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February 4, 2021

STEPNELL TAKES ‘CENTRE STAGE’ FOLLOWING COMPLETION OF HISTORIC COSTUME WORKSHOP CONSTRUCTION AND RESTORATION

NATIONAL construction partner Stepnell has recently completed the multi-million-pound redevelopment phase of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) Costume Workshop in Stratford-upon-Avon. The renovation of the Grade II listed site, which required retention and heritage remedial works and was valued at more than £6 million, included the stockroom and costume cottage

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DLA Piper appoints Overbury to deliver £4.7m office fit out

Global law firm DLA Piper has appointed Overbury to deliver a state of the art fit out of its new regional offices in Birmingham. National fit-out and refurbishment specialist Overbury will be working alongside architect TP Bennett and property and construction consultants Ridge to deliver the 40,000 sq ft fit

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SO Modular invests in new talent after uplift in demand

Timber frame construction specialist SO Modular has created two new jobs on the back of an uplift in demand, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. The Neath-based company has brought in two new apprentices and partnered with Cyfle and Neath Port Talbot College to give them

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Green light for 4,500 homes near Cambridge

Waterbeach New Town East is set to get a further 4,500 new homes after South Cambridgeshire district council granted outline planning approval a few days ago. The new development is five miles north of Cambridge and comprises a mixture of one-bed flats and family homes of up to five beds

Read More »

GRE ASSETS LAUNCH FIRST NEW HOMES AT NENE WHARF, PETERBOROUGH

Oxford-based property developer, GRE Assets has officially launched the sales of the first apartments at its exciting new riverside community at Nene Wharf, Peterborough. Offering high-end design and a prime location overlooking the River Nene, but at reasonable prices, the 128 one and two bedroom apartments will raise the standard

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ACQUISITION OF MEXBORO CONCRETE TAKES LGW GROUP TO OVER £25 MILLION

One of the South’s leading construction sector groups, The LGW Group, has recently acquired Mexboro Concrete based in Paignton, Devon. Trading for over forty years and specialising in the manufacture of pre-cast concrete, the recent acquisition of Mexboro takes the LGW Group’s combined annual turnover to over £25 million. The

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Platform Housing Group announces two new appointments to its Senior Leadership team

A Midlands-based social landlord has appointed two new members to its senior leadership team.  Platform Housing Group has welcomed Gary Bell as Transformation Director and Nathan Barson as Procurement Director.  These latest appointments will further strengthen the Group’s management structure by adding to its existing diverse and robust experience.  Gary has spent his entire career working in the

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Rippon Homes Employee Transitions From Sales to Land

An employee of Mansfield-based Rippon Homes has celebrated having transitioned from the developer’s sales team to its land department. Sophie Hopkinson, who lives in Lincoln, moved from her role as Sales Negotiator at Rippon’s Roman Meadow development in Welton to take up her new position as an Land Buyer. Having

