The Commissioners

Dr Hugh Ellis, Interim Chief Executive at Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA)

Hugh’s responsibilities at the TCPA include leading on policy development and briefings and engagement with central governments and politicians. In 2018 he led the secretariat for the Raynsford Review setting out a blue print for a new planning system in England. Since 2015 Hugh has co-authored three books, including ‘Rebuilding Britain’ and ‘Town Planning in Crisis’ with Kate Henderson, and ‘The Art of Building a Garden City’ with Katy Lock and Kate Henderson for RIBA. Hugh was closely involved in the passage of the 2004 and 2008 Planning Acts, including providing evidence to public bill committees and working closely with parliamentarians on both Commons and Lords committee stages of subsequent planning legislation. Hugh has given oral evidence to the House of Commons Select Committees on various planning inquiries. He has led on TCPA campaign work on planning out poverty and planning for people, and he is a strong critic of policies such as Permitted Development. Hugh sits on the UK Government Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Planning Sounding Board.

Prior to joining TCPA in March 2009, Hugh had been the national planning advisor to Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland since 2000. After spending a number of years working for the Coalfield Planning Cooperative on community planning projects. He has a Doctorate in Land Use Planning from the University of Sheffield, and he is an Honorary Professor at Queens University, Belfast.

Tony Mulhall MA MSc MRICS MRTPI,  Associate Director at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

A Chartered Surveyor and Town Planner Tony has worked in a wide range of areas of planning and property in both the public and private sectors. He is actively involved in promoting an understanding of development economics within the planning system. He has given evidence to the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Town Centre Planning Policy and engages with UK Government departments formulating planning /development policy.  He represents RICS in a number of bodies including the International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP). He is a member of the International Land Measurement Standards, standard setting committee. He is also engaged in capacity building in the sector through Insight papers on ‘Cities and health’ and ‘Big data, smart cities, intelligent buildings.’ He has participated as an expert in capacity building missions with UK Trade and Investment, and the UK Department for International Development/UN.  He has presented at UN/World Bank Conferences and regularly lectures at a number of universities.

Nick Gallent FRICS FRTPI FAcSS, Head of Bartlett School of Planning UCL

A professor of housing and planning and head of the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London, UK, Nick is actively engaged in researching and teaching in urban planning.  His research is primarily concerned with the politics and processes of planning for housing and with rural communities’engagements with planning and development issues.  Recent projects for the RTPI (on the likely impacts of in-plan permission for new housing), RICS (on new investment flows and land-use change in rural areas) and the ESRC (on financialised housing consumption in China) all address these themes and aim to impact on future policy.  Nick is the author or editor of numerous books on these and related subjects -including an account of the political economy of the housing crisis in England- Whose Housing Crisis? – which will be published in Spring 2019.

Victoria Hills MRTPI FICE, Chief Executive, Royal Town Planning Institute

Victoria joined the RTPI in April 2018 and utilises her 20 years’ experience and expertise in the fields of planning, transport and organisational leadership and development to drive forward the vision and strategic priorities for the 25,000 member strong RTPI. At a time when the profile of town planning and place making has never been higher, Victoria is looking forward to playing her part in making the case for investing in planning and planners, to deliver quality outcomes for future generations to come,  and put planning centre stage.

Victoria is passionate about planning great ‘liveable’ places for people, with an unrivalled insight into London’s governance; having worked for all three Mayors of London.  Before joining the RTPI, Victoria was CEO of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, where she established the UK’s second Mayoral development corporation. Prior to this she was Head of Transport for the Greater London Authority. She has held a variety of roles in Transport Consultancy and Local Government. In 2017 Victoria was made a fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and in 2018 joined the Council of the National Infrastructure Planning Association.

