Derby-born Darren joined the Woodall Homes team in January 2022, working out of our main office in Chesterfield.
As our new Planning Director, Darren is responsible for the planning proposals for all of our upcoming developments, working closely with the wider team to design sustainable sites which foster community.
Tell us a bit about your previous role (s) before moving to Woodall – Where did you work and for how long? How did you get into the industry?
Following graduation from University, I cut my planning career teeth at Nottingham City Council in the early noughties, Over the course of 12 years, I progressed to senior roles both within development management and planning policy, completing my Town Planning Masters degree along the way.
After my degree was complete I decided to move into private practice planning consultancy, first at Freeths LLP, then DLP Planning Ltd. In my time at both Freeths and DLP, I dealt with a wide range of developments across the country for a variety of clients.
What attracted you to Woodhall Homes?
Woodall Homes were an existing client of mine during my consultancy time for a period of around three years, where I delivered a number of permissions to add to their excellent portfolio and got to know their team well.
Having witnessed the growth of Woodall Homes over recent years, both in terms of portfolio and personnel, alongside the Business Growth Fund’s recent investment, it was a fantastic opportunity presented to me to come and join the team as Planning Director.
With family in the Derbyshire area and the opportunities the role will afford me within Woodall, as local housebuilder to the region, I’m excited to be part of and able to influence our ambitious growth plans for the future.
What will your role involve at Woodall? What will be your day-to-day activities? Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to doing in your new role?
My role as Planning Director primarily involves ensuring the land within our portfolio has the requisite planning permissions in place to enable the successful delivery of the development on the ground. This includes identification and initial assessment of land during potential acquisition, evolving proposals, and working closely with the project team to ensure an appropriate scheme is proposed to the local planning authority whilst effectively managing the application process to, all being well, secure a successful outcome.
As part of this it’s important that I continue to build relationships with the local community, authorities, and key stakeholders to ensure that our developments add quality to the local environment and are attractive to future occupiers.
What do you hope to bring to the team?
As a Chartered Town Planner with 20 years of experience, I have a wealth of knowledge that I believe will complement the existing skillset of the current Woodall team.
I have an excellent understanding of the planning system and its legislative framework, with great practical experience concerning a wide range of development proposals at a variety of scales across the country. I feel this experience will undoubtedly make a valued contribution to the firm and help deliver the ambitious growth plans.
I also make a cracking cup of tea!