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Non-executive directors appointed to the pioneering Graven Hill Development

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Three non-executive directors have been appointed to the Graven Hill Village Development Board (GHVDC). The appointments were made by the its shareholder, Cherwell District Council.

The UK’s largest self-build and custom-build development, this pioneering project is the vision of Cherwell District Council and spans 188 hectares of former Ministry of Defence land. Almost 500 homes now occupy the site near Bicester, set in a wide range of green spaces.

A new primary school is now open, alongside a dentist, wine shop and cocktail bar, with a new coffee shop coming soon. The village will also have a community centre and other retail space.

The non-executive directors will bring their expertise and leadership to the board of GHVDC on an initial three-year appointment. They will provide independent advice and support, including overseeing the strategy and future direction of the development. They will also take on an ambassadorial role to ensure Graven Hill meets its full potential.

The new non-executive directors are Dr Elizabeth Rapoport, Terry Fuller and David Gelling.


Terry has spent his whole career in the housing profession as a contractor and developer with PLC companies and in public sector housing management. He was also instrumental in setting up Homes and Communities Agency and, subsequently, Homes England.

Terry has a combined 48 years of experience as both an Executive and Non-Executive Board Director with public and private organisations. He said: “I am honoured to be invited onto the Board of such a unique quality development and my aim is to support the company in achieving its ambitions.”

Dr Rapoport is an urbanist with over 20 years of experience working across sectors and disciplines to tackle big-picture and strategic challenges related to the built environment. She is the Director of Polygon Place Strategy, which she established to help businesses in the sector bridge the gap between strategy and implementation.

Previously Assistant Director for Strategy at Homes England and Director of Research and Advisory Services for the Urban Land Institute Europe, she has a doctorate in Urban Sustainability and Resilience from University College London, a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the London School of Economics and has authored numerous reports, articles and a book on city leadership. She is also a Non-Executive Director for Publica Community Interest Company and is a fellow with Zinc Ventures Builder.

Elizabeth said: “Graven Hill stands out as an innovator in the custom and self-build housing space, as well as showcasing the potential of council-owned developers to drive much-needed innovation in the housing industry. I am looking forward to working with the leadership team and board to help them build on their successes to date as they move into the next stage of development.”

As the third non-executive director to join GHVDC, David has delivered a wide variety of schemes across the residential, commercial, high-street and edge-of-town retail sectors across the UK. His experience also includes hotel and leisure schemes and strategic land promotion, featuring several joint ventures (JVs) with various public sector bodies that have delivered regeneration projects nationally.

His impressive portfolio includes partnership work with Cambridgeshire County Council, MPs, Privy Council, the Mayor of London and local politicians to assemble land for regeneration across London, as well as regenerating 1000 acres with Liverpool Council JV and Lower Broughton with Salford Urban Vision JV.

He sat on the British Property Federation Development Committee and has been a Council Member of the CBI representing the East of England. This is in addition to being a member of the Economic Research Council, the Oxford Real Estate Society and the Chartered Institute of Building.

Chair of GHVDC, Sue Smith, added: “We are delighted that Elizabeth, Terry and David have been appointed to our board. They bring a wealth of invaluable experience, vision and drive, contributing to the existing skill set of our board and will be fantastic ambassadors helping this exciting development meet its full potential.

“They will play a crucial role in ensuring we are well placed to continue to deliver our aspirations at Graven Hill, delivering much-needed new homes, providing a wide range of sustainable housing choices, including self-build opportunities and supporting the environment and the economy.”



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