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Latest Issue

BDC 317 : Jun 2024

February 4, 2021

STEPNELL TAKES ‘CENTRE STAGE’ FOLLOWING COMPLETION OF HISTORIC COSTUME WORKSHOP CONSTRUCTION AND RESTORATION

NATIONAL construction partner Stepnell has recently completed the multi-million-pound redevelopment phase of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) Costume Workshop in Stratford-upon-Avon. The renovation of the Grade II listed site, which required retention and heritage remedial works and was valued at more than £6 million, included the stockroom and costume cottage buildings that were originally constructed in 1850, and the scene dock building constructed in 1887. Stepnell also worked to remodel the internal spaces to create a new reception area, costume workrooms, costume stockroom and prop workshop, as well as a costume fitting and exhibition area – which in the future will be open as part of public tours Adrian Barnes, regional director at Stepnell, said: “This was an incredible project to work on and we’re so happy that we were able to play a part in preserving such an important era of British history. We have a wealth of experience in working on heritage projects, so we’re glad that we are able to add this to our growing portfolio of restoration schemes.” In 2019, Stepnell also completed the restoration of Stratford-upon-Avon’s 16th century Falcon Hotel, which underwent a comprehensive internal refurbishment while preserving its historic front. Adrian continued: “Although these projects are amazing to work on in terms of legacy and community value, logistically they can be incredibly challenging. While on site at the Costume Workshop, we had to work within the constraints of limited noise and vibration to ensure we didn’t disrupt local residents or damage the structure of neighbouring buildings, which also hold historic significance. “Not only did we need to consider the preservation of the surrounding area, we also had to navigate operations with limited access and space as the site was surrounded by the RSC cottages and head office, and a small road leading to a local school. “The issue of space was also heighted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines. The team did a great job of implementing stringent health and safety precautions that allowed work to continue throughout both national lockdowns – something that we think was pivotal in the project’s success.” Stephen Rebbeck, technical director and project lead at the Royal Shakespeare Company, said: “We are delighted to have worked with Stepnell on this challenging project to keep our world class Costume Workshop close to our theatres in the heart of historic Stratford- upon-Avon. The end result gives us a place to create the best facilities for our costume-making, as well as offering new training and apprenticeship opportunities and allowing visitors to experience our Costume Workshop for themselves in the future. “We are enormously grateful to all our funders and donors for their support including crucial local support from the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the National Lottery Heritage Fund”. Stepnell worked closely with architects Aedas Arts Team to blend the Workshop’s traditional aesthetic with more contemporary elements to help boost its functionality so that staff can properly utilise the creative space. The build, which is now fit for purpose, serves both the women’s and men’s costume workrooms, a dye workroom, an armoury, and a millinery and a jewellery workroom. Julian Middleton, executive director at Aedas Art Team, said: “Rather like a theatrical production, creating buildings to support the performing arts is a genuine team effort. Stepnell understood this from the very start and it was the cornerstone of their approach. The team worked collaboratively and proactively throughout the construction process as we tackled the challenges of working in and around important historic buildings. For us, they did a great job amidst the most extraordinarily challenging of times – with imagination, pragmatism and good grace.” The 19th century, two-storey build spans across 1,644sqm and the RSC has now begun work to recommission the Costume Workshop and move the Company’s skilled costume makers into their new home, which will re-open when government restrictions are lifted and the RSC is able to re-open the Company’s theatres. To find out more about Stepnell’s, visit https://www.stepnell.co.uk or join the conversation at @Stepnellltd.   

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Balfour Beatty once again tops the charts as Britain’s Most Admired Company in its sector

For the second year in a row, Balfour Beatty has secured the top spot in the Heavy Construction category in the 2020 awards for Britain’s Most Admired Companies; the longest running annual survey of corporate reputation in the UK. Organised by leading reputation specialists and academic partners, the awards represent a peer-review of corporate reputation, considering views from board-level representatives, financial analysts and city commentators to identify Britain’s largest public companies and leading employers across 25 sectors. Balfour Beatty was scored against 13 criteria points, securing the highest marks in six categories. The company was praised for its quality of products and services, long-term value potential, competitiveness and quality of marketing as well as its commitment to diversity & inclusion. Balfour Beatty was also commended for its inspirational leadership, driving forward world class projects for customers across the UK, US and Hong Kong. Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive, said: “This award, which celebrates the best of British business, is a direct result of our culture, as lived by our employees and partners who work tirelessly every day to successfully deliver critical national infrastructure and projects at the heart of local communities. “We’re particularly pleased to have also been recognised for our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive culture – not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it makes us a better business.” Balfour Beatty is a leading international infrastructure group with 26,000 employees driving the delivery of powerful new solutions, shaping thinking, creating skylines and inspiring a new generation of talent to be the change-makers of tomorrow.  

