Press Releases Archives - Placefirst

Placefirst submits planning application for final phase at Welsh Streets in Liverpool

Award winning build-to-rent provider Placefirst has submitted a planning application for the sixth and final stage of its iconic Welsh Streets neighbourhood in Liverpool.

The development is set to deliver a terrace of 13 new homes. This will consist of five family 3 bedroom homes, a mix of 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, and a wheelchair accessible ground floor apartment.  There will also be a brand new dedicated community hub where the resident services managers will be based, allowing them to continue a supportive on site presence, and a focus on community engagement initiatives.

Designed as a traditional terrace by MBED Architects, phase six will add to the high-quality, energy efficient homes Placefirst has created in the area, all developed specifically for rent.

Prior to submission, Placefirst underwent pre-application discussions with Liverpool City Council and also held a public consultation with local residents. If approved, work on the final phase is expected to begin before the end of the year and be completed by the end of 2023.

In total the overall Welsh Streets neighbourhood will deliver 283 homes, a mix of refurbished and new build, and a vibrant community of over 480 residents. The design has been carefully considered to be in-keeping with the existing street scene and character of the surrounding area. The scheme will have delivered an investment of £40m, with residents contributing an annual £1.7m spend to the local economy.

James Litherland, planning and development manager at Placefirst commented: “Our plans at Welsh Streets respond to the unprecedented demand we are seeing for quality energy efficient homes that are built specifically for renters.  We have consulted with residents and the Council to take their comments on board and will continue to work with them throughout the application process.

“The Welsh Streets is a flagship project for Placefirst, and shows our commitment to placemaking and urban regeneration, designing our homes with our residents at front of mind. We want to create a legacy at Welsh Streets and look forward to seeing phase six progress as the neighbourhood reaches completion.”

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Placefirst completes £8m BTR apartment scheme in Manchester

Placefirst’s new £8m build-to-rent development of 53 high-quality apartments in Longsight, Manchester has completed, with the first residents now moved in.

Since launching at the end of February, Elevate has been incredibly popular, achieving an impressive 85% pre let figure by completion. This is testament to the high quality of the furnished apartments, with new residents also benefitting from great connectivity to Manchester city centre.

Completion represents an exciting milestone for the award-winning build-to-rent provider, and the project has brought back into use a disused former Jobcentre to create a thriving development of energy efficient, pet-friendly homes, designed specifically for the modern renter.

Work on Elevate began in 2021 to deliver a mix of studio, 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments, with ground floor residents benefitting from the luxury of private entrances. Upon completion, the ground, first and second floors are fully let, with just a few apartments remaining on the brand new top floor.

Residents will be moving into an exciting community with a dedicated resident services manager on hand to help them settle in and manage any queries, as well as a range of amenities including allocated parking, bike stores and electric car charging points.

The regeneration specialists worked with Project 3 Architects to repurpose the building and add a new rooftop extension, which gives it a new lease of life and accommodates eight apartments with stunning views across the city.

Placefirst is a leader in the build-to-rent market and Elevate extends its track record of creating sustainable neighbourhoods across the country with dedicated resident services teams. This has been bolstered by the team’s recent win of Residential Operator of The Year at the North-West Residential Property Awards.

Ian Chatburn, customer experience director at Placefirst commented: “Elevate has been an exciting project for us and our vision of creating a contemporary, high-spec apartment scheme in Manchester’s up-and-coming area of Longsight has truly been met. We are proud to be 85% pre-let upon completion and enjoyed welcoming our first residents. With fantastic links to the city and a specialist resident services manager on hand to support residents, we’re delighted to have hit the completion milestone, and look forward to watching the Elevate community thrive.”

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Skye Edge Drone 2021

Placefirst reports record growth and portfolio expansion

Leading and award-winning build-to-rent provider Placefirst has reported record property portfolio growth, demonstrating continued commitment to expansion plans.

The regeneration specialist has doubled its portfolio since January 2021 and has hit an important milestone of 1500 homes. Placefirst is on track to reach a projected milestone of 6500 homes by 2026.

This milestone follows a year of major development success in 2021, bolstering Placefirst’s reputation as a front runner in the build-to-rent industry with a proven track record of creating quality homes designed specifically for long-term renters.

