Willmott Dixon has appointed Stuart Belfield as operations director and Richard Sterling as sales and marketing manager as part of plans to grow its house building business in the north of England.

The company already builds 1,500 homes a year, mainly in the South East, and has been growing its presence in the North Midlands housing market during the past 12 months, securing several large schemes including the £23 million programme to deliver 197 new retirement homes in Derbyshire for Chevin Housing Association, a member of the Together Housing Group.

The appointments of Stuart and Richard are key elements in a drive to extend the company’s geographic reach into the North after it secured a place on all four regional lots of the HCA’s Delivery Partner Panel 2 framework, which is used to procure construction of homes on land owned by HCA and other public sector bodies. The company’s housing aspirations for the region are also strengthened by being on further key frameworks; Scape, The Cutting Edge Framework and Procure Plus New Build Framework.

Stuart was previously regional managing director for Mansell in the North West, while Richard worked alongside Stuart as business development manager.

Willmott Dixon is a significant player in the wider construction market in the North, with offices in Oldham, Leeds and Newcastle delivering an annual turnover approaching £150 million. This platform will be used to expand the company’s house building capability in the region.

Stuart says, “When Willmott Dixon outlined its ambitious growth plans for the North, the opportunity to help shape this was too good to miss. Willmott Dixon has a compelling market proposition as one of the country’s largest housing contractors; we’re looking forward to delivering this potential in the North.”

Stuart and Richard bring 30 years of experience in the housing sector. Charlie Scherer, chief operating officer at Willmott Dixon’s housing business said, “Our position on frameworks like the HCA’s Delivery Partner Panel 2 and existing office network in the North gives us real confidence we can grow significantly over the next few years. Stuart and Richard will be key players in how we shape that proposition and help clients deliver their plans to meet the demand for quality, affordable homes.”

The move to expand in the North follows a surge of new contracts in the South East this year, which include starting work on the last stage of the Church End estate regeneration in Neasden, the ten-year Aberfeldy Village regeneration in Tower Hamlets, the Brentford Lock West regeneration next to Grand Union Canal, new care home village in Ascot and the next phase of Greenwich Millennium Village. This took the amount of housing work secured by Willmott Dixon in 2013 to nearly £200 million.