Build Better, Live Better Speakers

Speaker information for ‘Build Better, Live Better – Delivering affordable houses now‘ on 2 September 2020. This page will be regularly updated with speakers. Please continue to check this page for the latest information. For more information on the event click here.


Toby Adam, Director, Gaunt Francis Architects
After graduating from Portsmouth University, Toby Adam worked in a local practice in Cardiff, where he was responsible for dealing with nationwide leisure clients as well as education projects. He then gained valuable experience at a large multi-disciplinary practice, working for key commercial clients such as BT as well as leading the implementation of specialist health projects. Toby leads consultant design teams in the “Caring” studio, including working on major projects such as Clevedon Hall, Ilkley and Chalfont Dene – care community projects for older people. He also has experience of stakeholder consultation techniques, and has been involved in exhibitions and community workshops on both strategic land and independent-living projects. Toby is an advisor to and Design Review Panelist for the Design Commission for Wales and an accredited RIBA Client Adviser.


John Coleman, Chief Executive and Board Member, The Land Development Agency
John Coleman has been Chief Executive of the Land Development Agency since its inception in September 2018. John previously held senior roles at Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), worked extensively on the set up of its Residential Delivery division and was its Chief Financial Officer. John is a graduate of University College Dublin and a chartered accountant.


Carole-Anne Davies, Chief Executive, Design Commission for Wales
Carole-Anne Davies is Chief Executive of the Design Commission for Wales. Carole-Anne was previously Director of Cardiff Bay Arts Trust, a Trustee of Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales and former consultant to the Scottish Government. She is founding Chair of Gregynog Trust, the independent charity that owns and operates Gregynog Hall and Estate in mid-Wales. As founding chief executive of DCFW, she established a co-production business model at DCFW, integrating the expertise of independent, multidisciplinary, private sector professionals with that of the core staff team. She has worked with eight Ministers of the Welsh Government in succession. A humanities graduate, specialising in the history and theory of art and design, she is also an alumna of CSCLeaders Commonwealth International Study Conference, of Harvard Kennedy School Executive Programme and the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.


Paul Hackett, Director, Smith Institute and Secretary, Affordable Housing Commission
Paul Hackett is director of the Smith Institute and secretary to the Affordable Housing Commission. He was a former government adviser on housing, regeneration, economic development and the world of work. He has extensive knowledge and insights into the workings of Westminster and Whitehall and provides expert advice on political and public policy matters. He regularly chairs and speaks at seminars and events and has published various articles and reports. Paul was special adviser to John Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister and the House of Commons Trade & Industry Select Committee. Paul has also worked for the Trades Union Congress, the Economist Group, Financial Times, Dun & Bradstreet International, the ILO and the OECD.


Janice Morphet, Visiting Professor, Bartlett School of Planning
Janice Morphet is a visiting professor in the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London and is a CABE built environment expert. Janice was a member of the planning committee of the London 2012 Olympic Games. She was a senior adviser on local government at DCLG 2000-2005, having been chief executive of Rutland CC, director of Technical Services at Woking, and professorial Head of the School of Planning and Landscape at Birmingham Polytechnic. Janice has been a trustee of the RTPI and TCPA.


John O’Mahony, Managing Director, O’Mahony Pike
John O’Mahony is a founder partner and Managing Director of O’Mahony Pike Architects, a practice that specialises in housing development projects and Urban Design Masterplanning in Ireland. He is a past Vice President, a current Council Member and a Director of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland. He is also the Institute’s joint spokesman on Housing issues and sits on its Housing Committee. John has extensive experience over a 40 year career in the design and delivery of Private, Social and Affordable Housing throughout the country. Award winning schemes include Mount St Anne’s mixed development in Milltown Dublin 6, Hanover Quay Housing and The Gas Works Housing in Dublin Docklands. John also completed large scale Urban Design Masterplans at Ballymun and Adamstown in Dublin, in Cork North Docklands and Moyross in Limerick.


Annalie Riches, Founding Director, Mikhail Riches
Annalie Riches established Mikhail Riches Architects to improve the quality of housing and neighbourhoods in the UK. Her focus is on the delivery of projects that change the perceptions of the places they touch, making enjoyable new places, as well as great homes. Annalie contributes across all the scales of architectural practice; she is recognised for her masterplanning and strategic abilities, as well as her in-depth knowledge of housing. Annalie is also well known for her ‘hands on’ expertise in architectural design and detailing. Her projects include Velocity, the winning entry to the 2018 Infrastructure Commission Competition for providing 200,000 new homes between Oxford and Cambridge. She is also leading on Park Hill Phase 2, plus projects for Croydon Council’s company Brick by Brick.


Sue Riddlestone OBE, Chief executive and Co-founder, Bioregional
Sue co-founded Bioregional in 1994, an award-winning organisation which develops and implements real-life solutions for sustainability. Sue and Bioregional initiated the iconic BedZED eco-village in London in 1997, where Sue lives and where Bioregional has its headquarters. Subsequently, Bioregional created the One Planet Living sustainability framework, which has been used in over $30 billion of real-estate development around the world. Sue and the team established Bioregional Hill, a partnership with Hill Residential to build a new generation of truly affordable, discount market sale sustainable homes with local communities. Sue led Bioregional’s efforts in lobbying international governments at the UN to create what became the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. Sue Is a Skoll, Schwab Foundation and Ashoka award winning social entrepreneur. She was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to sustainable business and to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.



Prof Peter Roberts, Chair, Northern Ireland Housing Executive
Professor Peter Roberts is currently Chair of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Professor Emeritus at the University of Leeds, a Trustee of Kirkwood Hospice and Co-chair of the NHS Confederation Sustainable Development Group. His research and professional interests cover a range of topics, including strategic planning, regeneration, housing and community development. In recent years he has served on a number of public bodies, including the Academy for Sustainable Communities (Chair) and the Homes and Communities Agency (a non-executive director).  He has also chaired research and practice organisations including the Planning Exchange Foundation and the First Ark Group.


Tina Saaby, City Architect, Gladsaxe, a part of greater Copenhagen
Tina Saaby was Copenhagen’s chief architect from September 2010 until December 2018. She inspires, facilitates, advises, and coaches politicians and the city administration. Her responsibility has been to help define architectural guidelines and visions in developing the city based on The City of Copenhagen’s Architectural Policy. As the Chief City Architect, Tina Saaby supported the agenda of developing a sustainable and liveable city by engaging in the creation of a resilient strategic framework for the future city development and also by facilitating a dialogue about how to rethink the processes of this development.