One key project has been the launch of ‘Elevate’, an £8m apartment scheme in Manchester. Elevate has brought back into use a former Jobcentre by repurposing the building and adding a new top floor to give it a new lease of life. The scheme is now in its final stages and delivers 53 modern apartments. Elevate will complete in spring 2022 and has attracted huge interest, hitting a pre let figure of 75% this week.

In addition to Elevate, both Placefirst’s Skye Edge and Scholars View developments are also due to complete in spring 2022. And the final phase of Placefirst’s iconic award-winning Welsh Streets development in Liverpool, which began in 2016, will be submitted for planning in the autumn.

To support the growth plans, Placefirst is continuing to develop its pipeline across the UK. Standout schemes include Esh Winning, which received planning approval at the end of last year. The brownfield site will be transformed into a neighbourhood of 89 new homes, and will be the largest delivery of bungalows in a generation. Work is set to start on site this year.

In Bolton, Placefirst is working on an exciting scheme in collaboration with Bolton Council. The project is set to deliver over 150 rental homes in the town centre as part of a significant regeneration project.

A £65m residential scheme in Wolverhampton for 366 new homes and commercial space as part of a major regeneration project in the heart of the city’s historic Canalside Quarter, also received full planning approval in the final quarter of 2021.

Placefirst is committed to creating thriving neighbourhoods with a strong sense of place, operating an end-to-end service which includes a dedicated resident services manager and community engagement initiatives.

The last two years have seen the landscape of the private rental market change as people look to move to areas that offer a sense of place, and provision to stay long-term. Placefirst’s homes are designed to provide everything you could want for modern living with pets allowed, private and communal garden areas, strong sustainability credentials and quality guaranteed by delivering homes that are designed specifically for rent.

David Mawson, chief executive at Placefirst comments: “We are delighted to have doubled our portfolio in the past year. The 1500 homes milestone is an incredible achievement for the business, extends our track record as a specialist in the single family housing market, and is a culmination of the hard work that is put into each of our developments. We provide an end-to-end service; designing, letting and managing every neighbourhood and always keep high quality and our residents at the forefront of our values.

“The impact of our developments has been fantastic; we have a track record of delivering high-spec homes to our communities through placemaking and innovative regeneration. We are excited about future projects and look forward to continuing our success.”

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Placefirst releases new internal images of £8m BTR apartment scheme in Manchester

Placefirst’s new £8m Longsight apartment scheme has been named ‘Elevate’ alongside a first glimpse of the scheme’s interiors.

The transformation of the former job centre in Longsight will deliver 53 high-spec apartments for rent and will be ready for residents to move into in Spring.

The building has been named Elevate, as a huge part of the renovation of the old job centre has been the construction of a new top floor. In addition to this rooftop extension, the rest of the building has been totally redesigned to create a range of stunning new homes with multiple layouts. The name Elevate also gives a nod to the quality fixtures and finishes in these new apartments, elevating the building and giving it a new lease of life.

This first look at the apartment interiors reveals stylish homes with beautiful finishes throughout, designed to the highest quality and with the modern renter in mind.

Every apartment features a brand new high-spec kitchen and bathroom, timber effect flooring, plush bedroom carpets and large windows allowing an abundance of natural light. All apartments will be furnished, including velvet sofas, on trend dining room furniture, and bedroom packs.

Elevate also includes a range of amenities including on site allocated parking, electric car charging points, and a bike store.

In a great location with easy and quick access to Manchester city centre, Elevate is also located close to the bars and restaurants of Levenshulme.

Work began on the scheme in 2021, and comprises a mix of studio, 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments. The rooftop extension accommodates eight apartments, with stunning views of the Manchester city skyline. Ground floor residents will have the luxury of private entrances and dual aspects with windows at the front and rear.

Placefirst have worked with Project 3 Architects to repurpose and transform the former job centre, paying close attention to sustainability, energy efficiency and modern design.

Applications have now opened and interested renters can book to visit the scheme and view the brand-new show apartments.  All apartments are available for long-term let, with prices starting from £650 pcm.

As a professional landlord, Placefirst has also appointed a dedicated resident services manager for Elevate, ensuring that residents can rely on an exceptional experience from viewing to move-in.

