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We have added two new members to our growing team to oversee our new development programme.

Work has begun work on a stunning 38-home neighbourhood in at Somerbrook in Great Somerford, north Wiltshire, and an exciting 44-home development linked to a major workspace project on the site of a former tannery in Holt, west Wiltshire.

Helping to pave the way for the many future projects is Holly Simkiss, who has made the switch from the public sector to take up the role of planning manager.

Holly spent 12-and-a-half years as Stroud District Council working her way up the management ladder from planning officer to become development team manager. She has a master’s degree in planning and later studied for a post-graduate degree in conservation.

She said: “I was in the role of principal planner and as I was responsible for managing planers and conservation officers, I thought in order to do my job well I should learn more about conservation. It’s very useful because planners have to be an expert in everything, so you have an appreciation of all facets of the job.

“You have to have an appreciation of what the impact of a development will be and of course it meant there were lots of lovely buildings to go and look at.”

Holly, from Wootton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire, decided to move to Stonewood to get back to the day-to-day excitement of seeing applications through. She adds: “Also everyone here talks about their developments with such pride and I’m in this business because I want to make a difference and take the same pride in seeing beautiful homes built.

“I’ve been aware of Stonewood’s work a long time and it is the quality that stands out. When you see the projects, they are working on you can see there’s an absolute desire to make them really special. As a planner I always had this desire to want to build beautiful places. It’s all about a sense of place.”

Her role will involve helping to identify potential sites and overseeing the planning side of future projects and working with architects and designers to ensure schemes submitted for approval meet planning guidelines. “I am excited about the role,’’ she says, “it’s a complete reversal of what I did before, and I am looking forward to seeing fantastic schemes completed and knowing I played a part in it.”

Her love of the countryside and caring for a growing family of three boys will, she says, be an influence on shaping houses that meet modern demands while staying in tune with their rural locations.

“I’m a country girl at heart and I love being in the outdoors,” she said.

Lily Elder has joined Stonewood as a project manager and will be bringing experience developed in the rail industry to bear as she works with the construction and planning teams on future developments.

Her role will involve making sure all the sub-contractors needed to complete a development are in place at the right time and briefed accordingly. She will sift through potential sub-contractors’ tenders to make sure they meet Stonewood’s exacting standards and is already busy on the Somerbrook and Tannery projects.

Lily, from Calne, is looking forward to seeing projects through. “It’s exciting,” she said, “seeing something from start to finish and being involved in every step of the way will be rewarding.”

The keen skier said she is looking forward to developing her career at Stonewood “The people here at Stonewood are so supportive and they are really about you. They want you to be successful and you really feel part of the team straight away,” she said.

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