Sian Grindley is senior land and planning manager for development at Yorkshire Housing, with six years’ experience in the house building and development sector. Sian is passionate about diversifying the workplace and encouraging more female participation in the development and construction sectors.
Yorkshire Housing’s Space Homes has achieved planning permission to build fifty new homes on Spen Lane, West Park, Leeds utilising the skills and expertise of a predominantly female project team ranging from engineers to architects to land managers. Work will start on site in May 2018, continuing to push Yorkshire Housing forward in achieving its commitment of building 3,120 new homes by 2021.
Planning permission secured
I was recently part of one of Yorkshire Housing’s first female-dominated property development teams, which secured planning permission for 50 new homes in West Park, Leeds. It was fantastic to work with such a strong female group all working together, in what is traditionally a male-dominated sector.
Our team from Space Homes, a division of Yorkshire Housing, is made up of head of development Justine Gore, S106 and land co-ordinator Marta Snopinska, development project assistant Hannah Kutney and me.
Further to that, this project saw a lot of female presence in the contractors and outsourced labour the team used. Our employers’ agent from DBA Gaynor MacCarthy-Smith was engineer from Haigh Huddleston Associates. Helen Hossanee and architect Jo Buxton, planning consultant Dawn Jenkins and landscape architect Avril Sanderson, all from Spawforths, completed the team – it was truly fantastic to see.
Affordable home ownership
The development, which is set to start work in May 2018, includes a range of homes from two to five bedrooms and 14 of the properties will be available through shared ownership, offering an affordable home ownership to first time buyers who are often priced out of the surrounding area.
Finally, being granted the permission after months of work was amazing news for the team who have worked really hard to get the project to this point. It’s been great to be part of an all-female project team ranging from engineers to architects to land managers.
Why the skills shortage in construction and development need not to be a problem
Our employers are demonstrating that by encouraging a more diverse mix of people into the industry, we can create a more inclusive environment and construction and development can become an environment where both men and women can feel welcome and valued.
The skills shortage in construction and development need not to be a problem, we simply must continue to make sites be more inclusive. I believe we have started to address this problem and this project shows how far the industry has already come.
What better time to announce the success of this all-female team than International Women’s Day. The day’s #PressForProgress theme is about all out efforts need to strive for equality in the workplace, especially in terms of both pay and promotion.
The development is part of Yorkshire Housing’s wider commitment of building 3,120 new homes by 2021 and I hope to see a continued strong female presence with the upcoming developments.
For more information, head to the Yorkshire Housing website: yorkshirehousing.co.uk.