Ian Chatburn, customer experience director at Placefirst commented: “We are thrilled to reveal the name and first glimpse of the show apartments at ‘Elevate’, which will bring 53 modern apartments for rent to the market. Our vision was to give this former job centre a new lease of life; we have created an exciting apartment scheme with high quality finishes, which our new residents will be proud to call home. We are excited to officially launch applications and for the first viewings to start this weekend.

“As a leading build-to-rent provider, Placefirst have a strong track record of creating exciting places for people to live by offering excellent services for all residents to enjoy and sustainable, modern living. Elevate is no exception and serves as an example of our commitment to providing best in class homes.”

With the 53 apartments expected to reserve quickly, Elevate is on track to be fully completed in Spring 2022 for residents to move in.

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Placefirst CGI Longsight Manchester Apartments

Placefirst Reaches Construction Milestone at Manchester Residential Scheme

Placefirst’s £8m Manchester residential scheme of 53 high quality apartments in Longsight has topped out. Placefirst is a leading and award-winning build-to-rent provider with over 1,300 homes, and a further 1,000 in the pipeline and under construction.

Work on the development began in March 2021. The topping out represents an exciting construction milestone, with the former job centre’s rooftop extension now complete and the building reaching its highest point.

The rooftop extension has given a new lease of life to this building and will accommodate eight homes with stunning views across to the Manchester City Centre skyline. Ground floor residents will have the luxury of private entrances and dual aspects with windows at the front and rear.

The overall scheme comprises a mix of high-specification apartments, ranging from studios to 3 beds, and is on track for completion in Spring 2022.

Alongside the topping out, the internal fit out is also well underway and the build programme is making great progress. Interiors will include high quality, modern kitchens and bathrooms and residents can expect top spec finishes throughout and bright communal areas. All apartments will also be available with a furniture package, and show homes will be launching in the coming weeks.

Longsight has fantastic links to the centre of Manchester, making it an ideal location for commuters, and in turn shall add further value to the local community with increased footfall for amenities and leisure facilities.

Placefirst worked with Project 3 Architects to repurpose and transform the former job centre, paying close attention to sustainability and modern design. The regeneration specialists also partnered with an arboriculturist and Manchester City Council to plant new trees and install new public realm, also adding a perimeter hedge and protect high value trees in the southwest corner of the site.

Energy efficiency of the apartments will be maximised by incorporating renewable sources such as solar panels, improving Psi values to limit heat loss and electric panel heaters that have a high level of control for residents.

All apartments will be available for long-term let through Placefirst as part the professional landlord’s commitment to offering a viable alternative to outright home ownership. Residents will also benefit from a dedicated resident services manager as part of the developer’s dedication to high quality service and community engagement within their schemes.

David Mawson, chief executive at Placefirst commented: “We are excited to have reached this construction milestone where despite the challenges of the past year, the hard work undertaken by our team and partners has seen a former derelict building brought back into use, to transform it into a thriving, sustainable neighbourhood and providing 53 new homes.

“This development in the up-and-coming area of Longsight is another great demonstration of our commitment to placemaking and shall provide high-quality apartment living for local residents with excellent links to Manchester City Centre and surrounding areas.

“To see the building topping out is a great step in bringing this building back to life, and we look forward to its completion next year and residents moving in.”

Craig Smith, architect director for Project 3 Architects, added: “It has been fantastic to work in partnership with Placefirst on this project for the adaptive re-use of a former office building, and witness the completion of the roof structure. The rooftop extension, which has been designed to complement the existing surroundings, helps bring the building to life and will create desirable and attractive much-needed homes for local residents, whilst also offering stunning views of the city skyline.”

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Placefirst’s major £65m City Centre Regeneration Plans Approved by Wolverhampton Council

A proposal by Placefirst for a transformative regeneration scheme of 366 new homes and commercial space in the heart of Wolverhampton’s historic Canalside Quarter has been approved.

The £65m proposal directed by the leading UK build-to-rent provider is for an ambitious residential scheme, to be located close to Wolverhampton’s new £150m transport Interchange, on land off Lower Horseley Fields in the city centre.

Following approval at planning committee earlier in the year, full planning permission and listed building consent has now been granted.