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DLA Piper appoints Overbury to deliver £4.7m office fit out

Global law firm DLA Piper has appointed Overbury to deliver a state of the art fit out of its new regional offices in Birmingham. National fit-out and refurbishment specialist Overbury will be working alongside architect TP Bennett and property and construction consultants Ridge to deliver the 40,000 sq ft fit out across the sixth and seventh floors of Two Chamberlain Square, which is part of the £700m Paradise scheme. The sixth floor of the £4.7m fit out will feature an impressive reception area, a staff lounge complete with kitchen facilities, a boardroom and several seminar and meeting rooms which will be fitted with hi-tech Skyfold walls, which can be raised or dropped from the ceiling to provide spaces with flexible sizes for different purposes. The seventh floor will include a selection of varied working spaces including desk spaces, touchdown areas, breakout meeting rooms and collaborative areas all set within an open-plan environment to house over 200 employees.   The two floors will be brought together by a feature helical staircase, designed to be a statement piece for the office and to aid connectivity between the two floors. The new space also provides a stunning panoramic terrace overlooking the transformed Chamberlain Square providing exceptional city views. DLA Piper is the second tenant at Two Chamberlain Square to appoint Overbury to deliver a fit out of its new space, following financial services firm Mazars which is currently fitting out 12,000 sq ft on the first floor of the Glenn Howells designed building. Andrew Wood, Managing Director of Overbury’s Birmingham-based team, said: “Two Chamberlain Square is a landmark building which will become one of the premier business addresses within Birmingham, so to have another opportunity to work alongside a globally recognised business like DLA Piper to provide a space which pushes the boundaries of design and sets the standard for quality is a hugely exciting prospect. “The designs have incorporated several of the key factors needed to create a successful modern day workplace, including flexible spaces which will breed collaboration and innovation and a working environment which staff will enjoy working in every day. “We’re looking forward to working alongside TP Bennett and Ridge to create a superb space which will ensure that DLA Piper can continue to grow within the city.” Work is set to begin this monthand is estimated to be completed this summer. Trevor Ivory, Birmingham Managing Partner at DLA Piper, said: “Moving to a new office in Birmingham is a key part of our plans for growth in the Midlands. It is imperative that we continue to attract and retain the best talent within the sector, and we’re thrilled to be able to rely on the expertise of Overbury to provide a truly outstanding new workplace which matches our ambitions. “We wanted to create a flexible and modern space which would encourage collaborative working and provide an environment for our staff to produce their best work possible, and we’re excited to see our new home come to life over the next few months.” For more information about Overbury, go to www.overbury.com.

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SO Modular invests in new talent after uplift in demand

Timber frame construction specialist SO Modular has created two new jobs on the back of an uplift in demand, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. The Neath-based company has brought in two new apprentices and partnered with Cyfle and Neath Port Talbot College to give them a rounded education and ensure they are fully qualified in their respective fields. Joseph Murnane joins us as a Trainee Designer and Harrison Davies as a Trainee QS. The course will mix classroom training with on-the-job experience, learning a number of skills in the process. Harrison Davies, apprentice quantity surveyor, said: “I am delighted to be a part of SO Modular. I am very excited to develop new skills, gain a plethora of knowledge from my colleagues and pursue my desired career in Estimating and Quantity Surveying.” Joseph Murnane, trainee timber frame designer, said: “I am happy to have started work here at SO Modular and I look forward to the challenges that lay ahead. I have already developed more knowledge and skills, including working the software needed for design, during the few weeks that I have been here. I have also learnt a lot about how the structure of timber frame is made. During my first year in college, I thoroughly enjoyed the design module, and this is why I wanted to start an apprenticeship based on design. So far, I have enjoyed the work that I have done at SO Modular.” Charlotte Hale, operations director, SO Modular, said: “We are enjoying a big uplift in demand as we move into 2021 and we are excited to be able to offer young people this opportunity. We look forward to watching our new apprentices grow with our company in 2021 – giving young people a chance is important in these challenging times.”

