Movers & Shakers: Robert Holbrook named managing director of Barratt Homes Eastern Counties

Robert Holbrook, the new managing director at housebuilder Barratt Homes Eastern Counties.

Robert Holbrook, the new managing director at housebuilder Barratt Homes Eastern Counties. - Credit: Archant

A new managing director has been appointed at leading housebuilder Barratt Homes Eastern Counties.

Robert Holbrook has taken over at the Chelmsford-based developer, which is currently building homes across Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.

Robert originally trained as a chartered accountant and joined Barratt Homes 14 years ago. Since then he has progressed through the organisation and worked as a regional finance director before being promoted to managing director. But his association with Barratt began long before he started working for the company as his first home was a Barratt property.

“The first house I ever bought in 1992 was a Barratt house. It was and still is a household name and so it’s fitting I am now a managing director at Barratt Homes. I have always worked in property and housebuilding has been a passion of mine so it is a great privilege to be in this position,” he said.

He is hoping to build on Barratt Homes Eastern Counties’ success. Last year the housebuilder constructed 587 homes and invested over £28million in communities near its developments.

“I’m both excited by the proposal of a new challenge and by the opportunity to work within a longstanding division which has a reputation for delivering high quality homes, supporting the local economy and giving customers their dream home,” he said.

::A senior adviser at car dealer Lindacre, based in Whitehouse Road, Ipswich, has scooped an industry award after going above and beyond the call of duty.

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Jane Crowe was given a Customer Service Ultimate Achievement award by Land Rover.

Managing director of Greg Rashbrook said the award was for excellent customer service.

“Jane took a call from a woman who was holidaying in France when her Discovery went into limp home mode. Jane went above and beyond to help, proving she was “brilliant at the basics” and really took on the “own it, solve it” objectives of Lindacre Land Rover,” he said.

Jane, who was only working a half day on the Saturday, ended up staying past 4pm to assist the woman. The vehicle had been recovered to a small village garage, but the mechanics spoke very little English. Jane looked up some French translations for them to suggest to the garage so they could try and diagnose the problem.

She then spoke to the mechanics, and Land Rover direct, as well as phoning the woman back frequently with her findings.

Lindacre have received a letter of thanks from the woman, who expressed her appreciation to Jane.

::Michael Smith and Co, a firm of solicitors based in Ipswich’s St Margaret’s Green, has appointed Vicky Hosking as a partner.

The firm, established by Michael Smith in 1990, is well-known for its conveyancing, commercial and residential legal services.

Vicky has a wealth of experience in running family businesses, and is a well-respected matrimonial and family solicitor dealing with all aspects of family work, including financial disputes, separations, matters related to children, pre-nuptial agreements, co-habitee disputes as well as divorce proceedings.

Her promotion to partner recognises the important contribution she has made since joining Michael Smith and Co as a trainee in 2010.

Vicky qualified as a solicitor with Michael Smith and Co after studying law in London, having chosen this career path after 20 years of commercial experience. She brings a client-centred approach which has seen a marked increase in the number of clients using more of the legal services on offer.

Born and educated in Ipswich, she chose to return to the town to raise her children and is proud to be involved in offering legal advice to a number of elderly and family-related charities that serve the local community. Outside work, she retains an interest in the family business.

She also supports the drop-in legal advice clinic run by Suffolk Age UK and is chairperson for the local Families Need Fathers group.

::Colchester-based independent property consultancy firm Whybrow Chartered Surveyors has appointed Mark Mannering as the head of commercial agency.

Mark has a great understanding of the market and aims to progress the continued success of Whybrow’s position as a leading provider of commercial property services in the London and South East region.

His key areas of expertise are marketing and disposal of all classes of commercial property and land, property search and acquisition, investment sales and development consultancy

Mark has more than 30 years’ experience working as a commercial agency surveyor both in the UK and tnternationally.

He is supported by trainee surveyor Robert Bias and the team’s administrator, Laura Sullivan.

::Law firm Ashton KCJ has welcomed four new solicitors to its Newmarket Road office in Cambridge.

Three of the four recruits have joined the thriving business law group at the firm, which has its headquarters in Ipswich, and one will be working with private clients.

Associates Joanne Sandwell and Anna Mortenson have joined the agriculture and commercial property teams respectively and solicitors Mariam Alipour and Joanna Cotgrove are welcomed into the dispute resolution and family law teams.

Chief executive Edward O’Rourke said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Joanne, Anna, Mariam and Joanna to the firm. These appointments enable us to expand further our commercial presence in Cambridge but also to serve our private client base.

“Joanne Sandwell is bringing a niche area of expertise to Cambridge – historically our Agricultural lawyers have been based in other parts of the region. Anna and Mariam will complement our existing strength in commercial property and dispute resolution whilst Joanna Cotgrove has joined our busy private client department.”

He added: “We are experiencing a period of growth in Cambridge so are delighted that we are continuing to attract so much new talent to the firm.”