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An Interview with Doug Jones: Land and Planning Director

10/03/2023 General, Newsletter, Case Study, Blog, Corporate

Rangeford Villages currently has three active retirement villages across the UK (with numbers four and five on the way very soon) providing luxury living for the over 60s. Rangeford has ambitious growth plans over the next few years which will require careful consideration and planning to ensure that the perfect areas are chosen for our next set of vibrant later life communities…which is where our Land and Planning team comes in.

Doug Jones joined Rangeford Villages as Land and Planning Director in September 2022. With over 30 years’ experience in identifying, acquiring and obtaining planning consent for later living schemes - during which time Doug acquired more than 80 sites with a combined gross development value (GDV) of £1 Billion, he is the ideal person to lead Rangeford’s upcoming expansion charge.

Below Doug discusses Rangeford’s current projects along with some exciting plans for our upcoming and future developments…

What has been a highlight so far in your role as Land and Planning Director?

I have been at Rangeford for five months now and during that time have been impressed with the enthusiasm and professionalism of the team here, the flat management structure ensures an inclusive approach to decision making, a culture set by the CEO and Executive team and enjoyed across the whole organisation. This coupled with an extremely exciting pipeline of opportunities and access to excellent levels of funding has enabled me to hit the ground running and get my teeth into some exciting new projects that will complement the Rangeford Village portfolio.

Could you explain the process from land negotiation to acquisition?

Land acquisition is a mixture of science and artform! In my 30 years in the property industry it is without doubt the most exciting element to property development but can also be the most frustrating! Essentially it is a numbers game, typically we would look at 100 sites to acquire one so we need to ensure a steady stream of opportunities in order to meet our land buying targets so we work with a range of contacts and other property agencies to secure these introductions as unfortunately there is no such thing as a “land shop”. Once identified and a price is agreed the work starts in earnest to ensure that the planning, legal and technical aspects of the transaction are going to work for us, this involves a small army of consultants and takes place in tandem with agreeing the legal terms of the purchase, once completed exchange of contracts is the holy grail and allows you to forget the myriad of sites that “got away”.

What do you hope to see the Rangeford Land and Planning team achieve in 2023?

Rangeford is at an exciting point in its growth plans and subsequently has ambitious targets for Land acquisition and Planning permissions, we have already secured a planning permission for our Strawberry Fields village in Stapleford, Cambridgeshire and expect to submit applications on three additional sites in the course of 2023, we are currently in contract negotiations for three further sites which would contribute (subject to planning) 450 additional units into the portfolio. This can’t be achieved without the hard work and dedication of the senior land team, Will and Chris, who I commend and thoroughly enjoy working with.

How do you hope to reflect Rangeford’s sustainability promise in future sites?

Our MD of Developments, Ryan Fairbairn, is currently working hard on the company ESG policy (Economic, Social and Governance) this will, amongst other strategies, ensure that our Villages will be at the forefront of sustainability, it will encompass areas such as sustainable drainage, ecology, modern methods of construction (off site manufacture etc) energy efficiency including Solar/PV and efficient heat pumps to mention just a few, initiatives which are very much part of the ethos of Rangeford and its investor partners.

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