The development will deliver a new canalside community as part of a wider regeneration project in the area, working alongside the City of Wolverhampton Council, Canal and River Trust and West Midlands Combined Authority. It will provide a mix of townhouses, new build apartments and commercial space across five acres of brownfield land.

Sensitive restoration of heritage canalside properties including several listed buildings, and major environmental improvements will be implemented in the scheme, which is designed by award-winning architecture practice jmarchitects, with WSP as planning and heritage consultants.

Included in the regeneration and Placefirst’s commitment to placemaking, a new promenade, public open spaces, landscaping and pedestrian access to the canal towpath will also be created, taking full advantage of the heritage waterways.

The development is part of Placefirst’s expansion to the West Midlands joining its portfolio of national regeneration projects, and once complete, will transform this former industrial area into a vibrant canalside community with a mix of housing options. Following site preparation, work is expected to start on site in Summer 2022.

Darran Lawless, development director for Placefirst commented: “We are delighted to receive full planning approval for this transformative development in Wolverhampton’s Canalside Quarter. We are proud of all the hard work undertaken by the whole team and our partners, that will enable a brownfiled site situated in such a historic location to reach its true potential, creating an exciting, sustainable new neighbourhood.

“The focus on placemaking and development of public realm at this ­waterside development, is another example of Placefirst’s commitment to delivering schemes that will rejuvenate communities, and adds to our track record of creating neighbourhoods with a real sense of place.”

Councillor Stephen Simkins, City of Wolverhampton Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “The full planning permission and listed building consent now gives Placefirst the green light to get this transformational scheme in Wolverhampton off the ground next year.

“They will deliver a nationally significant development that not only brings back into use a large parcel of brownfield land but also enables the city to take advantage of our fantastic waterways, and the heritage that comes with it, to provide a sustainable community where people want to live and work, now and in the future.

“The Placefirst scheme will also generate around 150 jobs and boost our economic recovery from Covid-19.

“Urban living forms a critical part of how we are re-imagining our city centre and will help us meet the increasing demand for housing.

“Canalside is a large and exciting opportunity and the Council is working hard with its partners to provide the determined and skilful leadership needed to realise opportunities like this.”

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Esh Winning CGI Placefirst

Plans approved for Placefirst’s £11m Durham residential scheme

Leading and award-winning build-to-rent provider Placefirst has had plans for an £11m residential development in Esh Winning approved by Durham County Council today.

The development is located six miles west of Durham city centre, and will transform a two-hectare brownfield site that has been derelict for over a decade, including the delivery of 54 bungalows – the largest delivery of bungalows in a generation.

Placefirst, in partnership with architect POD Newcastle and landscape architect Southern Green, will deliver 89 high-quality homes in total, a mix of bungalows and three-bedroom properties, to create a multi-generational community.

As regeneration specialists, Placefirst’s commitment to placemaking and sustainability is showcased through the creation of unique areas of open space and landscaping, which intergrate existing high value trees and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS).  The homes will also be modern and energy efficient, minimising fuel bills for residents.

All Placefirst homes and neighbourhoods are specifically designed and built for quality private rental. Esh Winning is no different, and the development is also set to provide a boost to the village, benefiting local services, businesses and amenities.  The site’s proximity to the open countryside and green space will be attractive to new residents, as well as being within short commuting distance to key areas of employment.

The planned development represents Placefirst’s continued dedication to the single family housing BTR market, and builds on their strong track record of delivering other schemes including The Welsh Streets in Liverpool, and Sky Edge in Sheffield.

Esh Winning will also follow in the footsteps of other successful Placefirst schemes in the region, such as The Green, a radical transformation of three streets of Victorian houses in Hartlepool, and the hugely popular Scholar’s View, a 116 home new build neighbourhood in Hetton-le-Hole in Sunderland, which is due to be completed in early 2022.

Darran Lawless, development director at Placefirst commented: “We are delighted that Durham County Council has approved our plans to transform this previously derelict site into a high-quality sustainable neighbourhood, with much needed new homes for the local area. This exciting scheme will build on our success within the North East where we are establishing a stunning portfolio of developments.

“Our track record of placemaking and building sustainable communities is reflected in our plans for Esh Winning, which will be a significant regeneration scheme, making a lasting and positive impact on the local community. We look forward to starting work onsite in 2022.”

