Leaders Plus 8: Proposals for London

On 30 June, Leaders Plus Round 8 candidates presented their Proposals for London in webinar format, split into two groups to keep the events lively. Attendees heard a series of ambitious presentations on the theme of recovery and resilience in which candidates made a personal ‘pitch’ for London.

Having embarked on Leaders Plus in October 2020, candidates completed the majority of the programme via Zoom, engaging fully in the online learning environment. Some were able to attend a real-world field trip to King’s Cross in April; a write-up is available here.

For their Proposals, candidates used their sector knowledge, personal experiences of the pandemic, leadership experience, passion and presentation skills to deliver persuasive cases for change on a variety of topics and engaged in dynamic Q&A sessions with sponsors, mentors, nominators, course contributors and alumni.

Although all Leaders Plus candidates completed the executive-level leadership modules, not all were in a position to present their Proposals for London at this time, so we plan to reconvene later in the year. The Future of London team were able to meet some of the group for a celebratory lunch and look forward to seeing the whole cohort at the #Alumni500 celebration in October.

Nominations for Leaders Plus Round 9 will open soon; please get in touch if you’re interested in applying or in nominating a candidate. Find out more about the course here.

To see all the Leaders Plus 8 Proposals for London as 100-word summaries, click here. As always, we invited attendees (including candidate) to vote on the Proposals across three categories. The results were very close and winners from the morning and afternoon sessions are below.

Other proposals included placemaking as secondary-school course; a Green Belt Bank; a levy for equitably commissioned public art; a council service offering a pool of local consultees; a development tax to replace the Section 106 affordable housing system; a ‘hearts and minds’ campaign to support cycling; and a move to redress historic racist injustice through reparations. No small ideas here!

AM session

Favourite Idea

Jessica Laryea, Director of Operations, YMCA St Paul’s Group
Housing First in London: every human needs a home

Housing First, a homelessness prevention and response strategy, originated in New York back in the 1990s. So, not a new concept but whilst well established in many global cities, its use in London is still limited. Housing First recognises that someone homeless does not need a series of hoops to jump through, they need a home, then the services that follow are much more effective. It’s actually really simple – almost common sense – but homes are in short supply. My proposal builds on recommendations by the London Assembly Housing Committee and explores ways to ensure a steady supply of homes are being made available.

Most Feasible

Duncan Hepburn, Director, London Communications Agency
Youth Engage: a fresh perspective on future development

The average young person in London either doesn’t take an interest in the development going on around them or doesn’t feel they are able to influence it. As such, the voices of those who are arguably most impacted are not heard and in turn they fail to access any of the opportunities in terms of jobs, training, education or access to facilities. My proposal will address the issue with the creation of a new initiative which makes it easy for developers to connect with young people, incentivise them to engage and provide meaningful feedback that could benefit all.

Best Pitch

Dawn Matthews, Senior Consultant (HR & Recruitment), Campbell Tickell
Improving diversity in healthcare

My proposal aims to tackle the obvious lack of ethnic diversity at senior levels within the NHS. When you look at frontline workers, there appears to be a relatively even spread in terms of ethnicity and age, whilst gender remains questionable. However, as you look at the composition of the NHS practitioners at senior levels, black and brown people are less prominent and this imbalance needs to be addressed. My proposal highlights some of the inequalities that have been even more prominent during the pandemic and suggests a solution to address these.

PM session

Favourite Idea

Mark Swinburne, Senior Development Manager & Tottenham Hale Design Lead, Argent
The Greater London Exteriority

The resilience of our homes, cities and built environment has been challenged on an unprecedented level over the past year. There has been a vociferous examination of how we use and understand space for daily life. We’ve had to re-assess the capacity of the spaces we inhabit; both the built and ‘un‐built’ form and quality of space have been found wanting. The retreat into the private realm has highlighted the limitations of housing and urban design and the reductive, quantitative and usually economic bases which underpin design. I propose relentless investment in our un‐built environment, achieved through the creation of a new public body, The Greater London Exteriority (GLX), to promote and structure the delivery of new open spaces.

