Future London Leaders Round 15

The Fifteenth Round of Future London Leaders runs from January – June 2017. Candidate profiles are below:

James Bolt
Principal Planner, Major Sites, LB Newham

“I am a Chartered Town Planner with 9 years’ experience at Newham. I spent my first 6 years in the Planning Enforcement Team and then moved to the Major Sites team. During this time I have gained experience working on infrastructure delivery for Crossrail, the London Olympics and the West Ham United FC stadium redevelopment. More recently I have focused on significant housing sites at Silvertown Way and Stephenson Street.”

Lisa Cheung
Assistant Head of Development Management & Conservation, RB Kensington & Chelsea

“I joined the planning profession in 2007, starting at LBB as a planning officer. In 2013 I joined the RBKC as a senior planner and over the last four years I have worked in both an area team and Strategic Developments before being promoted to Team Leader of an area team, managing 7 people and then as Assistant Head of Development Management & Conservation leading the three area teams.”

Gavin Chinniah
Planning Manager – Majors, Waltham Forest

“I have been working for London Borough of Waltham Forest for over a year. My role as a planning manager is to lead and manage projects within different strategic areas, specifically Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow Town Centre, Leyton and Lea Bridge, bringing forward mixed use developments, housing schemes, new employment space and improvements to local infrastructure, aiding in the economic growth for the borough. My main interest is the delivery of large regeneration projects; as a result I look forward to joining FLL to help develop my leadership skills, learn from others on how projects are delivered and meet other professionals from across the sector.”

Sarah Connelly
Enterprise Employment: Training Manager – Social & Economic Regeneration Assets & Investment, Genesis

“I have worked in housing for over 20 years. At Genesis, I am corporate lead on the development and delivery of our Employment Enterprise and Skills Offer to help resident’s upskill and gain employment while strengthening local communities. Within that, I am currently working on 3 large regeneration schemes in Grahame Park, Woodberry Down and Old Oak Common Lane.”

Miranda Ferrier
Project Manager, Regeneration Neighbourhoods & Housing Directorate, LB Hackney

“I have a number of years’ experience working in housing development and estate regeneration. I took on my latest role within Hackney’s Estate Regeneration Team approximately 6 months ago. I started out working in community development, then moved to housing advice and soon afterwards to regeneration with a housing association working in partnership on the redevelopment of a large 60s built estate. I am passionate about delivering genuinely sustainable and inclusive neighbourhoods through regeneration. I look forward to participating in the FLL programme, sharing and trying out ideas with others working in regeneration, and improving my leadership skills”

Jonathan Finch
Senior Strategic Planner, Greater London Authority

“I have been part of the GLA Planning Unit for eight years, assisting the current and former Mayor in delivering their statutory planning duties. I work across London, managing a wide-ranging portfolio of strategic planning application referrals such as the 2016 Greenwich Peninsula Masterplan and Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium, proactively engaging with local planning authorities and developers to deliver the Mayor’s spatial planning priorities. I am looking forward to the programme and excited at the opportunity to develop my leadership skills and further build my professional network.”

Paul Gardner
Principal Regeneration Manager, LB Enfield

“Before joining Enfield, I worked for The Prince’s Regeneration Trust for 8 years. In this charity I led regeneration projects in Stoke-on-Trent, Grimsby and Northamptonshire, specialising in project management, business planning and historic conservation. As Development Manager, I was responsible for fundraising and managing all capital grant-funding for the Trust. Since joining Enfield’s Regeneration Team in April 2016, I have taken on a key role in land acquisition for Meridian Water and in Ponders End. FLL is an opportunity for me to develop leadership skills and learn more about areas of interest including transport planning and strategic regeneration.”


Helen IIes
Interim employment Strategy & Development Manager,  LB Camden

“I have worked at Camden for the past year, focusing on employment support, particularly in relation to integrating health and employment support and developing work around in-work progression. Prior to this, I worked in housing policy, managing s.106 negotiations and the delivery of employment and training obligations on large-scale regeneration projects in central London.”

Abul Kalam
Team Principal, Housing Management Team, LB Tower Hamlets

“I have worked in the public sector for more than 16 years. I manage a team of officers who are responsible for the temporary accommodation portfolio. We are responsible for ensuring that our clients are offered suitable and affordable temporary accommodation and provide a full housing management service for them until such time that they have moved into a permanent home taking into account the current housing crisis and welfare reforms. A recent achievement was having the lowest number of families in bed & breakfast over Christmas.”