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Green light for 4,500 homes near Cambridge

Waterbeach New Town East is set to get a further 4,500 new homes after South Cambridgeshire district council granted outline planning approval a few days ago. The new development is five miles north of Cambridge and comprises a mixture of one-bed flats and family homes of up to five beds with 30 per cent being affordable. Planning consultants Boyer submitted the application on behalf of RLW Estates – a consortium comprising Royal London, St John’s College, Cambridge and Turnstone Estates. Turnstone Estates managing director Chris Goldsmith said: “We are committed to delivering a new community that will place cyclists and pedestrians at its heart, creating an environmentally conscious and future-proofed development.” The site is on land between the former Waterbeach airfield and barracks to the west and the ‘Fen Line’ railway line which links Cambridge to Ely to the east. South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Planning, Cllr Dr Tumi Hawkins, said: “One of our key aims now is to work with RLW Estates to ensure the development comes forward while being respectful of the village of Waterbeach. We’ll also be working alongside our local government partners to progress the necessary transport upgrades, including local public transport, cycling and walking routes.” The scheme will offer 24,800 sqm of employment space, plus additional retail and community space with 35 hectares of open space, including a 20-acre country park. New scheme will be well-connected RLW Estates gained permission to relocate the station at Waterbeach village to the new town back in 2018 to offer good communication links. “Its delivery is crucial for ensuring sustainable transport options from day one and we now look forward to working with our partners to bring the plans forward,” said Mr Goldsmith. The station will have two platforms long enough for eight-carriage trains with the potential for 12 carriage trains in the future. “It will result in a new, modern station that existing and future residents will benefit from,” said Cllr Hawkins. The development will offer more than £100m towards local infrastructure, such as improving the busy A10, with one secondary, two primary schools and a six-form college planned. Bridging loan intermediary Hank Zarihs Associates said the new scheme was the type of project property development lenders would be keen to finance. Waterbeach New Town East will be developed alongside Urban&Civic’s consented scheme in 2019 to build 6,500 homes at Waterbeach Barracks. Waterbeach New Town was allocated for a development of about 8,000 to 9,000 homes in the 2018 local plan. The final decision as to whether the current project can go ahead will lie with housing secretary Robert Jenrick.

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Bund dewatering: The importance of taking a sustainable approach with new forms of transformer oils

If substations are the delivery vehicles of the energy transmission network, then transformers are their engines, quietly humming away to ensure homes and businesses receive a constant supply of power. Given the cost to replace these vital assets, there is an ongoing maintenance requirement to ensure they remain in prime working condition. And so, as the population of transformers across the UK gets older with every year, so the risk of them failing increases. Alongside this, there is the constant risk of oil escaping as a result of a failure. With some estimates putting the average age of a distribution transformer as high as 63 years, it is understandable that facilities managers are continually exploring ways to limit their exposure to such a potentially dangerous scenario. Enabling environmental compliance MIDEL-type oil is non-toxic and fully biodegradable, meaning it is becoming increasingly sought after for its environmental benefits. At a time when industry is stepping up to tackle an increasingly urgent sustainability agenda, this is in contrast to the potentially harmful polluting impact that high-toxicity mineral oils can have if they escape into the watercourse. The combination of these reasons makes it easy to see why MIDEL-type ester oils have grown in popularity. It is important to note, however, that being a more environmentally sound option compared with mineral oil does not mean that the environmental risks are totally eradicated. It remains essential for any site using MIDEL to consider the wider ramifications – and particularly the cost implications – for managing this different kind of spill risk. When it comes to pollution-prevention methods for transformers, bunds are the primary option, ensuring compliance with the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001. Bunds can be a trap for rainwater, particularly in a climate such as the UK’s, where our already saturated winters are expected to become up to 30% wetter within the next 50 years. Safely managing the removal of this water while guaranteeing its separation from pollutants can be a costly task when carried out on a regular basis by third-party waste removal providers. A more efficient and cost-effective alternative is a bund water control unit (BWCU), which automates the dewatering process without the need for manual intervention. Rainwater, when it reaches a certain probe trigger level, is simply evacuated from the bund and into the surface water drainage system, with a guarantee that oil contaminants will not be at a level exceeding 1ppm. MIDEL compatibility Any transition to the use of ester oils, such as MIDEL 7131, should therefore be done in the knowledge that the BWCU will continue to deliver the highest pollution protection levels. At Darcy Group, we have received independent verification from a UKAS accredited testing house, that our BWCU is compatible with the use of MIDEL 7131, confirming a discharge of less than 5ppm of oil to water. As such, choosing a Darcy BWCU is a future-proof choice for those looking to use MIDEL. For our clients using MIDEL, having a compliant BWCU to manage the dewatering process not only removes ongoing waste removal costs, it also further enhances their environmental credentials beyond the choice to use ester fluids over mineral oils. As more sites consider making the transition to ester oils for their transformers, it is crucial that the bund and the dewatering process are a key element of the overall risk management plan. Only by doing this can you truly ensure that the end result is sustainable from both an economic and environmental perspective. For information on how our products and services, call us today on 01732 762338 or get in touch via the website www.thedarcygroup.co.uk/contact.

