People: Placefirst; Jones Homes; Primas Law; Hill Dickinson

Darran Lawless

Build-to-rent developer, Placefirst, has appointed Darran Lawless as property development director to drive UK growth.

The Salford-based developer specialises in transformational built-to-rent schemes with a focus on placemaking, that provide residents a real alternative to home ownership. Darran will be guiding new opportunities for this, leading the acquisition, development, planning and design teams, following through to the onsite project commencement.

Darran has more than 30 years’ experience in the property sector, having joined from Peel L&P as its development director responsible for Liverpool Waters for the last three years. Prior to this, he held director roles within Cheshire East Council and Muse Developments for 17 years.

In addition to overseeing new developments, Darran will be responsible for continuing, and building upon strategic relationships, working with internal teams as well as external providers and partnerships. He will lead the company’s geographical growth across the UK with ambitious plans to expand its portfolio.

Darran said: “I am genuinely excited about joining Placefirst to significantly expand and grow the business which is recognised as a leader and award winner of build-to-rent communities. As the need for affordable family rental housing is greater than ever, I look forward to working closely with local authorities, landowners and other housebuilders to accelerate construction and delivery, by offering an alternative to home ownership and sharing development risk, and acquiring existing investments and estates.”

David Mawson, chief executive at Placefirst, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Darran to Placefirst, bringing with him decades of experience in the sector, working on some major, high profile projects. He has fantastic attention to detail and a drive to follow projects through which will be vital for taking our developments from concept to completion.”


Jones Homes has appointed a new construction director to oversee developments across its Lancashire division.

Wayne Eccles, 48, has two decades’ experience in management roles within the housebuilding industry, and joins the Alderley Edge-based company from Miller Homes.

After starting his career in road construction and groundworks, Wayne became an assistant site manager around 20 years ago before working his way through the ranks to the role of contracts manager, a position he held for the past seven years.

Based at Jones Homes Lancashire’s head office in Lytham St Anne’s, Wayne’s new role will see him head up a team of more than 20 people within the division’s construction department.

Wayne Eccles

Wayne, who lives in Leyland, said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the team at Jones Homes, a family-owned housebuilder with a proud reputation for delivering homes of the highest standard. Building high quality homes is what I love the most, and the Jones Homes product is second to none. Over the last few weeks I’ve visited our sites across Lancashire and Cumbria, meeting the team and familiarising myself with the company’s processes.”

David Ruffley, regional director of Jones Homes Lancashire, said: “Wayne brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from his 20 years in the industry, and we are pleased that he has chosen to take the next step in his career with Jones Homes. Wayne has quickly established himself as a valuable member of the team and I look forward to working alongside him to drive the business forward in the years ahead.”

Jones Homes Lancashire is currently building new homes in Mawdesley, Rufford and Poulton-le-Fylde in Lancashire and Kendal in Cumbria, with additional sites planned in both Lancashire and Cumbria over the coming months.


Legal firm, Primas Law, has recently undergone a spree of hiring and promotions in line with its bold plans for growth this year.

The firm recently promoted associate, Tim Dillon, to the role of senior associate within the real estate team. Tim has worked at Primas Law since 2017 and is highly experienced in handling complex agreements for purchasers as well as broader real estate matters.

Alongside Tim, Ann-Marie Daly has also successfully completed her traineeship at Primas Law and is now solicitor within the real estate arm of the firm, having worked her way up from paralegal in 2018.

Primas Law has also made a further three appointments in line with a growing demand for its services.

New to the growing corporate and commercial department is solicitor Alena Makarevich who joins the firm after working as in-house counsel for a global petrochemicals company where she was commercial and corporate counsel.

The firm’s insolvency arm has also welcomed experienced restructuring and insolvency solicitor, Usama Sheikh, who joins the Primas Law from Hill Dickinson.

Adam Kerr

Lynne Ashton has also been appointed as the firm’s HR manager to support with its growing employee base.

Adam Kerr, managing partner, said: “It’s a really exciting time for all the team at Primas Law and it’s fantastic to recognise the hard work of existing members of the team through promotions while also bringing in some new faces.

“We’re really keen to achieve our ambitious growth plans in the coming months, and these strategic appointments are a really big part of that. We’ve been working hard to develop our service offering over the past twelve months and are delighted to see profitable growth across the firm as a whole.”

The growing law firm, which has offices in Cheshire, Manchester and London, has big plans for further growth and expansion. This latest raft of recruits takes its team to 39.


Commercial law firm Hill Dickinson has made two new appointments to its family team.

Senior associate Ellie Webster and associate Laura Bond join the growing team.

Ellie Webster

Joanne Raisbeck, head of family at Hill Dickinson, said: “Our family law team has seen a significant increase in demand for our services over the last 18 months and the international nature of the work we undertake has become ever more complex. I am, therefore, delighted to welcome Ellie and Laura to the team and look forward to working with them to further grow our family practice.

“Their individual and combined areas of expertise will undoubtedly add strength and depth to our well established team.”

As a Resolution-accredited specialist, Ellie Webster brings with her a wealth of experience with a special focus on complex private child law.

Laura Bond

Laura Bond joins the firm having gained valuable experience from a niche family practice. Hill Dickinson’s family law team provides advice on all areas of family law and has extensive experience in handling complex and high value matrimonial disputes, nuptial agreements, internal and international relocation cases and other private children law matters.

The team is ranked Band 1 in the Chambers legal directory for Liverpool and surrounding area and family team head, Joanne Raisbeck, is named as a North West Next Generation Partner in The Legal 500.

Sarah McCarthy, senior chartered legal executive, is also recognised for her excellent reputation in the North West market.

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