Emily Mountford
Housing Investment Officer, LB Waltham Forest

“I’ve worked at LB Waltham Forest for the last 2 years, responsible for helping deliver homes as part of the Council’s new-build housing programme. I have recently taken on a role with the Council’s regeneration team where I am responsible for reviewing and potentially redeveloping the Council’s portfolio of sheltered housing to address the shortage of suitable housing for older people.”

Fergal O’Donnell
Regeneration Planning Manager, LB Harrow

“I joined the Harrow Planning Team in 2008 and have spent most of that time as a Development Management planner, working on a range of mixed-use, estate regeneration and industrial projects, as well as managing an area team for a time. Since May 2016, I’ve been planning lead on the council’s Corporate Regeneration Programme, developing the planning strategy for the council’s investment in its own land, principally concentrated around the Harrow and Wealdstone Opportunity Area.”

Tom Ruse
Assistant Development Manager, Home Group

“I’ve been in post since spring 2016, following two years at Berkeley Homes. My role includes sourcing development opportunities for the delivery of new homes; due diligence for land acquisitions; and helping manage projects as they go through planning. This year I qualified as a Chartered Planning & Development Surveyor.”

Crissi Russo
Head of Sales and Marketing, ASRA

“I have been in property sales and marketing for over 15 years, having started with a leading international estate agency, before moving to the RP sector. asra’s 2015/19 development programme consists of 738 homes including SO and private sale. My role includes understanding demographics; facing the economic and social challenges in our competitive environment; and managing strategies within a political context. I am passionate about exploring innovative construction methods and ensuring applicants are offered affordable living choices”

Bree Sims
Head of Marketing and Communications, Poplar HARCA

“I moved into housing in 2012 after 18 years running placemaking and corporate campaigns ranging from reputation management for South African Tourism during the World Cup through crisis comms for a failing insurance company to brand work for Harry Potter. At Poplar HARCA, I lead on marketing and comms, working closely with the senior team. I’m also project manager in the Accents team, using assets including our spaces, community, businesses, the place and its people to support social, economic and cultural regeneration.”

Joanna Ashby
Trainee Assistant Project Manager, Gen2

“I began working for Gen² Property last year, as part of a team delivering large building projects and capital works. We offer our services to public sector organisations across London and the South East. I have been given the opportunity to become involved in a variety of different projects. I am looking forward to improving my industry knowledge and leadership skills through this programme”



Future London Leaders Round 14

The fourteenth round of Future London Leaders runs from September 2016 – March 2017. Profiles of the candidates are below.

isha-ahmed-square-cropIsha Ahmed
Principal Planning Officer, LB Enfield

I joined the planning policy team at Enfield in 2008 initially working on the Local Plan. In recent years, I have led from project initiation to adoption in April of an Enfield Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). My current role is to oversee the policy formulation and implementation of all things associated with Section 106 developer contributions and CIL. I have a keen interest in infrastructure planning and as part of the review of the Enfield Local Plan will be working with infrastructure providers to establish needs associated with the levels of growth proposed in the borough to 2032.

louise-benn2Louise Benn
Estate Manager, Greater London Authority

I have been a Chartered Surveyor for 17 years but have worked within the property industry for over 20 years. I am currently working for the GLA as an Estate Manager within the Housing and Land Directorate. My main duties are to provide general Estate and Asset Management advice and to help facilitate development by regularising tenancies.

Deepa Bdeepa-bhatti-2hatti
Senior Asset Manager, LB Hounslow

I’ve been part of the borough’s Asset Management Team since 2004, and my role has changed immensely during this period. In the early days, my focus was principally on carrying out landlord and tenant management functions such as lease renewals and rent reviews. In 2010, I moved into my current position, taking a much more strategic role in management of the portfolio, in addition to management of the assets team and associated budgets and the council’s outsourcing arrangement.

Jessica Bolsin
Development Manager, LB Croydon

I have worked at LB Croydon for the past 18 months, responsible for delivering a range of regeneration initiatives in Croydon town centre, from meanwhile uses to public realm projects, helping support the council’s growth and place-making ambitions. I have recently taken on a role with the council’s new development company where I am responsible for bringing forward redevelopment of a portfolio of housing and mixed use development sites, helping to address the borough’s acute housing shortage. I look forward to joining FLL to help develop my leadership skills, learn about best practice and meet other professionals from across the sector.

bhakti-depala-2Bhakti Depala
Senior Planning Officer, City of London

I have worked in planning and regeneration for over five years, focused on high profile projects such as Thames Gateway & Olympics and major developments within the Square Mile. I have a varied background including planning policy, regeneration and section 106 & CIL. I currently provide advice on major projects, including the impact tall buildings have on wind microclimate. I am combining this work area with impacts of daylight, sunlight and wind to achieve an optimal microclimate. I look forward to developing my leadership skills through FLL, and to learning about best practice from around London.


