People: Harris Lamb; Warwickshire College Group; TLT

Harris Lamb has appointed a new director to its planning consultancy team, bringing national planning consultancy, house-building industry and public sector experience to the business.

Jolande Bowater joins the business from Keepmoat, where she worked within the technical and land & partnerships teams, responsible for planning advice and strategy for all bid and pre-development sites across the West Midlands and the Southwest.

She has previously worked for Crest Nicholson, Rectory Homes and Barton Willmore.

Head of planning, Simon Hawley, said: “My colleagues and I already know Jolande well, having worked alongside her within her previous roles, and we are delighted to have her on board.

“Due to her extensive consultancy experience, Jolande has a detailed knowledge of the planning system, legislation, policy and best practice, and a wealth of experience in leading, managing and advising on site potential and planning opportunities through appraisals, applications and land promotions to add value and achieve deliverable permissions. Jolande has an excellent reputation within the industry and is certain to be a huge asset to the business.”

Bowater added: “I am delighted to join the team at Harris Lamb and look forward to working alongside both old and new planning colleagues as well as those in other teams across the business.  Everyone has been so welcoming. I am excited to move back into consultancy and keen to meet clients and help grow the business.”



A group of colleges in Warwickshire and Worcestershire has appointed a new CEO and principal.

Sara-Jane Watkins has been appointed to the senior position at WCG (Warwickshire College Group) which includes six colleges across the Midlands and will start in September.

She is currently serving as college principal at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS) and has held the position since 2015, also operating as deputy chief executive of the SGS Group, which includes SGS Academy Trust, SGS Commercial Service and the college.

Sara-Jane Watkins

She has also chaired the department for education development fund for Gloucestershire, helping to secure £5m for developing low carbon training resources.

Watkins has a background in the land-based sector and achieved a degree in countryside planning from the University of Gloucestershire in 1997.

She joined Hartpury College after graduation and progressed to be communications director, before joining SGS in 2002 as director of corporate planning.

She said: “I am honoured and excited to be stepping into this role. With over 20 years of experience in Further Education and five years at a land-based college, I bring a deep commitment to advancing the educational opportunities for both our rural and urban

“My dedication to education has always been driven by the belief that every student deserves access to high-quality learning experiences, and I am eager to continue this mission at WCG. I’m looking forward to working with our talented staff and students, who are the backbone of the college, and fostering strong partnerships with local and regional stakeholders.

“Collaboration will be key as we work to secure investment and necessary support to provide the best possible resources and opportunities for our learning community. I am eager to contribute to the ongoing success of the college and to make a positive
impact on the lives of our students and ensure we remain a vital resource for the communities and businesses we serve.”

Gill Clipson, chair of the Corporation for WCG, said: “We are looking forward to maintaining the high quality of our provision and the strong reputation which we have established as Sara- Jane leads us through the next stage of development for WCG, focused on excellence in all we do and serving the needs of our local communities. We would like to thank Peter Husband for his excellent work as interim CEO and Principal over the last six months.”




Law firm TLT has made a senior appointment to its Birmingham office, as Charlie Rae, joins as a partner in the firm’s employment team.  

Specialist employment lawyer Charlie Rae brings over 20 years of experience advising employers and senior executives on a full range of employment law issues. 

Charlie Rae

He has worked in Birmingham throughout his career qualifying and spending 12 years at Pinsent Masons followed by a further 12 years at Shoosmiths. 

His experience includes advising employers across a range of sectors, on matters such as large-scale restructuring and outsourcing projects, senior executive hires and departures, and complex disciplinary and grievance matters.  

 Mark Elder, partner and head of location in Birmingham said:It’s been an outstanding first six months for TLT in Birmingham with the team welcoming some of the best legal talent in the city. We have also recently leased additional floor space in our office building to accommodate new senior hires, a testament to the growth we’re seeing and the level of interest there is in our proposition. It’s great to have Charlie as part of the team.”  

Rae said:I’m delighted to join TLT at such an exciting time in the firm’s development. My decision to join was inspired by the firm’s undoubted commitment to fully establish itself in Birmingham and in recent years I couldn’t help but notice the positive feedback about the firm, and the accolades it has achieved.  It’s been such a long time since a firm with the profile and ambition of TLT seriously invested in the Birmingham market and did so whilst remaining true to the values that made the firm successful in the first place.  It made a move to TLT, to support its future growth plans, an irresistible opportunity.” 

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