The Octagon Group expand the Land & Planning team further


Earlier this year, The Octagon Group appointed Alex Potter as Strategic Land Manager, to further expand the luxury developer’s Land team, which has more than doubled in the past two years.

Finishing university with a degree in Real Estate Management, Alex entered the world of residential development with national housebuilder Persimmon Homes as a graduate land buyer. Alex benefitted from their thorough grounding before embarking upon London to deal with larger urban regeneration sites. Key experiences gained at leading G15 housing associations Peabody and Hyde included a 153-unit STP deal in the Old Kent Road, as well as a 1227-unit planning application, working alongside Barratt London in a JV on the former Kodak factory in Harrow.

“I was drawn into property due to the sociable nature of the industry, working cohesively in multi-disciplinary teams to overcome challenges and reach the end goal together. I love meeting and relating with people. I’ve come to learn that the role of a land buyer is essentially the piece of glue in the equation – co-ordinating everything behind a successful bid.” Alex explains.

Alex has also relished a couple of years spent self-employed, after setting up his own independent land agency in the wake of the Covid restrictions of 2020 and seeking a bold new challenge – in what eventually proved to be a highly opportunistic market rebound. Invaluable skills and confidence were gained identifying smaller off-market development sites, and then approaching landowners directly, eventually brokering several transactions with SME developers. It is this unique background that set Alex on the path to Octagon, bringing a multi-perspective insight and breadth of experiences to the exciting freshly created position at this heritage company.

“I realised that while I learnt an awful lot from my time working at very large organisations, and alone, I was looking for something that offered the perfect balance – with a well-established bespoke private developer really appealed to me, as they have more commercial flexibility and can react much quicker to opportunities and risks presented. Octagon really ticks that box for me.”

Sourcing medium term strategic sites for both prime Octagon, as well as their recently formed upper mid-market brand, Chancery Homes – Alex is responsible for driving initial contact with landowners and agents, analysing a site’s planning, technical and financial viabilities, before preparing comprehensive offer proposals, and negotiating terms of purchase thereafter, for those great sites deemed worthy of pursuit for the Group.

“The Octagon name definitely gives us the edge. If you’re involved in the property market, particularly in Surrey and South West London, Octagon has a fantastic reputation and you certainly know the build quality is synonymous with the brand.

I’m finding that with my interactions and negotiations with landowners, this strong existing reputation for design excellence and professionalism really helps set us apart from the competition when it comes to vendors working with the Octagon Group. This intense design-led focus enables us to unlock the usual anti-development sentiment of local communities, and inspire local authorities to get on board and excited about our development proposals.”

“That’s what I’ve seen a lot of with Octagon so far, people know we deliver award winning schemes – caring very much about our projects, and I’m delighted to be a part of that brand ethos, with hopefully many more awards to come!”

“I’m really looking forward to sharpening my knowledge further by learning even more from the expertise of the vastly experienced and commercially savvy Land team, and other departments. I also hope to integrate some of my own key experience, business relationships and background to the company, especially when it comes to the continued growth of Chancery Homes in Greater London and Southern England.”

Also part of Octagon’s Land team is Joe Raimondo, Land Acquisition Assistant. Working in the property industry for almost 15 years, and then turning to IT recruitment, Joe’s day to day now includes assessing potential sites, working alongside Alex as well as Land Directors Andy Cook and Will Simons.

Joe comments: “One of my favourite things about this role is the dynamic approach – we can be working on 7 or 8 pieces of land at one time, and it’s great to have such an in depth look at each site. The unique sites truly do stand out”.

The Octagon Group CEO, Tim Banks, comments;It’s fantastic to have both Alex and Joe on board within the Land team and be able to expand this part of the business so significantly in the past 12 months. Alongside bringing planning in-house, this has made a huge difference already, with Octagon able to secure several highly competitive sites for development recently, across all brands in the Group.”

Octagon is actively looking for design-led sites for all sizes of developments, be it one off houses to low rise developments of up to 100 units. With multiple brands under the Octagon name, there is a broad spectrum of land required – the in-house team of land buyers, planners and architects, enables Octagon to move quickly on exciting opportunities.

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