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GRE ASSETS LAUNCH FIRST NEW HOMES AT NENE WHARF, PETERBOROUGH

Oxford-based property developer, GRE Assets has officially launched the sales of the first apartments at its exciting new riverside community at Nene Wharf, Peterborough. Offering high-end design and a prime location overlooking the River Nene, but at reasonable prices, the 128 one and two bedroom apartments will raise the standard for Peterborough living. Against the backdrop of challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, this launch represents a positive step and joins the wider narrative of regeneration in the local area. With £600 million of planned development within walking distance of Nene Wharf Apartments, including Station Quarter and ARU Peterborough, Peterborough is cementing its position as England’s fastest growing city. Only a four minute walk from the historic city centre, Nene Wharf encompasses stylish, modern design, a landscaped public realm and retail units to create a thriving new community. The apartments not only offer high specification, contemporary interiors and desirable riverside views, but are also equipped for modern living. With outdoor space higher than ever on a home buyer’s agenda, every home at Nene Wharf has a private balcony or terrace, as well as access to landscaped podium gardens and private parking. Andrew Topping, Senior Operations Manager at GRE Assets, said: “We are delighted to launch the sales of the first apartments at Nene Wharf, as it is a project we are extremely proud and excited about. “When we first invested in Peterborough, we recognised what it had to offer in terms of connectivity and economic growth. It certainly hasn’t disappointed, we have seen with our own eyes the rate of development and regeneration, which is fantastic to see. “GRE Assets sees Nene Wharf as very much part of this story, creating a new riverside community in the heart of this historic yet rapidly growing city. We look forward to welcoming our first residents to the apartments very soon.”

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ACQUISITION OF MEXBORO CONCRETE TAKES LGW GROUP TO OVER £25 MILLION

One of the South’s leading construction sector groups, The LGW Group, has recently acquired Mexboro Concrete based in Paignton, Devon. Trading for over forty years and specialising in the manufacture of pre-cast concrete, the recent acquisition of Mexboro takes the LGW Group’s combined annual turnover to over £25 million. The addition of Mexboro complements the other LGW Group companies, namely Wright Minimix, Bristol & Bath Concrete, Prodeck-Fixing and Chris Brown Concrete Pumps – giving the Group an even stronger foothold in the South West of England and Wales. “Mexboro has a fantastic reputation in the industry as a company with well-established values and quality products so to bring them into the LGW Group was a fairly easy decision to make. They are the perfect fit for us” remarked Len Wright, MD of the LGW Group. The company will continue to trade under the Mexboro Concrete name in Paignton and the majority of their twenty plus workforce will be staying on with a handful of administrative functions moving to the LGW Group headquarters in Bristol. Mexboro MD Matthew Vallance will also remain with the business in a part-time capacity bringing his years of experience in the industry to the Group.  The addition of two new apprentices, already being advertised for, and the potential for more recruitment into the business will grow the pre-cast concrete division of the Group. Further investment for the Group is forecasted with the potential addition of a new concrete plant to make this new area of the business more efficient, as well as giving them a more varied product offering by utilising the skills of the other Group companies.  The LGW Group companies provide a one-stop shop for both commercial and domestic construction projects across Southern England and Wales with services ranging from the production and sale of ready-mix concrete and concrete blocks; concrete pumps for hire, including the UK’s largest M60 and M62 boom pumps; metal decking and now pre-cast concrete and architectural cast stone.