Ward Councillor Marion Wilson said: “ This development will be a fantastic addition to Esh Winning.  It’s great to see that 54 much needed bungalows will be brought to the village along with family housing. This development will help support and retain local businesses and bring economic benefit to the area.”

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Central Street at the heart of Bolton regeneration plans

Space has been cleared for more than 150 town centre homes as another of Bolton Council’s key regeneration sites begins to take shape.

Council Leader, Cllr Martyn Cox, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Adele Warren, and Placefirst’s Development Director Darran Lawless, recently visited Central Street where a major development scheme is gathering momentum.

After securing Brownfield Housing Land funding, the site has now been cleared by Forshaw Demolition Limited ahead of work by leading and award-winning build-to-rent provider Placefirst to deliver over 150 homes, commercial units, and pedestrian-priority spaces.

Central Street will form part of the wider Croal Valley intervention area which will provide a mixture of riverside housing and green space alongside a reanimated River Croal.

The broader scheme will also provide a scenic active travel link between Queens Park and the town centre.

It is one of six key intervention areas in the Bolton town centre masterplan, with the council establishing a £100m fund to attract private sector investment.

The land at Central Street, including the shops and car park is owned by Bolton Council after it was acquired during 2018 and 2019.

Cllr Cox said: “There is visible progress being made at regeneration sites across the town centre and it was great to visit Central Street to see the work first-hand.

“A key part of our masterplan is redeveloping brownfield land and making the town centre a vibrant and attractive place to live.

“I look forward to watching the progress both at Central Street and at other sites in the weeks and months to come.”

Cllr Warren said: “Not only will this development provide much needed homes to meet growing demand, but the Croal Valley intervention area will also create green space and boost active travel.

“Along with last week’s news about the Bolton College of Medical Sciences and securing Greater Manchester Brownfield Housing funding for Farnworth, there is real momentum behind regeneration projects right across the borough.”

Darran Lawless, development director at Placefirst said:

“We’re excited to be involved in this transformational development with Bolton Council, to deliver new high-quality homes for rent in the town centre.

“Regeneration of this former brownfield site is another example of our dedication to placemaking and creating thriving neighbourhoods where people want to live.

“Visiting the site to see the progress the teams have made has been fantastic. We look forward to the progression of this project, and the boost it will provide to the local economy.”

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Plans approved to renovate Victorian Cottage within Placefirst’s Welsh Streets scheme

Award-winning build-to-rent provider Placefirst has had plans approved to renovate a derelict historical house and garage within their existing Welsh Streets scheme in Liverpool, to create three bespoke high-spec homes with retained period features.

As part of the penultimate phase of the impressive Welsh Streets development, work on Ivy Cottage will commence in 2022, integrating it into the wider regeneration of the overall development.

Placefirst is excited to bring back into use and secure the long-term future of Ivy Cottage, which was in danger of being lost. Designed by MBED Architects, attention to detail and retaining the property’s original features has been paramount. The material palette will be informed by and similar to that used on other existing buildings within the development.

Work began in 2016 on the Welsh Streets development in the Toxteth area of Liverpool. As well as fantastic links to the city centre and large local parks, the area is famous for featuring in the BBC drama Peaky Blinders, the birthplace of The Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, and previous home of Jean Alexander.

Since commencing, Welsh Streets comprises over 280 refurbished and new-build homes ranging from one to five bedrooms, spread across five streets. Work has also been completed across the site to create improved public realm, street planting and communal open space.

Placefirst has worked collaboratively with Liverpool City Council to bring life back to Welsh Streets, providing high-spec accommodation with private gardens, communal spaces and stylish interiors.

This stage signifies Placefirst’s continued commitment to the regeneration of the area and further activation of South Street, which will see this once secondary alley route become a safe and welcoming environment for residents.

David Mawson, chief executive for Placefirst, commented: “We are thrilled to receive planning approval for the transformative redevelopment of Ivy Cottage, a stunning historical building that shall be sensitively reused to create three bespoke family homes, and give the building a new lease of life.

“The attention to detail in retaining its period features will maintain its character and make it a stand out feature of the thriving Welsh Streets development.

