Wednesday 19th January 2022

Change at the helm of Rural Homes Limited

Alan Fox retires on 31 January as Managing Director of Rural Homes Limited (RHL), the development arm of SDR, where he has worked since August 2015.

RHL delivers cost-effective development projects for SDR and gift aids its profits to the parent company, which has charitable status.

Alan has been working in the profession for over 48 years, and has specialised in the field of housing development, in particular the delivery of affordable housing schemes for sale and rent (including social rent).

For the past 16 years his focus has been working with communities and community-led development, and has helped a number of rural communities deliver a wide range of affordable homes for local people. He has been an accredited Technical Advisor for the National Community Land Trust Network.


Alan’s successor as MD at Rural Homes Ltd. is James Gurpinar, who moves from his previous post as a Building Surveyor and Employer’s Agent at Randall Simmonds, a professional construction consultancy based in Newton Abbot.

Raised in Worcestershire, James moved to Devon in 1998. He ran his own construction business, gaining experience in construction and refurbishment and an understanding of the strategic and operational challenges of delivering and maintaining housing stock.

Deciding on a change of career direction, he studied for an RICS* accredited BSc (Hons) in Building Surveying and the Environment from the University of Plymouth.

He went on to work as a building surveyor for Teign Housing and later for Haldons Construction Consultants in Torquay, before joining Randall Simmonds in 2019.


James lives in Newton Abbot with his wife and their four young children. The family spend a lot of time in outdoor pursuits – camping, kayaking and enjoying the coast and countryside. James is a music lover, a keen cook and a sports fan.

On joining SDR in January, James said: “I’m due to achieve RICS Chartered Surveyor status in 2022. I’m looking forward to making the most of this new opportunity within an expanding organisation where I can apply my experience and add genuine value to an existing team whilst making the role my own”.

Christine Candlish, Chief Executive of SDR, said: “I’d like to thank Alan Fox for the tremendous effort he has put in to take our development arm to the strong position it’s now in. I also wish Alan the long and happy retirement that he richly deserves.

“We extend a warm welcome to James Gurpinar, who we are confident will do a great job as Alan’s successor, helping us to deliver a range of affordable housing projects in the years to come”.

*Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.