Urban Splash appoints new Liverpool boss

Urban Splash has appointed James Hill, formerly property director at housing association the Riverside Group, as its new managing director in Liverpool.

Hill replaces longstanding Urban Splash Liverpool MD Bill Maynard who leaves this week to go travelling around the world for two years.

Previously a planner with Liverpool City Council, Maynard, 51, joined Urban Splash when it began 15 years ago and invested a modest sum into the business. He sold his 2% stake back to the firm making a several hundredfold return as part of the group's recent £125m refinancing and restructuring, which saw several directors become shareholders for the first time.

Maynard said: "It is with great sadness that I am to leave Urban Splash and leave the buzz of working in Liverpool. I've seen the city go through so many changes during my career and am proud to see what has been achieved, particularly by Urban Splash. Since I joined the company we've made a real mark. The transformation of the Ropewalks for example has created a thriving residential and commercial district, driving activity to a new area of the city."

Urban Splash Liverpool has a development programme with an end value of £650m including such major schemes as the redevelopment of the former Littlewoods building on Edge Lane, the residential-led Tribeca on Great George Street as well as projects in Morecambe, Southport and Leeds.

Hill worked with Urban Splash on several overlapping schemes including a joint venture at Old Haymarket in Liverpool when he was at Maritime Housing Association.

Hill said: "Hopefully I can bring the necessary development skills to replace Bill, who is a hard act to follow, and a good knowledge of Liverpool's property community.

"Moving to the private sector from the relative security of housing associations obviously required some careful consideration but when Urban Splash makes you an offer it is quite hard to turn it down."

Prior to his role with Riverside, Hill was executive director with one of its subsidiaries, Berrybridge Housing, managing 4,000 properties under a council stock transfer in Liverpool.

His appointment reaffirms the developer's increasing focus on the social housing market and Hill said shared equity products would be a mainstay of future developments.

Tom Bloxham, chairman of Urban Splash, added: "Bill has done a fantastic job for Urban Splash in Liverpool. I know he's as proud as I am of the changes we've made. Schemes such as Old Haymarket and Ropewalks simply wouldn't have happened without Bill and Liverpool is a better city thanks to his hard work.

"I am also pleased that Bill's modest investment of a few thousand in the company in its early days has repaid him handsomely with a several hundred fold return. Bill always said he'd only be here for a few years but ended up staying for 15 so I know how much he's looking forward to taking life a bit easier on his trip around the world.

"It's also great to have James on board. He knows Liverpool well and his experience at Riverside will be incredibly useful to us as we increase our affordable housing offering."

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