An experienced planning director appointed into a newly created role at a national housebuilder has praised its upcoming panel event to mark International Women’s Day. Fiona Milden, group planning director at Vistry Group
?" which includes brands Bovis Homes
, Linden Homes and Vistry Partnerships ?" said she was delighted with Vistry’s vision ahead of the company’s celebrations for the annual event. Vistry ?" through its staff-led Women’s Network ?" is hosting a special panel session on International Women’s Day (8th March) in partnership with the leading manufacturer of clay bricks and concrete products, major brick product supplier, Ibstock plc. Fiona, formerly strategic planning director, said: “I’m delighted that Vistry is once again engaging staff to celebrate International Women’s Day and encourage further communication to level the playing field in the housebuilding industry. “Ibstock is a great partner of Vistry and we look forward to an impressive debate on opportunities for greater strides in the sector, with all colleagues encouraged to take part.” Vistry and Ibstock are joining forces to explore challenges and changes that can be made to progress and encourage more women to join the construction industry. Vistry’s strategic land director, Hannah Pattinson, and Western managing director, Dave Farley, will participate on the panel alongside Ibstock supply chain director, Joanne Humphrey and chief operating officer, Darren Waters. In her new role, Fiona covers both housebuilding and partnerships arms of the business, responding to external consultations and engaging with stakeholders. She coordinates the planning activities of the Group to ensure all teams across the country are well placed to respond to changes in the UK planning system. Fiona also has a strong focus on sustainability and will develop ideas from the Group’s planning steering group, set up last year with representatives from every regional team across the country, to share knowledge and best practice. “I’m thrilled that my new role will continue to give me exposure to both the Vistry Housebuilding and Vistry Partnerships arms of the Group,” she added. “We await confirmation of the Government’s intentions in respect of planning reform and levelling up and I look forward to celebrating more planning success across the Group, as well as working with the teams to ensure that our proposals are fully ‘future-proofed’ to meet emerging standards and requirements. “I will also be responding to external consultations and engaging with stakeholders to provide feedback on Vistry’s expertise and experience as a major housebuilder navigating the planning system. This will include engaging with the Future Homes Hub as the sector focuses on meeting the Future Homes Standard ?" delivering high quality homes and places.” Kathryn Pennington, Vistry divisional special projects director, has been involved in major land purchases including completing on a 245-home deal in Bridport, West Dorset, as part of a 760-home consortium site, on International Women’s Day last year. Kathryn, who has worked in the property industry for more than 20 years, said: “The housebuilding industry is really starting to embrace the benefits of diversity and whilst there is more to do, I am really proud of Vistry and the number of women now flourishing in leadership roles. Vistry’s International Women’s Day session is a great example and I think it is really progressive of the company ?" the fact it encourages participation from all staff and has such inspirational women involved is wonderful.” Verity MacMahon, Vistry Housebuilding divisional land director, completed on another major site ?" 1,499 homes in Great Haddon in Peterborough, also on International Women’s Day 2021. “Personally, for my career, it’s the biggest deal I’ve ever done,” the former land secretary, who now heads up the land teams in the Vistry Yorkshire and East Midlands housebuilding regions, said. “Acquisitions like this don’t come along every year ?" it’s probably one of the most complex deals I’ll ever do. What I’m most proud of is that I was a land secretary, I didn’t go to university and broke into the industry from a different path to the norm and progressed through the ranks. To have been successful for Vistry in acquiring one of the biggest land deals in 2021 ?" it really feels like a job well done by the team and completing on International Women’s Day just topped it all off.” Vistry's Women's Network, formed last year, encourages staff to share experiences ?" both at face-to-face events and online ?" support one another and promote the profile of women in construction.