Dorset-based AJC Group has appointed Harry Hepple as Head of Strategic Land, as the residential developer continues to make an impact across the Wessex region. On track to become one of the leading affordable housing contractors in the region, Harry Hepple will head up the land acquisition team at the firm’s headquarters office in the coastal town of Poole.
With over 200 mixed-tenure homes on track to be delivered during 2023, reflecting a construction value in excess of £100m, Harry’s appointment comes at a pivotal time for the business. The company was established over 12 years ago by co-owner and Director Mark Adams, and Seb Janes, who has recently been promoted to Managing Director. With the addition of David Cracklen in 2018, AJC Group has worked with some of the biggest names in the affordable housing sector and has a range of significant projects in the pipeline.
Harry Hepple joins from Gloucestershire-based national housebuilder LifeStory, where he previously worked as Land Director. An experienced land professional specialising in mixed-tenure residential projects, Harry has a proven track record in sourcing land deals and negotiating transactions from conception to completion.
After leaving the University of Central Lancashire with a bachelor’s degree in Business Studies, he worked for Persimmon Homes for close to seven years as a Land Manager, based at the PLC’s Thames Valley regional office in Camberley, Surrey. He then joined Antler Homes as a Land Manager, before taking a role at Renaissance, where he progressed from Senior Land Manager to the position of Land Director.
Harry Hepple, Head of Strategic Land at AJC Group, said: “AJC Group has been going from strength to strength, with a formidable portfolio of sites in various stages of planning and construction. Having known some of the Directors for many years, it was brilliant to see them crowned Housebuilder of the Year and Fast Rising Property Business of the Year at the 2022 South Coast Property Awards. It is a pleasure to be joining this talented and motivated team and I am looking forward to helping strengthen their land pipeline.”
In December 2022, AJC Group called for the Government to reform the UK’s broken planning system, due to its potential negative impact on rural communities, where there is an increasing shortage of quality affordable homes.
David Cracklen, Director of AJC Group, said: “It is great to have Harry Hepple joining our team, especially with his wealth of understanding and experience within the housing industry. With the recent Government changes to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill – which includes mandatory housing targets being scrapped – a huge population of people are currently at risk of not being housed in suitable accommodation.
“We have been actively trying to combat this lack of supply within the underserved Wessex region. With our recent senior hires and internal promotions, we have a team with an enviable breadth of knowledge, primed to bring insight to new sites and development opportunities.”
The latest industry reports highlight that fewer than 4,500 social homes were built in 2019-20, however there were over 250,000 people on a housing waiting list in rural areas by 2020. Across the entire UK, only 157,000 of the Government’s own target of 180,000 affordable homes were built during 2021.
AJC Group has seven live schemes under construction, including Okeford Fitzpaine in Blandford Forum, Violet Cross in Hazelbury Bryan, West Cliff Gardens and Lindsay Road – both in Bournemouth, Chaddesley Glen in Sandbanks, Poole, and North Road and Herbert Avenue – both also in Poole.