Chris Huntly-Gordon

"I really like the fact it’s an industry that is unique in its combination of intense commercial focus with creating something tangible and real."

Job Title: Assistant Development Manager

Employer: Crest Nicholson PLC

Job: Land Manager

About my job

What does your department do?

The department is responsible for all land and development matters across Crest Nicholson Regeneration’s portfolio. This entails acquisitions, planning and development delivery.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

For acquisitions it would be managing the financial appraisals, which involves deriving and evolving all the assumptions which underpin the financial model. This corresponds with a scheme design which will be optimised throughout the acquisition process - the extent of optimisation is subject to the scale of the site. This requires management and liaison with the consultant team to develop the scheme whilst in simultaneity ensuring it concords with the Business Plan.

I’m currently working on a very large strategic planning application which encompasses a variety of interrelated actions. The majority of time is spent managing and instructing an extensive consultant team. This entails organising and managing design workshops, local authority meetings and assembling critical information to progress the planning application together with the business plan.

What do you like about what you do?

I really like the fact it’s an industry that is unique in its combination of intense commercial focus with creating something tangible and real.

On large scale sites the business plan and overall development proposition is complex. It is an intellectual challenge - there are many interlinked variables and specialisms that have to work together to achieve a commercially successful scheme.

Aside from the commerciality, the end result is the creation of a place where people and families will live. The creation of a successful place is rewarding – and this is reliant on the right design and planning approach.

Why did you choose this career?

Since I was very young I’ve had a fascination with the built environment and its various forms. I was also interested in the commercial means to which places are created, not the detailed technical specialisms such as architecture and engineering, but what I have discovered to be land buying and development!

What qualifications did you need to get this job?

I did BSc Urban Planning at University College London. I think this helped with regard to my CV however any degree relating to economics, the built environment or human geography would help. Thereafter I’ve learnt it’s all about having a hard-working, dynamic and positive attitude.

Is there any particular advice you would give to someone looking for a career in your area of work?

I strongly think you need a fundamental interest or passion for this field of work. It can be a tough and challenging line of work and it’s the interest and passion which propels you through!

Questions & Answers

What hobbies or interests do you have?

I go to the gym as often as I can. I box. I voluntarily work and have worked with charities that work with young offenders, again this relates to the built environment because in most cases these characters come from failing neighbourhoods.

What’s your favourite type of music?


What’s your favourite film / film genre?


Where’s your favourite place to go on holiday?

Anywhere with sun and a bar(s)!