Mark Hollington
Area Planning Officer, City of Westminster

After starting as a planning consultant, I have spent the last eight years in development management at Westminster City Council. I currently work on planning applications principally within the West End which raise a range of interesting issues in this complex, high-profile and heritage-rich environment. I hope to gain an improved understanding of the challenges facing built environment professionals within London.

adam-hutching-2Adam Hutchings
Planning Policy Manager, LB Wandsworth

With over 10 years’ planning policy and development management experience, I currently lead the policy and information team at Wandsworth Council. This involves reviewing the Local Plan to guide development of the borough. I have a particular interest in housing policy and have also been lead representative for Wandsworth on Tideway’s Thames Tunnel Project for the past seven years. As the local government landscape continues to change, it’s really important to share learning and experiences and develop skills for the future. I think FLL will give me the opportunity to do just that.

gareth-james-2Gareth James
Senior Transport Project Officer (Consultation, Community Engagement, Business Systems), LB Hounslow

My early career culminated with three years at NSL Services, where my roles included managing Kensington & Chelsea’s parking enforcement contract. My interaction with public officials made me interested in public policy-making, and I earned a graduate degree in Urban & Regional Planning in Washington DC. I worked for Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ transportation section before returning to London and managing Hounslow’s TfL-funded Community Streets programme. While my role has evolved, it has happily continued to incorporate two of my primary interests: transport policy and community engagement.

colin-kavanagh-2Colin Kavanagh
New Homes Manager, Peabody

I manage a team in Peabody responsible for ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction for residents living in our new-build properties. We work closely with our colleagues in delivery to drive high levels of quality at handover ensuring that residents will be satisfied with their home. We lead on the handover of new-build schemes to the rest of the business from caretaking to asset management ensuring strong levels of communication. Previously I managed a housing co-operative in North London and worked within neighbourhoods at Tower Hamlets.

robert-lancaster-2Robert Lancaster
Strategic Applications Manager, LB Redbridge

I have 10 years’ experience in public sector planning across a mix of inner and suburban London councils delivering on a range of strategic projects. My current role is managing the Strategic Applications team at LB Redbridge with a focus on the delivery of new residential-led schemes in the Ilford Housing Zone.

jamie-simpson-square-cropJamie Simpson

Principal Planning Policy Officer, LB Barking & Dagenham

I have worked in public sector planning for almost six years, four of those at Barking & Dagenham. The bulk of my work is in providing housing, economic and other evidence for use in planning strategies. Too often, public sector planning is characterised as dry, tedious or lacking in dynamism and innovation, but my experience has always been the reverse. I hope to meet others on the programme who share this view and to gain new knowledge about the built environment and development.

jessica-watts-2Jessica Watts
Project Manager, Swan Housing

I have worked in Swan’s Development team since 2012, managing diverse projects from new business feasibility studies and regeneration tenders through coordinating consultant teams, design development and planning submissions, to delivering schemes on site. I recently co-wrote Swan’s new Design Guide, applying pragmatism to development decisions and focusing on the suitability of schemes for end users – our residents. I look forward to expanding my professional network with FLL, learning from others’ experience, and building on my leadership skills.

michael-westbrook-update-2Michael Westbrook
Housing Policy and Partnerships Manager , LB Lewisham

I have worked in housing for seven years now, starting as a management trainee at national Housing Association Affinity Sutton and then working at L&Q before joining Lewisham in 2015. At Lewisham I manage the team that leads on housing policy, housing intelligence and strategy, and managing the partnerships with key housing providers in the borough.

blossom-young-2Blossom Young
Project Manager – Accents, Poplar HARCA

Following an early career in youth & community development, I now design and deliver projects focused on the social, economic and cultural regeneration of Poplar, East London. With a keen interest in re-imagining the role of physical, people and other local assets in area growth, my projects utilise underused resources to generate new opportunities for the area and to empower communities to thrive. I led the development of asset management system Open Poplar, and am currently developing Fashioning Poplar, a £3.9m fashion hub in partnership with the GLA, London College of Fashion: UAL and the Trampery.


To view profiles of candidates from previous rounds, visit our alumni page.