Historic England's Urban Panel Members

The biographies for members of Historic England's Urban Panel.

Peter Studdert

Peter is an independent adviser on urban planning and design based in Cambridge. Qualified as an architect and town planner, he chairs quality review panels for the London Legacy Development Corporation and the London Borough of Haringey, and is a Co-Chair of the Design South East Design Review Panel. He is a Built Environment Expert at Design Council Cabe and is a member of the Academy of Urbanism. He serves on the East of England Regional Advisory Board of the National Trust.

He was previously Director of Planning at Cambridge City Council and is a former Chairman of the Historic Towns Forum. He played a leading role in developing the current growth strategy for the Cambridge Sub-region, and was responsible for initiating and shaping a number of award-winning housing projects in Cambridge including Accordia and the Abode development at Great Kneighton.

Dr Nigel Baker

Dr Nigel Baker is a freelance urban archaeologist with a long-standing interest in the built form of medieval towns. After a research degree at Nottingham he worked for Birmingham University, excavating in Shrewsbury and elsewhere; this was followed by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship investigating the role of church institutions in the growth of medieval towns. Subsequently, he undertook English Heritage’s urban archaeological databases (UADs) and assessments (UAAs) for Shrewsbury and then Worcester. He was for eight years Urban Archaeologist for Herefordshire Council, in that time compiling the UAD/UAA for Hereford, together with a conservation plan for the city’s defences and a townscape characterisation of the historic core.

More recently he has been editing the Historic England UAA volume for Bristol, and another on the historic buildings of Hereford. He has served on the Council of the Shropshire Historical and Archaeological Society for upwards of twenty years; is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, an Honorary Research Fellow of the School of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Birmingham and a member of the Urban Morphology Research Group based there.

Peter Buchan

After graduating from Birmingham School of Architecture and several years in practice, Peter joined Ryder in 1977 and became a partner in 1984. He worked with the founding partners and developed a profound respect for their modernist approach, now recognised by the listing of three of their mid twentieth century buildings, and their focus on multi-disciplinary design and the social contribution of architecture. 

In his role of senior partner Peter is responsible for design direction across the practice.  Over the years Peter has also had a hands-on role in major projects across a wide range of sectors.

Peter is Chair of BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Chair of social housing provider Home Group’s design review panel, Chair of governors for Newcastle High School for Girls and a Regional Chair of RIBA.

Sophia de Sousa

As Chief Executive at The Glass-House Community Led Design, Sophia is committed to the charity’s mission to raise the standard of placemaking through public participation and leadership in the design of buildings, spaces, housing and neighbourhoods. Sophia promotes and supports collaborative placemaking as a valuable means of informing good, inclusive, sustainable design that benefits local people and that leads to the long-term improvement of neighbourhoods.

Sophia is a leading advocate and enabler of community led, participatory and co-design practice and research. The Glass-House plays an active role in community based action research and Sophia has been the strategic lead for The Glass-House on a number of collaborative research projects with higher education and other third sector partners.

Sophia has a background in architectural history, education, community empowerment and multi-cultural issues and is committed to interdisciplinary working and cross-sector partnerships.

Johanna Gibbons

Johanna Gibbons is a Landscape Architect and founding member of J and L Gibbons LLP, established in 1986. Jo studied Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art / Heriot Watt University. She is a Fellow of the Landscape Institute and Royal Society of Arts. She serves on several advisory panels including Historic England’s Urban Panel and Historic Parks and Gardens Panel, High Speed 2’s interim Design Panel and Forestry Commissions Forestry and Woodland Advisory Committee for London and the Cambridgeshire Quality Panel. Jo is a member of the Trees and Design Action Group, a cross disciplinary group that seeks to influence practice and policy concerning urban trees.

Jo’s expertise concerns heritage, green infrastructure and urban regeneration and she leads on collaborative cross-disciplinary practice at a strategic and local level, mostly in London.

