John Searle, Salford City Council, P Place North West
John Searle (center) led on several major projects in Rochdale, including the £400m redevelopment of the town centre. Credit: Place North West

Salford appoints strategic director for place

Julia Hatmaker

John Searle is leaving his post as director for economy at Rochdale Council to take on the role.

He replaces Peter Openshaw, who had been the interim strategic director for place after Ben Dolan retired in March.

As the strategic director of place, Searle will focus on both environment and community safety, as well as planning and development for housing and neighbourhoods.

“Salford is a fantastic city with a great reputation and I’m proud to join City Mayor Paul Dennett and Tom Stannard and the rest of the team,” Searle said. “Some of my key aims will be to provide more affordable homes for local people as well as leading some of the very exciting redevelopment projects in the city and bringing in some of my own experience to help shape projects as we move forwards.

“A huge part of this will be creating jobs, apprenticeship posts, growth and opportunities that local people and businesses can benefit from,” he continued.

While with Rochdale Council, Searle led a variety of key projects, including the £400m redevelopment of the town centre and the development of Kingsway Business Park.

Searle’s appointment is not the only news out of Salford. The city council also named Iolanda Puzio as city solicitor, taking over the post from David Wilcock.

Tom Stannard, Chief Executive at Salford City Council said: “I’d like to welcome Iolanda and John to the team. They were both chosen from a very competitive field so I would like to also say congratulations to them on their appointments.

“Iolanda and John bring a huge wealth of experience to Salford that will help to shape and deliver or local public services to improve the lives of the residents under the political leadership of the City Mayor.”

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