Willmott Dixon had operated separate housing and regeneration businesses, but the two have been combined to form a single division, known as Willmott Residential.

Former Berkeley Group director Nick Simpkin will join as the division’s chief executive, with Willmott Regen divisional chief executive Andrew Telfer becoming deputy CEO.

The merger marks the next phase of Willmott Dixon’s strategy to grow its residential development and housebuilding capabilities.

The regeneration arm includes private rented sector specialist Be:here and Prime Place, which develops homes for sale.

It will combine the two brands with newly branded contract housing arm Willmott Partnership Homes.

Willmott Dixon group CEO Ric Willmott said: “The launch of Willmott Residential provides clear differentiation in the way we now present and manage the group and underlines how serious we are in growing our residential presence.”

Willmott Residential is developing homes for sale through Prime Place and private rent through Be:here, with 5,000 units on site or in planning.

The company has a long-term goal of attracting additional capital to grow the division further.

The move comes as the contractor hunts for a buyer for its support services division, which includes Willmott Dixon Partnerships and Energy Services.

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