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Diving into life in the Development team

From meeting with Parish Councils to helping design our new homes, it’s never quiet for our Development team.

Discover what it's like to work in our Development team

Between launching the New-Build Standard and with building beginning to ramp up after being limited during the pandemic, it's been a busy few months for the Development team. Every day they work closely with communities, councils and a range of other partners to build new homes for local people.

Our Development Manager, Sophie has been at Hastoe since 2018. Her role means she's involved in every stage of the development process from finding a site to showing tenants around their new homes. We caught up with Sophie on a typical day to find out what her working life involves

9am: Over the past year, lots of Sophie's meetings have been held virtually but now that covid restrictions have been lifted, life in the development world is beginning to return to normality. This means the first thing on her agenda for the day is driving across the south east of England to visit sites and meet with Parish Councils.

10:00am: Sophie's first meeting of the day is with a Parish Council and the Rural Housing Enabler to go through the process of how a rural exception site would be provided in their village. Sophie and the rest of the Development team work closely with Parish Councils throughout the planning, building and allocation process:

Right at the start of the process we go and present our plans to Parish Councils. During these meetings we discuss the findings of the housing need survey and explain the next steps. We then carry out a site finding exercise which we share with the Parish Council and Local Authority for their views. Once we've found a site and have come up with the design, we present the plans to the community and people can come along, give us their feedback and register their interest in a property. We then continue to have meetings about our progress and to answer any questions or queries the council may have."

11:30am: Later that morning Sophie then drives to a nearby scheme that's being built to take part in a site visit and meeting. Not being able to visit sites was one of main thing Sophie missed whilst working at home during the lockdown: She said: 

It's great that we're starting to do visits and actually meeting in person again. Being able to walk round the site and then sit down for a meeting straight away makes it easier to discover and resolve any issues, as well as ensure everything is on track."

2:00pm: After travelling back from site Sophie checks her emails and spends an hour working on a report for the Executive Team. After a scheme receives planning permission and has been tendered, it needs to get internal approval, so the Development team have to write a report to show the costs and viability of the project.  

3:00pm: As part of her role Sophie attends a lot of strategic meetings with different housing associations, which is what she's doing today. During these meetings they discuss various sector issues including rural exception sites, government policies and schemes they're working on. By sharing their experiences, knowledge and ideas, they're able to gain a greater understanding about the best way to get rural houses built.

4:00pm: For the rest of the day Sophie catches up with one of the architects of a scheme. Throughout the planning stage the Development team is in constant contact with consultations, architects, solicitors and land owners to ensure that they're successful in getting planning permission. She says:

The design and planning stage is probably the most frustrating stage and it can be a real slog because each development we build is different. But for me it's the stage I like the most. We've recently had residents move into our Bluntisham development, which was my scheme. We worked with a new contractor, which was a learning curve in terms of designing the homes but it's great to see tenants move into really lovely designed, much needed affordable homes."

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