People: Keepmoat; Ardent; Nicol & Co

Housebuilder Keepmoat has announced the appointment of Neil Smith as land and partnerships director for the West Midlands branch of the business.

Neil’s appointment will see him work alongside the existing land team and oversee the delivery of a regional land pipeline, lead on development requirements with a focus on partnerships, progress local opportunities, and support the team to achieve further organic growth across the Midlands.

With 17 years of experience in all aspects of land acquisition, Neil’s previous roles were across affordable housing, development management, funding and consortium management – he most recently worked for developer Vistry Partnerships. In addition, Neil was previously a Head of New Business across all regions at Orbit Homes, a role which saw him supporting regional teams with land, large bulk deals, and external third party service contracts.

He said: “I am thrilled to have been appointed by such a well-established, national homebuilder and I’m looking forward to working with the West Midlands team to continue building on the region’s track record and growing our land pipeline.

“I am proud to be part of Keepmoat and I align with the overall values of the business. I’m really looking forward to getting involved and growing the division, whilst delivering good quality housing and utilising the best skills and resources from the public and private sectors.’’

Amanda Bishop, regional managing director for Keepmoat’s West Midlands region, added: “I’m really pleased that Neil has joined the West Midlands team and I look forward to working with him to further strengthen our land pipeline and support the planned growth of our business.

“Our West Midlands team is currently delivering 10 operational sites and has created 594 new homes in the last year. We specialise in developing brownfield land, most recently with West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Homes England, and other partners, where we committed to building 4,000 future homes with net carbon zero emissions. I’m excited to see Neil push forward our goal to regenerate areas through our partnership model and drive relationships with landowners to create thriving, sustainable communities.”


Sharon Daly

Ardent, the Birmingham-based surveying, communications and consents management practice, has appointed Sharon Daly as a non-executive director to help drive the next wave of growth.

Sharon is the chief operating officer of Steer, a global consultancy that combines commercial, economic, technical and planning expertise to support clients across the world.

She has worked with Ardent on a range of projects over the last 20 years, most recently on the Bank Station capacity upgrade for Transport for London. As non-executive director, Sharon brings operational experience and expertise, including deep knowledge of equality, diversity and inclusion and environmental, social and corporate governance to the Board.

Her appointment is the latest move by Ardent to execute its ambitious growth plans after it reached £10 million turnover in its most recent accounts.

The company, which has expertise in the transport, renewables, utilities and regeneration sectors, has offices in Birmingham, London, Leeds, Glasgow, Warrington and Dublin and expects to reach a 250 headcount by 2026.

Richard Caten, chief executive of Ardent, said: “We have made no secret that we are very ambitious when it comes to growth and that has seen us make a series of appointments and promotions over the past 18 months.

“Bringing in Sharon Daly as non-executive director is a big part of that.

“We’ve worked with Sharon, and the team at Steer, on numerous occasions over the years so we know that her experience and expertise will help support our growth and development over the coming years.”

Sharon said: “I am really pleased to join the Ardent team as a non-executive director. I’ve seen Ardent grow and prosper over many years and I know that they provide great advice and support to their clients. I am looking forward to playing a small part in the next stage of their journey.”


Charlotte Kerr

Worcestershire estate agency Nicol & Co has announced several recent starters and promotions as the company prepares for a predicted upturn in the property market in 2024.

Appointments include Charlotte Kerr as personnel officer, joining the company from Age UK where she was head of people.

Amber McManus has started at the company as a sales specialist in the Malvern office, her first role in property, and another sales specialist is currently being recruited for the Droitwich office.

On the promotions front, Nicol & Co has announced that Molly Maguire, formerly a valuation consultant, has become assistant sales manager in the Worcester office.

Amber McManus

Other promotions include Eleanor Stallard, rising from valuation consultant to valuation manager in the Malvern office, and Heather Turner, formerly a sales specialist in Droitwich, becoming a specialist in the New Homes team.

Matt Nicol, managing director of Nicol & Co, which has offices in Droitwich, Malvern and Worcester, said: “We’re very pleased to have secured the services of Charlotte and Amber, who have bolstered our sales and personnel teams.

“We are also really impressed with the progress that Molly, Eleanor and Heather have made and are delighted to announce their well-deserved promotions.

“We are also now in the process of taking on another new starter to fill vacancies in our sales departments.

“All this recruitment and staff development activity is getting Nicol & Co ready for what we predict will become a busy year in the property sector.

“With inflation rates now expected to fall and the consequent drop in mortgage interest rates, we will see the sector getting busier as people who’ve perhaps been waiting for some time to buy and sell come onto the market.

“With our expanding team and newly promoted staff, Nicol & Co will be more than ready to handle this upturn and to continue delivering the best service to our customers.”

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