Leaders Plus 9: Proposals for London

On 13 July, Leaders Plus Round 9 candidates presented their Proposals for London in the heart of the City, marking the end of their nine-month leadership programme. As the first cohort in three years to run largely post-lockdown, candidates made the most of it, with sessions and site visits from Kingston, Victoria and Clerkenwell to Stratford, Royal Albert Wharf and Barking Riverside. Write-ups from Royal Docks and Stratford are here and here respectively. This was also one of the most mixed and connected cohorts, perhaps partly as a result of bursting free, but we expect to see their WhatsApp buzzing for a long time.

The cohort’s ambitious proposals – on the theme of cross-sector working – included a local-to-national approach to retrofit (from a council/consultant duo), City of London space for music venues, biodiversity monitoring, a nimble talent agency, community farming champions, contents insurance for social renters, European exemplars, rethinking social and temporary housing and more. Some are definite ‘goers’ if the Q&A from the evening’s savvy audience was anything to go by!

To create their 5-minute manifestos, candidates combined professional knowledge, personal experience, leadership skills, passion and presentation skills, then delivered those persuasive pitches to an audience of mentors, sponsors, nominators, alumni, course contributors & colleagues. Attendees engaged the candidates in lively Q&A, then cast their votes in the following categories: Favourite Idea, Most Feasible & Best Pitch. See below for the winners…

The pitches were followed by a short graduation ceremony and networking reception, kindly hosted by TLT Solicitors, to celebrate the hard work and dedication of these brilliant candidates. They’ve also received a new ‘What Next?’ guide to make graduation a springboard, not a cliff – if you graduated before 2022 and would like a copy, get in touch!

The winners of the three Proposals categories are as follows:

Favourite Idea

Jodie Norman, Head of Placemaking & Estates: Community, Socio-Economic Development, Notting Hill Genesis
Opportunities for new live music venues in London

London aspires to be a 24-hour city, however there is limited opportunity for new live music venues or clubs. Currently, policy doesn’t go far enough to enable this, as market pressures for competing uses see cultural assets such as grassroots music venues pushed out of town centres, with late-night licensing often considered inappropriate. My proposal identifies the City of London as a suitable location for new venues, utilising space outside primary business hours. Underused office space could be converted in the wake of new sustainability legislation, adding to an existing night-time economy, and offering employment, rich culture, a focus on the music industry, increased tourism, well-being and economic benefits.

Most Feasible

Verona Lynch, Head of Building Safety Projects, Guinness
Insuring social tenants & minimising loss

People throughout the UK housing sector can face substantial costs following accidents or other unforeseen circumstances in their homes; where costs aren’t covered by landlord insurance, it can push vulnerable tenants over the edge and drive them into arrears. My proposal is to create a cross-sector collaboration with the insurance industry, enabling them to deliver on their social value responsibility by incorporating basic home contents insurance within social (housing association or council) rent. Faced with cost-of-living increases, local communities working together with the housing and insurance sectors will provide a more united front, benefitting thousands of struggling individuals and families across the UK.

Best Pitch

James Edgerley, Senior Development Manager, Argent
Juice London

The success of the places we collectively seek to create or regenerate depends on the success of public-private development partnerships. By the time prospective development partners are engaged via the procurement process, a lawyer has already spent considerable time how partnership will work from scratch at great cost. Lengthy and costly negotiation then follows. My proposal is that we stop reinventing the wheel. My proposal is an independent institution which captures best practice in partnership working through a suite of standardised customisable development agreements. This will allow sites to come forward quicker, save public money and create successful and enduring partnerships.

To read through all the LP9 candidates 100-word summaries, click here.

If you’re interested in applying or nominating a candidate for Round 10, starting in late October, see the Leaders Plus info page, then contact hazel@futureoflondon.org.uk. Nominations will open soon.


Congratulations to all the Leaders Plus Round 9 candidates!

  • Kemi Ayodele – Development Manager, Argent
  • Carl Blackburn ­– CEO, South Kilburn Trust
  • Sam Blake – Partner, Montagu Evans
  • Dillan Blake-Smith – Head of Housing & Community Services, Gateway Housing
  • Sarah Coutts – Head of Design & Planning, Barking Riverside
  • John David – Housing Manager, YMCA St Pauls
  • James Edgerley ­– Senior Development Manager, Argent
  • Rachel Jones ­– Senior Urban Designer, RB Kingston
  • Verona Lynch – Head of Building Safety Projects, Guinness
  • Ben Maltby – Senior Consultant, Inner Circle Consulting
  • Dominic Millen – Head of Climate Action & Sustainability, LB Enfield
  • Tom Morrissey – Development Director, Countryside
  • Jodie Norman – Head of Placemaking & Estates, Notting Hill Genesis
  • Joanna Parker – Principal Planning Officer, City of London
  • Fabrizio Stefanoni – Senior Development Manager, Lovell
  • Warrick Thomas – Partner – Projects, Pollard Thomas Edwards

Thanks to all of the Leaders Plus Round 9 mentors  for their time, energy and support:

  • Ria Bailes – Managing Director, Bailes Partners Consulting
  • Shanaaz Carroll – Director, Make the Link
  • Linda Convery – Head of Housing & Regeneration, TLT Solicitors
  • Tracey Downie – Chief Executive, Women’s Pioneer Housing
  • Matthew Essex – Executive Director of Place, RB Kingston
  • Sue Foster – Interim Director of Place &  Planning, RB Kensington & Chelsea
  • Kate Franklin – Chief Executive, Gateway Housing
  • Jeremy Grint – Interim Chair, BD Reside
  • Rosanna Lawes – Director of Development, LLDC
  • David Lunts – Chief Executive, OPDC
  • Sean McLaughlin – Chair, Barnesbury Housing Association
  • Iain Painting – Planning Director, Stantec
  • Sowmya Parthasarathy – Director, Arup
  • Alan Strickland – Director of Partnerships, Optivo
  • Neil Toner – Head of Real Estate, Devonshires
  • Sara Waller – Co-Strategic Director- Sustainable Growth & Opportunity, LB Lambeth
  • Ed Watson – Director, Ed Watson & Associates

Leaders Plus is sponsored in part by Argent. 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.