“We look forward to the continued progression of this project and are proud to be bringing life back to a charming Victorian building, for new residents to enjoy.”

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Placefirst appoints new Chief Executive and Chairman to lead next phase of growth

Placefirst, one of the UK’s leading providers of award-winning rental communities, is pleased to announce the appointment of St Modwen veteran Bill Oliver as Chairman and Kier’s David Mawson as Chief Executive as the firm continues its ambitious expansion plans. Bill and David will begin in early March 2020, taking over from David Smith-Milne, Placefirst’s founder.

Bill, a veteran of the housebuilding market with over 35 years’ experience, currently serves as Non-Executive Deputy Chairman of Churchill Retirement Plc and Non-Executive Director of Safestore Holdings Plc. Bill retired from the Board of FTSE 250 property developer St Modwen in 2016, having joined as Finance Director in 2000 before stepping up the role of CEO four years later. Prior to St Modwen, he held roles at Barratt Developments, Alfred McAlpine, The Rutland Group and Dwyer Estates. A qualified Chartered Accountant, Bill was a member of the advisory board of the Government’s Regeneration Investment Organisation and a Land Commissioner for the West Midlands Combined Authority.

David Mawson is an experienced managing director with a track record in delivering organic development and profitable growth. He joins from Kier Group plc where he latterly led the group’s FM Business, Housing Maintenance Business and Environmental Business. Prior to Kier, David held a number of Director roles at Connaught and Wharfedale Developments and had a voluntary position as a Non-Executive Board Member of Community Gateway Housing Association.

Placefirst is a pioneer of the fast-growing BTR (build-to-rent) market and has delivered over 500 homes across the north of England, specialising in transforming neglected inner-urban neighbourhoods through innovative refurbishment, development and a commitment to community placemaking.

A blend of cornerstone and new investment from ESO Capital supports Placefirst’s ambitious growth plans. With a secured pipeline of over 1,500 homes and an ambition to deliver 4,000 homes by 2023, the company is set to expand from its north of England base into new regions including the Midlands and Scotland. The near-term development pipeline includes new sites at Wolverhampton, Bolton, Newcastle and Manchester.

The company has significantly broadened its senior executive team under the leadership of Placefirst founder David Smith-Milne, who led the business since its foundation in 2009 and has now stepped back from the managing director role as part of a transition plan. David was instrumental in shaping the strategy and building the strong relationships with local authorities, landowners and other stakeholders which set the foundations for strong future growth. David has sold a substantial amount of his stock in Placefirst to ESO Capital, albeit remains a significant shareholder. He is now exploring other property start-up ventures.

Bill Oliver, Chairman of Placefirst, commented:

Placefirst is one of the UK’s truly inspirational developers of rental housing, providing modern families with the quality homes they need. There is no coincidence that the build-to-rent market is growing rapidly as we struggle as a nation to solve the acute shorting of housing. I am very much looking forward to applying my experience to support Placefirst’s growth.

Bill Oliver


David Mawson, incoming Chief Executive of Placefirst, added:

I am delighted to be joining Placefirst at such an exciting time for the company. Through the strong leadership of founder David Smith-Milne, Placefirst has quickly established itself as a leader in the UK build-to-rent market and has an ambitious pipeline of funded growth. I’m looking forward to working with the talented Placefirst team and hitting the ground running when I join in early 2020.

David Mawson

David Smith-Milne, founder and former managing director of Placefirst, commented:

Having founded Placefirst some 10 years ago, I am proud that we are now firmly recognised as a pioneer in developing homes for rent properties. It is a testament to the team that Placefirst offers a genuine quality alternative to home ownership for the growing number of in-work households unable to access home ownership and our commitment to quality has resulted in over 20 national and regional awards over the last three years. I have no doubt that the firm will go from strength to strength.

David Christie, Head of ESO Real Estate, commented:

David Smith-Milne’s enthusiasm and drive to grow Placefirst was one of the key reasons we were attracted to first invest in the business back in 2016. We want to thank him for all his hard work and dedication and wish him well for the future. We welcome Bill Oliver and David Mawson, who offer a wealth of industry knowledge, and look forward to working with them as Placefirst pushes forward with its next phase of growth towards becoming a national leader in UK build-to-rent housing.

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