Strategic Land overview. What do we do?
Taylor Wimpey is a FTSE 100 business and one of the largest residential developers in the UK, building new homes and communities across England, Scotland and Wales. Our vision is to become the UK’s leading residential developer for creating value and delivering quality. We build over 10,000 homes each year, from one-bedroom apartments to six-bedroom houses all across the country. Our people are passionate about the house building industry and about our customers.
One of the most important functional areas of our company is Strategic Land. The team are responsible for the complex acquisition and planning processes behind new land opportunities for the business across the UK.
Our overall focus is to identify and contractually secure land, which has the potential to fulfil future housing needs through residential and mixed-use development, and then promote it through the planning system. We source and convert land which does not have residential planning consent at the time we take a commercial interest and promote the site for between two and twenty years (or sometimes longer). In 2016 51% of Taylor Wimpey’s completions (circa 7,000 homes) came from strategically sourced land showing the strength of our strategic pipeline across the country.
Our developments range in size from 50 to several thousand homes and often include substantial on- and off-site infrastructure, where appropriate facilities such as schools, libraries, community buildings, parkland and highway/public transport improvements may be delivered, which benefit the wider communities in which we work. Listening to and appreciating the needs of communities and councils during the early planning stages enables us to design, and ultimately deliver, developments that have a positive impact on local people.
James Malyon has been working for Taylor Wimpey for just over 18 months and is now working as an Assistant Land Manager for the Strategic Land division. Below he has shared some of his experiences so far working for Taylor Wimpey.
Why work in Strategic Land? What is interesting / appealing?
It is exciting seeing a green field that you have identified, that has no residential planning consent, progress through the planning system and eventually become a new community that people call their home.
Every site is different which means that each presents new challenges to development through all stages of site acquisition and planning promotion.
Tell us more about your journey…
I began my career in Taylor Wimpey Strategic Land in September 2015 as a Strategic Land Assistant, having graduated from the University of Sussex several months before with a degree in Geography. I knew very little about Strategic Land when I first joined but the excellent training/coaching programme enabled me to learn a great deal about each aspect of Strategic Land equipping me well for a strong career in the industry.
From the start I was given the responsibility of carrying out extensive District-wide land studies which involved analysing each settlement in order to identify potential new high quality land leads. Once I had a shortlist of potential sites I would make contact with landowners and assist my colleagues in putting forward an offer and agreeing terms on the site. I quickly learnt that strategic land is about quality over quantity and before bringing a site to senior leaders I made sure I had conducted a thorough appraisal.
One of the things I liked most about the graduate programme was the variety in workload. I was involved in the preparation of planning applications on sites already in our control and I attended numerous public consultations, committee/appeal hearings and public inquiries to increase my knowledge of the planning system.
The Taylor Wimpey strategic land team constantly included me in meetings with landowners, agents, consultants, lawyers and others where I gained an invaluable insight into various aspects of Strategic Land such as deal negotiation, planning strategy and application preparation which helped my personal development a great deal and within a short amount of time I have been able to take the lead on all areas of the land acquisition process. The graduate programme has taught me to think strategically and provide solutions to challenges as they arise.
Personal development is a key part to the scheme and in addition to practical experience, my learning was supported by attending 12 formal training courses that covered a range of topics as well as spending a week with external panel lawyers, planning consultants and landscape/highways consultants to gain a better understanding of how each of these disciplines supports Taylor Wimpey in site acquisition and planning promotion.
How have you progressed since joining?
In the 18 months since joining Taylor Wimpey I have been promoted to Assistant Land Manager, a role which I have now been in for 7 months. I am responsible for contractually securing Strategic Land in East Berkshire, South Buckinghamshire and West Hertfordshire. I have so far acquired one site with terms agreed on several others and I am managing the promotion of several pipeline sites through the planning process. I am aiming to exchange contracts on at least three sites this year and hope to move into a Land Manager role within the next year.
The Strategic Land graduate programme at Taylor Wimpey has given me a solid foundation to forge a career in strategic land. It gave me the opportunity to learn about all aspects of Strategic Land and the freedom to gain practical experience on the job.
James Malyon, Assistant Land Manager, Taylor Wimpey