J and L Gibbons are award winning. They were finalists in the prestigious Rosa Barba International Landscape Prize 2014; winners of the RIBA’s Vauxhall Missing Link international competition in 2013 and awarded Landscape Institute awards, including winning the 2008 and 2011 overall Landscape Institute President’s Award for their work on the East London Green Grid and Making Space in Dalston respectively.

The practice is part of a successful grant award from Imperial College and the Van Alen Institute New York for undertaking pilot research in collaboration with Kings College London and Nomad. This research explored how the urban environment might affect mental wellbeing under the Ecologies of Addiction programme. Recently exhibited work includes ‘Rethinking Urban Landscapes’ at the Building Centre London and ‘Urbanistas’ at the Roca Gallery London, celebrating innovative women in urban design.

Mike Hayes CBE

Mike Hayes is a chartered town planner. Following a career in the public sector he is now director of Michael Hayes Consulting Ltd providing independent planning advice, support and training to clients in the public, private and community sectors.

Mike is a graduate of Leeds and Liverpool Universities. His previous principal appointments include:

  • Chief Executive – West Northamptonshire Development Corporation
  • Corporate Director – Watford Borough Council
  • Director of Regeneration – London Borough of Lambeth
  • Director of Planning and Development – Glasgow City Council
  • City Planning Officer – Liverpool City Planning Office  

Currently he is Secretary of the National Planning Forum; a part-time Examining Inspector with the Planning Inspectorate National Infrastructure Directorate; a Design Council CABE Built Environment Expert; and a member of the Historic England Advisory Committee.

His experience embraces planning at all levels and in most of its aspects. He seeks to use his experience and skills at all levels of spatial planning to address planning, regeneration and development opportunities and challenges at both strategic and local levels and achieve outcomes that provide innovative and leading edge solutions.

He was President of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 2004 and in 2014 chaired the Oxford Joint Planning Law Conference committee.

He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and a member of the Academy of Urbanism. He was appointed Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2008 for services.

Julian Hill

Julian is currently the Senior Project Manager for MOLA, managing the delivery of assessment reports, articles and book and publication projects for field projects. He has worked in archaeology in London since 1982 and directed many multi-period sites in the City of London. Julian's experience also includes work on Roman and medieval cemeteries and waterfronts and, as a site sirector, the monumental Roman buildings beneath Cannon Street station and part of the Dominican Priory at Blackfriars. He has also worked abroad, on medieval domestic buildings in Ferrara, Italy, the Roman port at Caesaria Maritima in Israel and am currently involved in the early stages of investigating a probable small Roman town in the Spanish Pyrenees.

Most of Julian's recent work in London has focused on the excavation and analysis of the Roman archaeology of the middle Walbrook valley, the geographic centre of Londinium. In addition to being the author of a MOLA Studies Paper on Roman buildings at 72–75 Cheapside and a major MOLA Monograph on the excavation at 1 Poultry, a complex sequence of over 60 Roman buildings ranging from the mid-1st to late-4th century, He is currently in charge of the post-excavation programme for the Bloomberg London site. Together, these sites define a significant study area within which waterlogged conditions have ensured exceptional survival of some categories of object within a well-stratified environment.

In addition to managing the delivery programme, Julian's work also involves editorial overview and quality control to ensure that MOLA continues to produce well-presented articles and books describing the sites it has excavated.

Julian has a degree in history from Cambridge University, an MA in medieval archaeology from University College London and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

John Lord

John Lord is the founding director of Yellow Book Ltd, an economic development and regeneration consultancy based in Edinburgh. Yellow Book has a wide-ranging practice with clients throughout the UK, and John has a particular interest in economic geography and the shifting urban hierarchy, and in the connections between prosperity, social justice and placemaking.

John was previously strategy director of Scottish Enterprise, the national development agency, and a director of EDAW (now Aecom). He is a member of the Academy of Urbanism, a non-executive director of the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, and the author, with the photographer Jem Southam, of The Floating Harbour: a landscape history of Bristol City Docks.

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