Councillor Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council

Council Leader since 2014 and Labour Councillor for Coleridge since 2004, Lewis also chairs the Greater Cambridge Partnership (City Deal) Board, is Chair of the “Fast Growth Cities” Group (Norwich, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Oxford and Swindon) and represents the Local Government Association on the Planning Commission. His professional expertise and experience is in local government, planning and transport, and waste reduction. He has been Director of Planning Skills at Anglia Ruskin University since 2004 and is Module Tutor for Housing and Planning on their Town Planning MSc. Earlier, Lewis led work on London recycling and environmental protection as a GLC Councillor in the 1980s, followed by leading a team on local government reform in New Zealand, and then recycling and environmental protection in East England between 1990 and 2004.

Kate Henderson, CEO of the National Housing Federation

Kate Henderson is Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, the voice of affordable housing associations in England.  NHF members provide 2.6 million homes for nearly six million people and each year they invest in a diverse range of neighbourhood projects that help create strong, vibrant communities.

Prior to joining the Federation in October 2018 Kate was Chief Executive of the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA).  During her decade at the TCPA Kate raised the Association’s profile through a range of campaigns and policy initiatives, most notably around Garden Cities, local authority innovation, affordable housing, health, poverty and climate change.

Kate has been involved in a number of government panels and independent commissions including the Lyons Housing Review. She is a visiting professor at the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London, a Board member of the International Federation of Housing & Planning, and has co-authored various books including ‘The Art of Building a Garden City’ published by RIBA Publishing and winner of the National Urban Design Book Award 2018.

Chris Shepley CBE BA Dip T P MRTPI, former Chief Planning Inspector

Chris began his planning career at Manchester City Council, then moved on (in 1973) to the Greater Manchester Council, where he later became Deputy County Planning Officer. He moved to Plymouth in 1985 as City Planning Officer and later as Director of Development, in charge of planning, transport, economic development, and environmental health. He left in 1994 to become Chief Planning Inspector, and Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate, which deals with all planning appeals, public inquiries, and related matters throughout England and Wales. He left at the end of 2002 to become a private planning consultant. He chaired the steering group for the “Tomorrow’s Planners” project, designed to bring people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds into planning, which he initiated. He Chaired the EiP into the Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West in 2006 and the EiP into the Further Alterations to the London Plan in 2007. He Chaired  EiPs into the Island Plan for Jersey in 2010/11 and in 2013. He has been Chair of the National Retail Planning Forum.

He was President of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 1989, and was Visiting Professor at the University of Manchester from 1990-1994; he is now Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster, and he has written and spoken widely on planning issues. He writes a regular column in “The Planner”. He has an honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of the West of England. He received a CBE in 2002.

He has been Chairman of the Bath Festivals Trust. He was until recently also a member of the Theatres Trust, and has been a member of the Arts Council’s Architecture Advisory Panel. He was for many years a member of the General Assembly of the RTPI, and was also on the TCPA Policy Council. He was a member of the Raynsford Planning Review Task Force.

Chris is co-author of Grotton Revisited, published in June 2010 – a follow-up to the Grotton Papers, which he wrote with two colleagues in 1979.

Paul Seddon, President of the Planning Officers Society & Director of Planning & Regeneration, Nottingham City Council

Paul is the Planning Officer Society’s current President and its place making and heritage subject specialist.

Paul is also Director of Planning & Regeneration at Nottingham City Council, where he has led the delivery of a successful, well-regarded and award-winning Planning Directorate in the face of increasing financial challenges. The City Council is driving a development and regeneration programme to transform the city and deliver jobs and homes, and the role of planning in providing place leadership is central to this success.

Paul has 25 years’ experience across a number of Councils in the North West and East Midlands, with over half of this at senior officer level.

Emma Cariaga, Head of Operations, British Land Canada Water

Emma joined British Land in June 2014 and as Head of Operations she has responsibility for the development of the Group’s assets at Canada Water. The project, adjacent to the Canada Water & Surrey Quays stations, covering 53 acres will deliver a new urban centre for London with up to 5m sq.ft of development comprising works pace, retail, leisure, culture and residential alongside higher educational and community uses.

