Construction and Infrastructure

Former receptionist wins permission to build 12 new homes in Cheltenham

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 14 August 2020 6:30

Former receptionist wins permission to build 12 new homes in Cheltenham

If anyone who has just received their exam results is pondering an apprenticeship as a route to work the story of Ella Hammond – a former pupil at Pittville School – is worth following. 

Wind back the clock for the now 23-year-old to 2014 and you might have found her on a reception desk at then Bovis Homes, learning the ropes. 

Then two years after joining the company, which has its South West offices in Cheltenham, she became a business administration apprentice, attending college two days a week as she worked towards her qualifications. 

If anyone doubted just where those qualification might take her, they now have their answer – they are about to open the doors – literally – to 12 new houses in Leckhampton. 

As it sings her praises and highlights the benefits of the apprenticeship schemes now on offer, Bovis – now part of Vistry Group – is championing her achievements. 

Fiona Milden, strategic planning director at Vistry Group, said the 12 Leckhampton homes would offer much-needed affordable housing and that work on the properties is due to start next year.  

“This was Ella’s first planning application, managed by her from start to finish, in coordination with the wider consultant team,” said Ms Milden. 

“This was a small freehold piece of land that now has planning permission for 12 homes in a very desirable part of Cheltenham. 

“She has helped to negotiate the Section 106 agreement, providing much-needed affordable housing, and has considered off-site ecological mitigation among many other factors.”

Ms Hammond tookresponsibility within Vistry’sStrategic Land team for the project, meeting with Cheltenham Borough Council’s case officer andworking withLeckhampton and Warden Hill parish councillors to consider key elementsof the plans,including the community, accessibility, affordable housing and wildlife. 

Now an assistant strategic planner at Vistry, she said: “I feel a huge sense of achievement that this application for 12 homes in Leckhampton, which I’vebeen responsible for, has received consent. It has made me realise that I’ve come a long way from where I started and given me the determination to keep working hard in the same direction. 

“Before I started with Bovis Homes, I had no idea that Strategic Land existed or even the various departments that are needed for a housebuilding business to work. 

Working as an apprentice, assisting different teams and covering the receptiondesk gave me the exposure to develop basic office skills and an understanding of professional etiquette. 

There are many ways into housebuildingand so much information online if young or older professionals want to get into the industry. 

“Anapprenticeship was a good route for me as I was unsure about which aspect of the business I had an interest in and this type of apprenticeshipallowed me toexplore the different departments. The industry has taught me a lot of personal and life skills such as public speaking and how to manage relationships with different stakeholders. 

In the industry we are in, policies and legislation are constantly changing,which means we are constantly learning, whether you’ve been working for 30 years or three. 

Ms Hammond started herLevel 3 Town Planning Technical Support Apprenticeshiptwo years after she joined Bovis Homes. 

She later became strategic land administrator, and planning and development delivery co-ordinator for the housebuilder and nowhas the skills to project manage developments, which involves fee and budgetary management and liaising with local authorities, specialist consultants, landowners and other stakeholders. 

To find out more about Bovis Homeslocations inCheltenham and Gloucestershire, visit