I moved to London in 2006 and rented a flat in the Barbican. In 2008 I bought my flat in Hatfield House on Golden Lane Estate. I love where I live, and having more time since retiring, I’ve been working to make it a better place for us all to live and work.
Involved in the community
With Jacqueline Swanson I set up our local Covid hub which linked volunteers to those who needed help. This evolved over the pandemic to local WhatsApp groups helping their neighbours and volunteers delivering Culture Mile Play Packs to all the children on the estate.
Wifi for those who needed it
During lockdown access to wifi became increasingly important and I realised that there were a number of residents who needed it but were unable to afford the usual packages. The Corporation required evidence of this digital need, so with other residents I organised a door to door survey to identify the scale of the problem. Armed with this I was able to get the Corporation to provide dongles to a number of families to help with home schooling and working from home.
Square Mile Food Bank
I persuaded the Corporation to allow the Golden Lane Community Centre to be used as the location for a food bank, established by Liz King, to help the residents in the Square Mile. Apart from opening and closing the building every morning and evening, I helped pack and deliver food and had my own slot taking ‘out of date’ flowers to our older residents which gave me a chance to check they were OK, whether they needed any shopping and just to have a chat. A big thank you to all the Square Mile food bank team of volunteers.
With the support of the Golden Baggers Steven Malies, Beverley Byethway and Jacqueline Swanson, I arranged for a plant give-away in May. We found a charity that was saving plants from nurseries hit by the pandemic unable to get rid of their plants, and with support from Longmans, our local florist and greengrocer, we assembled over 500 plants which volunteers distributed to every frontdoor on the estate.
I enjoy gardening and have remained active with the Golden Baggers allotment group. I am currently the treasurer and have organised the open days and trips with other committee members and continue to enjoy my home grown asparagus every summer.
Caring for the environment
The Cycle Project
During lock down, with the increase in cycling and cycle theft, Paul Lincoln and other residents identified the need for more secure cycle storage on the estate. As part of that team we devised a survey to understand more clearly the need and where people kept their bikes. I identified that funding could be available through the Community Infrastructure Levy Neighbourhood Grant Scheme and the project was born.
The small project team surveyed all the existing and potential locations and with the help of the local contractor ISG a cost plan was devised and I sponsored the grant application for £50,000 which was approved at the close of 2021.
2022 will see the project team holding estate wide consultations before a planning application is made and hopefully by the end of the year there will be refurbished cycle sheds, additional cycle parking outside the community centre and leisure centre and secure individual and group bike lockers across the estate.
I want to see an improvement in our air quality. For years I have tapped on windows of drivers who have their engines running around the estate, not always successfully, and in 2017 I trained as a volunteer for ‘Vehicle Idling Action,’ a campaign that seeks to improve the quality of the air we all breathe by asking drivers to switch off their engines when parked.
I have been part of the Science in the City project measuring air quality on the Barbican and Golden Lane Estate. Each month I replace five monitoring tubes in the communal areas that are then analysed. Information about the project can be seen here
Looking after our unique area
Having worked as an architect, I understand building design, budgets, planning and procurement. I know how to ensure quality buildings are built.
The Denizen in Golden Lane has now been built and residents have moved in. COPLAI opened its doors in September 2021 and the building of the residential tower continues. I have worked to ensure that they will be good neighbours. I led the fight to save the trees on the school site. We managed to save one and have replacement trees for those that were lost.
Passionate about education
I’m proud to have been a governor of Richard Cloudesley School, a very special Ofsted Outstanding school. I stood down at the end of 2021 but hope to have a continuing involvment with the school.
I practised as an architect for 40 years, working on a range of different buildings. For the last 20 years I specialised in airport planning and design. I have worked in the UK and abroad, particularly in Papua New Guinea, where I worked on a range of health projects for the Asian Development Bank and the Government. I was part of a European team in Southern France working on the ITER project, the world’s first full size trial project for Nuclear Fusion, which could help solve the world’s energy problems and is growing out of the ground as I write. I’ve been involved in front end design but also worked as a project manager delivering major projects both as a consultant and as a client, so I know the pitfalls, the value of good design, good specification, good procurement, good contract management and overall good project management… something I think the City has a lot to learn about.