Property people: Miller Homes; Harworth Group; and more

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A Yorkshire housebuilder, with ambitious growth plans to support the demand for housing in the region, has made a significant appointment to its senior team.

Ian Thomson, 41, from Leeds has joined the Miller Homes team as land director and will guide the established team in both short and long-term land acquisitions to reach the growth target of constructing 600 units in the next three years.

He said: “This is a great opportunity for me, and I am very pleased to be able to join such a well-respected UK housebuilder.

“It’s a role that brings a new challenge and together with the entire Yorkshire team I am looking forward to achieving great success in the months and years ahead.”

Thomson has worked in the housebuilding sector his entire career after graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Architectural Engineering.

Since then, his career has seen him gain experience across all elements of the sector with his last post as land director for another housebuilder.

Paul Moore, managing director, Miller Homes Yorkshire, said: “Ian is a great addition to our team, and it was necessary to ensure we made the best appointments to allow us to deliver our goals and achieve our targets.

“We have some exciting plans in the pipeline – firstly a flagship site will be unveiled in York in just a matter of weeks and 2022 is already shaping up to be a superb year as we deliver a wide selection of house types in locations that really matter to buyers in Yorkshire.”

Currently, Miller Homes has developments in Apperley Bridge, Drighlington, Boroughbridge, Bramhope, Thorpe Willoughby and Wakefield.

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Andrew Blackshaw

Listed property business Harworth Group has appointed Andrew Blackshaw as chief operating officer and Jonathan Haigh to the newly created role of chief investment officer, both effective from 1 September 2021.

Ian Ball, who joined Harworth in 2014 and was appointed chief operating officer in 2019, had previously advised management of his intention to leave the business at the end of January 2022.

Blackshaw joined Harworth in January this year as interim director of corporate strategy.

He combines deep knowledge of the business with the extensive executive experience he has built through leadership roles in a number of established real estate businesses.

In his new role, he will be focused on the implementation of the Group’s strategic plan, working with Harworth’s regional directors to bring forward sites including direct development, the delivery of new products and partnerships, as well as ensuring that the business has the necessary skills to grow.

Most recently, he was managing director of Manchester Airport Group (MAG) Investment Assets Limited, where he led the investment asset optimisation of MAG’s income portfolio, culminating in the disposal of MAG’s non-core portfolio to Threadneedle Investments in August 2020.

Blackshaw is a chartered surveyor and previously held senior roles at Deloitte and PwC where he provided strategic, restructuring, and transactional advice to real estate businesses.

Haigh has been supporting Harworth as a consultant for the last six months, and in his role as chief investment officer (CIO), he will oversee Harworth’s Income Generation portfolio, as well as strategic acquisitions and direct development, and will provide technical, commercial and natural resources expertise to the regional teams.

He is a chartered surveyor and has over 25-years’ experience in property development and transactions, gained in leadership roles variously as developer, investor, occupier and adviser.

Jonathan Haigh

He joined Harworth from MAG Property, where as managing director he led the development side of that business and associated transactions across the MAG Group, and was a driving force behind the Airport City Manchester scheme.

Haigh previously led a team at PwC responsible for devising and executing work-out strategies and loan book trading.

Prior to that he worked for Ballymore, where he led the investment and development activity for numerous large-scale and market-leading schemes.

Lynda Shillaw, chief executive of Harworth, said: “Both Andrew and Jonathan will significantly bolster the Harworth executive team as we embark on our exciting next phase of growth, bringing considerable expertise and a track-record of delivery in the markets in which we operate.

“Our experience of working together previously, coupled with Andrew and Jonathan’s existing knowledge of Harworth, means they are ideally suited to make an immediate positive impact on the business.

“I would like to thank our outgoing COO, Ian Ball, for his extensive contribution and dedication to Harworth over the past seven years and wish him every success for the future.”

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Experienced property professional, Ben Hollings, has joined Yorkshire estate agent, Dacre, Son & Hartley’s Skipton office as a sales valuer, bolstering the sales team who have enjoyed a record 2021 to date.

He previously spent seven years working at Dacres elsewhere in the Aire Valley.

In his new role, he will assist branch principal, Mark Kane in valuing and marketing all types of property, from town centre apartments through to very large country homes and new build developments, throughout Skipton and its surrounding towns and villages, as well as into the Yorkshire Dales.

Hollings said: “I’ve had a long-held ambition to work in the Skipton area, so when this opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance.

“It’s also an interesting time for the local property market, which is extremely busy. We’re experiencing high levels of demand for all types of homes, which means we often have buyers competing for properties and many are currently selling for significantly more than their asking price.

“This makes it a particularly good time for anyone considering selling a home.”

Kane, who heads Dacre, Son & Hartley’s Skipton office, said: “Ben has plenty of experience in the property industry and knows the local area very well, so we’re delighted to welcome him into the Skipton team.

“We’ve enjoyed a very busy summer and we’re now seeing significant levels of interest from both buyers and sellers as we head towards autumn. Ben’s appointment will help us to service this ongoing demand.”

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