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Platform Housing Group announces two new appointments to its Senior Leadership team

A Midlands-based social landlord has appointed two new members to its senior leadership team.  Platform Housing Group has welcomed Gary Bell as Transformation Director and Nathan Barson as Procurement Director.  These latest appointments will further strengthen the Group’s management structure by adding to its existing diverse and robust experience.  Gary has spent his entire career working in the public sector, starting off in local government; he then progressed to working for three large IT companies in their consulting divisions as well as working for a national regulator.  He has joined Platform Housing Group from A2Dominion Housing Group in London.  This new role for the Group will focus on the transformation of services to achieve enhanced outcomes for customers and stakeholders.  Gary said : “I’m delighted to join Platform Housing Group; the combination of my transformation skills with my housing experience, will, I hope, bring about positive and continuous change.”  Elizabeth Froude, Chief Executive at Platform Housing Group said : “Gary’s transformation skills will help us bring greater alignment as we continue on our business change journey.  This will maximise the impact and efficiency of our change programme, enabling us to deliver on our strategy of improving services for our customers, ensuring alignment of all areas of the business and delivering on our objective of building a truly modern housing association.”  Nathan – who lives in Leicestershire – joined the Group from the Cabinet office where he supported the national programme on PPE to help the fight against Covid-19; previous to this, Nathan worked for some years for one of the UK’s leading construction and infrastructure companies, Kier Group.  Nathan said : “I’m looking forward to continuing to raise the profile of procurement within the Group, with the aim to build a world class procurement function.  Procurement, when done well, can be a real catalyst for change.  We will move beyond simple cost reduction to adding real strategic value to the organisation.  I’m delighted to be appointed to the newly created role of Procurement Director; the opportunity to apply my knowledge and experience into an organisation with such a fundamental social needs at its core is truly appealing.”  Rosemary Farrar, Chief Finance Officer at Platform Housing Group, said: “Continuous development of our business critical areas is crucial to ensure we meet the needs of our customers, partners and stakeholders.  Nathan’s appointment will help us to move successfully into the future and we would like to welcome him to the Group.”  Platform Housing Group – which owns 46,000 homes in total – completed 1448 homes in 2019/20 (1,598 in 2018/19) at an investment of £258m (£228m in 2018/19).  The Group also built more social rented homes – at a figure of 981 – during the past 2 years in England than any other provider, 523 in 2019/20, almost 33% of the total homes built.  Platform Housing Group’s operating area is from Herefordshire in the West to the Lincolnshire coast in the East, and from the Derbyshire Dales in the North to the Cotswolds in the South. 

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Rippon Homes Employee Transitions From Sales to Land

An employee of Mansfield-based Rippon Homes has celebrated having transitioned from the developer’s sales team to its land department. Sophie Hopkinson, who lives in Lincoln, moved from her role as Sales Negotiator at Rippon’s Roman Meadow development in Welton to take up her new position as an Land Buyer. Having worked for the housebuilder for the past three years, Sophie has previous experience as a Valuation Manager for an estate agent in Newark.  “I decided to transition into the land department because I was eager to progress with Rippon and a build a career within the industry,” she explained. I saw that the job was being advertised and I applied for it in the normal way, following the standard interview procedure.” Now settled into her new role, Sophie says she is really enjoying the challenges she must face on a day-to-day basis, and the level of variety that comes with her responsibilities.  “Working in land is completely different to being in my previous position on site,” she continues, “and though there is a lot to learn, I’m finding the experience of doing so really interesting. What I’m most looking forward to is having the chance to see a site grow and following that journey from start to finish – from first viewing it as a field, to gaining planning permission, then seeing the houses being built and ultimately watching our purchasers make it their forever home. There are so many opportunities in land and I really like that Rippon is so keen on helping people to learn and progress within their careers,” she added. In her spare time, Sophie enjoys spending time on the family farm, which is just a mile away from where she lives, socialising with friends, and going on walks in the countryside. “I congratulate Sophie on her successful transition from our sales team to our land department. Sophie has shown true dedication and skill in her work ever since joining us, and I am confident that she will continue to flourish in her new position,” commented Ian Dyke, Managing Director of Rippon Homes.

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