 Emma joined British Land from Land sec where she delivered a number of Central London developments including Wellington House, Kings Gate and the Zig Zag building in Victoria, as well as overseeing their strategic land portfolio.  Prior to this, Emma held development and land management roles at house builders Barratt and Crest Nicholson.

Johnson Situ, cabinet member for Growth, Development and Planning, Southwark Council

Johnson is Southwark Council’s cabinet member for Growth, Development and Planning. His responsibilities include developing planning policy and leading on the council’s approach to planning. He also leads on Southwark’s work to ensure local communities see the benefit of growth in the borough and the delivery of the strategic transport and social infrastructure needed to enable that growth, such as the delivery of the Bakerloo Line extension.

He has previously served as Southwark’s cabinet member for Employment, Business and Culture (2016-2017) and Business, Culture and Social Regeneration. In May 2014 he was elected councillor for Peckham Ward

Before becoming a full time cabinet member in 2016, he led on major partnerships for an International Development NGO.

Matt Thomson, Head of Planning at the Campaign to Protect Rural England

Matt Thomson has been Head of Planning at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) since July 2014. He leads CPRE’s work on general town and country planning matters and manages a team of five brilliant and dedicated individuals working on strategic planning, devolution, brownfield development, Green Belt, planning for housing, rural affordable housing, land market reform and the protection of built, natural and landscape heritage.

He is a chartered town planner with 15 years’ experience shaping planning policies for mainly rural local authorities in the home counties, and was Head of Policy and Practice at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) from 2009-2011, where he led on developing the Institute’s 2010 Manifesto for Planning, along with helping shape the profession’s response to the Localism Bill, the original National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and policies for national infrastructure.

In 2011 he began PhD research at Oxford Brookes University into the use of ‘visions’ in local place-shaping, which he will finish one day.

Finn Williams, Co-founder and CEO of Public Practice

Finn Williams is Co-founder and CEO of Public Practice, a social enterprise that is building the public sector’s capacity for proactive planning. He previously worked for the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, General Public Agency, Croydon Council, and the Greater London Authority. Finn is a CABE Built Environment Enabler and sits on the Raynsford Review Task Force, RIBA Planning group, and the ‘Working in the Public Interest’ Research Advisory Group. He is Visiting Professor at the Institute of Innovation & Public Purpose at UCL, a tutor at the Royal College of Arts, and was co-curator of the British Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Ghislaine Halpenny, Director of External Affairs at the British Property Federation

Ghislaine has been Director of External Affairs at the British Property Federation, the representative body for the commercial real estate sector, since 2015. She joined the BPF in 2009 as part of the policy team, and led the BPF’s work on planning and development, before starting the now well-established industrial committee and the regional programme.

As Director of External Affairs, Ghislaine established the BPF’s partnership with the Department of International Trade at MIPIM, and the extensive diversity and inclusion programme, including BPF Futures, a network of 1,100 junior professionals. She also leads the BPF’s work on reputation, and manages the strategic relationships with Government. 

Dan Stern, Senior Policy Advisor at the Royal Institute of British Architects

Dan Stern is Senior Policy Advisor at the Royal Institute of British Architects where he leads on housing and planning policy. Prior to joining the RIBA he specialised in planning communications where he worked with organisations across the built environment advising on large scale development projects.

John Lewis, Executive Director, Peabody

John is an Executive Director at Peabody leading one of London’s largest regeneration programmes which will position Thamesmead as London’s New Town creating 20,000 new homes of all tenure types to help meet the Capital’s housing needs.

Previously he spent 6 years as CEO of Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, a self-funded charitable organisation providing support services to maintain and enhance the world’s first garden city.  John joined the Heritage foundation from Milton Keynes Partnership, a subsidiary of the Homes and Communities Agency, where he was CEO responsible for the economic and housing growth of the new city.

John is a professional member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and has a Master of Arts in Urban Regeneration.  He is Chairman of Wellingborough Homes Housing Association.

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