Most Feasible

Adriana Moreno Pelayo, Associate – City Economics & Planning, Arup
Let’s bottle it! The London bottle return pilot

The average London adult buys more than three plastic water bottles every week. Lots of plastic bottles and waste end up in parks, streets or in the wrong bins, generating waste, preventing recycling and having a negative impact on our public spaces. With another delay to the bottle deposit return scheme planned by the government, now unlikely to happen before 2024, my proposal is to start the journey towards becoming a plastic-free city by introducing a pilot scheme in London as early as 2022. Through a partnership approach, London can implement a well-tested deposit initiative to reduce waste and drive a sustainable recovery from Covid-19 whilst creating new jobs in the recycling industry.

Best Pitch

Tom Reynolds, Associate, Pollard Thomas Edwards
LDN:GATE. Turning the Tide on the UK’s elusive but premiere regeneration opportunity

For decades governments have looked to the brownfields of the Thames Estuary in search of opportunity and growth. It is an ‘estuary,’ formerly a ‘corridor’ and often a ‘gateway.’ As governments pass so do the 100-page visions, the latest signals £190m GVA and 1 million new homes by 2050 but known challenges could leave this promise perpetually stuck in the mud. LDN:GATE is a new quarterly pamphlet of regeneration in action – advocating listening, ideas and collaboration, evolution not revolution, bottom up initiatives alongside strategic partnerships. Go out not up! A stronger Estuary is better for local people, London and the UK!


Congratulations to all Leaders Plus Round 8 candidates!

  • Paul Buckenham, Development Manager, LB Tower Hamlets
  • Kate Cornwall-Jones, Head of CIP Development, LB Camden
  • Natalie Daniels, Assistant Director for Housing, GLA Housing & Land
  • Ben Green, Senior Development Manager, Be First
  • Duncan Hepburn, Director, London Communications Agency
  • Chris Horton, Area Programme Manager, LB Newham
  • David Hughes, Planning Policy Manager, LB Harrow
  • Jessica Laryea, Director of Operations, YMCA St Paul’s Group
  • Dawn Matthews, Senior Consultant (HR & Recruitment), Campbell Tickell
  • Adriana Moreno Pelayo, Associate – City Economics & Planning, Arup
  • Tom Reynolds, Associate, Pollard Thomas Edwards
  • Jamie Robinson, Head of Economic Development, LB Barnet
  • Liz Sullivan, Development Management Manager, LB Redbridge
  • Mark Swinburne, Senior Development Manager & Tottenham Hale Design Lead, Argent
  • Emma Thorpe, Associate Planner, Be First
  • Emma Turay, Assistant Director – Rents & Services Charges, Notting Hill Genesis
  • Jake Whiterod, Senior Development Manager & Tottenham Hale Procurement Lead, Argent

Thanks to all of the Leaders Plus Round 8 mentors for switching to virtual mentoring and for their time, energy and support:

  • Ria Bailes, Managing Director, Bailes Partners Consulting
  • Andrea Baker, Director of Housing, Poplar HARCA
  • Greg Campbell, Partner, Campbell Tickell
  • Claudette Forbes, Director, CAF Consulting
  • Lyn Garner, Chief Executive, LLDC
  • Stuart Gibbons, Managing Director – London & Southern, Lovell
  • Gerry Hughes, President, Avison Young Europe
  • Cllr Robert Johnson, Brent Councillor & Trustee, South Kilburn Trust
  • David Lunts, Chief Executive, OPDC
  • Iain Painting, Senior Planning Partner, Barton Willmore
  • Eleanor Purser, Co-Strategic Director Sustainable Growth & Opportunity, LB Lambeth
  • Carolyn Tobin, Senior Development Manager, Hill Group UK
  • Kim Vernau, Non-Executive Director, Women’s Pioneer Housing
  • Neil Vokes, Director of Development, LB Camden
  • Ed Watson, Director, Ed Watson & Associates
  • Darren Wisher, Global Director – Urban Solutions, Hatch
  • Joanne Woodward, ‎Chief Planning & Economic Development Officer, LB Hammersmith & Fulham

Leaders Plus is sponsored by Argent and hosted by Lewis Silkin. The senior-level programme provides candidates already in leadership roles with resources to manage increasing risk and responsibility. Key elements include: individually-matched mentors, insights from expert speakers and executive-level leadership workshops. Find out more here.