultancy and housebuilder companies across the North of the UK over a 15 year period. My land experience varies from the submission of a planning application for the erection of a single dwelling in the Greenbelt to identifying, promoting and submitting proposals for new Garden Village Extensions of c2000 dwellings, accompanied by the associated infrastructure (new schools, community facilities etc). I also have c10 years’ experience in dealing directly with landowners and land contract agreements, including the exercise and purchase of strategic land at the earliest possible opportunity.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WORK FOR AVANT?
Avant’s unprecedented ethos of Good, Better, Different sets the business aside from other mainstream developers. Avant are at the forefront of everything they do, including from the identification and progression of early planning challenge opportunities, their no-nonsense approach to buying land and exercising Option Agreements, to the quality of the finished new homes on site. Avant truly are a housebuilder like no other.
DESCRIBE A TYPICAL WORKING DAY
Working in land and planning, does not have a typical day. That is my main attraction to this role and Avant. Every day is different and includes new opportunities and challenges. The housebuilding industry is unique, and there are few industries where you can leave a legacy through your own personal involvement in the creation of new communities and much needed homes for families, which will remain in situ for centuries.
WHAT GETS YOU UP IN THE MORNING?
Knowing that I work for a company which values the work that I do, and which has a great team ethic, drive to succeed and to be the best at what we do.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A NEW STRATEGIC LAND ACQUISITION?
As a Town Planner, the most exciting strategic land opportunities are those which include a planning challenge on housing requirements and/or detailed promotions through Local Plans, or those which require collaborations with a number of parties. These land acquisitions are never easy and can take time, but I am confident in the proven abilities of the Avant Regional Strategic Land teams to take both ‘simple’ and difficult sites through the development process. The sense of achievement at the end of such projects, when the Avant banners are on display, is such a great feeling for all involved.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING PIECE OF LAND ACQUIRED BY AVANT?
It is difficult to identify the most interesting piece of land as all land is entirely different. However, in my opinion, the most interesting are ones where communities are initially against our proposals, but then during the consultation process and through active engagement they see the quality of the proposals and get a clearer understanding of the benefits which new development can facilitate i.e., education improvements, new highway improvements, job creation, local trade etc and their opinions change. It is always interesting to see a proportion of the community become more supportive of the development as time goes on.
WHAT’S THE MOST CHALLENGING PLANNING APPLICATION YOU’VE BEEN INVOLVED WITH?
By the nature of my role in Strategic Land, most applications are challenging. The secret is to ensure that you have the right team to progress robust planning applications and to act when the time is right. Timing is everything in Strategic Land and submitting applications at the right time can get sites developed years in advance of when they would otherwise be released for development.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS?
Securing a job with Avant at the time when their growth aspirations are stronger than ever. This gives me the rare opportunity to be actively contributing to that growth through the creation of new communities in locations where people can achieve their aspirations of owning their own homes, close to their families and friends.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE?
The future for Avant in Strategic Land is exciting. The aim is to become the housebuilder of choice when it comes to finding a development partner for promoting and delivering strategic land. The latest growth plan seeks to expand with the additional of two further regions. I am proud to have a key role in ensuring that the Company has a strong land bank, capable of supporting the continued growth of existing and those new regions for the long term.