Go to the TCPA homepage

If you're not a
member already –
you really should be! Read more about member benefits

TCPA Staff

TCPA Staff Team

  Kate Henderson
  Chief Executive (Maternity leave)
  Email:  Kate.Henderson@tcpa.org.uk  
  Tel:  0207 930 8903

Kate Henderson is Chief Executive of the TCPA. She is responsible for leading the TCPA's efforts to shape and advocate planning policies that put social justice and the environment at the heart of the debate.

Kate joined the TCPA in early 2007 and was appointed Chief Executive in 2010. She has raised the TCPA's profile through a range of campaigns and policy initiatives, most notably around Garden Cities, affordable housing, poverty and climate change. Kate has been involved in a number of government panels and independent commissions including the 2014 independent Lyons Housing Review.

Kate is a visiting professor at the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London and in 2014 Kate, and her colleague Hugh Ellis, wrote Rebuilding Britain Planning for a better future published by Policy Press. 

  Hugh Ellis
  Interim Chief Executive 
  Head of Policy

  Email: Hugh.Ellis@tcpa.org.uk   
  Tel:  0207 930 8903 

Hugh joined the TCPA as senior planner in April 2009. Before taking the post he had been senior planning advisor to Friends of the Earth for 10 years and had previously worked as a lecturer in the University of Sheffield planning school. Hugh's key responsibilities are to provide expert planning advice to the organisation.

Since joining TCPA Hugh has led the Planning and Climate Change Coalition which published a major policy document in April 2012. He has been involved in providing expert advice and analysis of the NPPF and Localism Act and the more recently the Growth and Infrastructure Act. In 2013 he co-wrote Planning out Poverty, a year-long research project with the Webb Memorial Trust which explored the overarching question 'how can we re-focus planning to be more effective in dealing with social exclusion?'

Hugh was closely involved in a number of TCPA-led European projects on climate change adaptation and mitigation, including the GRaBS project which finished in August 2011 and the LEAP project, which finished in November 2013. He is now working on the TCPA-led European project on spatial planning and energy (SPECIAL) as well as delivering officer and elected members training. Hugh has a BA in town and regional planning, a Diploma in Town planning and a PhD. 

Nick Matthews
  Email:  Nick.Matthews@tcpa.org.uk  
  Tel:  0207 930 8903

Nick joined the TCPA as Editor in December 1988, from the Institution of Engineering and Technology, where he was Editor of a number of software and engineering journals. As well as acting as Editor of Town & Country Planning, he has also overseen the production of a wide range of TCPA publications. He has a BSC in Physics.


  Julia Thrift
  Projects & Operations Director
  Email:  Julia.Thrift@tcpa.org.uk   
  Tel:  0207 930 8903

Julia joined the TCPA in May 2013 and is overseeing a range of projects and events. Earlier in her career she worked for CABE (the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) where she was the founding director of CABE Space, the government's adviser on policy and practice regarding England's urban parks and public spaces. Prior to that she worked at the Civic Trust, where she ran the Civic Trust Awards for Architecture among other things.

Julia has experience of working with both Whitehall and Westminster; and putting together and leading collaborative projects involving a wide range of partners. She started her career as a journalist and has had work published in numerous newspapers, magazines and specialist journals. She is particularly interested in the way that a high quality green and built environment can improve people's quality of life. 

 Claire Porter 

 Communications and Events

 Email:  claire.porter@tcpa.org.uk

 Tel: 0207 930 8903

Claire joins the TCPA from the civil service, where she worked as a press officer for the Minister for Women and Equalities at the Department for Education - leading on national announcements on issues ranging from the gender pay gap and women on boards to homophobic bullying and revenge porn.  Prior to this, Claire worked at HM Treasury as both the press officer to the Financial Secretary - working on budget announcements and ministerial visits, and as a policy official in financial services.

Claire has also spent time in the District of Columbia, as the legislative director for a Democrat politician, and as a strategist on election campaigns.  She also interned as a researcher for the anti-gun lobby in the US.

Claire holds a degree in political science from Bristol University and a Masters in Town and Country Planning from the University of the West of England. Claire is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. 

  Diane Smith
  European consultant to TCPA
  Email:  Diane.Smith@tcpa.org.uk   
  Tel:  0207 930 8903

Since 2008 Diane has been the TCPA's European and Corporate Affairs Manager, leading the GRaBS project which finished in August 2011 and the TCPA-led project, LEAP, which finished in November 2013. More recently she is running the Intelligent Energy Europe funded project on spatial planning and energy (SPECIAL). In addition to running European projects Diane has focused on Corporate Affairs, conferences, events, sponsorship, European Bid development, and study tour development and delivery. In 2013 she oversaw the delivery of the IFHP Centenary Congress in London.

Diane was a consultant to the TCPA for almost 20 years (1990-2008) responsible for conferences, events, setting up and developing Corporate Fellows, European bid development and media work.

Diane represents the TCPA on the HCA Skills Directorate; EA Adaptation Futures; DEFRA Built Environment/Adaptation Group; ESPON UK; IFHP and ISOCARP. 

Diane Smith was appointed Interim Chief Executive from December 2013 - July 2014 during Kate Henderson's maternity leave.

 Katy Lock
 Garden Cities and New Towns Advocate
 Email: Katy.Lock@tcpa.org.uk
 Tel:  0207 930 8903

Katy works on the TCPA’s campaigns and promotion of garden city principles in policy, education and the arts. She manages the organisation’s policy strand, Creating garden cities and suburbs today, including facilitating and reporting on cross-sector workshops and seminars, project managing and creating guidance and campaign documents, and promoting the garden city model through seminars, events and lectures and in the media. She has worked closely with international organisations concerned with the garden city movement, including the International Federation for Housing and Planning (a 1913 offspring of the TCPA established to promote the garden city model worldwide), co-organising their centenary congress in London 2013. She managed the production of the TCPA’s ‘Creating Garden Cities and Suburbs Today Guide for Councils’, ‘Good practice guide to long-term stewardship models’, a ‘community guide to garden cities’ and a project re-examining the New Towns Act. Katy is currently working on a practical guide to meeting the high standards of garden cities, and a research project looking at transferable lessons from the New Towns.

Katy is a Chartered Town Planner (MRTPI) and has a background in planning, urban design and sustainability. Before joining the TCPA in 2011, she worked for several years in the private sector as an environmental planning consultant.



 Michael Chang
 Project and Policy Manager
 Email: Michael.Chang@tcpa.org.uk
 Tel:  0207 930 8903

Michael joined the TCPA in 2007 with a Bachelor of Planning and Master of Science in Urban Regeneration, and is an Associate member of the RTPI.  

Michael’s responsibilities include policy development and research report to Head of Policy such as for government policy consultations and select committee inquiries, and preparing policy briefings on various consultation proposals and initiatives . He is also responsible for delivering on project work. Previous work on projects including joint research on eco-towns, high speed rail, and transport corridors for KRIHS (Korea), climate change adaptation in planning for the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, leading on the development of the Culture and Sport Planning Toolkit for Living Places and a planning guide in 2013, and managing training for planners including the East of England Climate Change Skills programme for planners, and the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Change Skills Training for Elected Members. In early 2015 he was involved in training for elected members in Belfast CIty Council on the new Northern Ireland planning system.  

He leads on the Association's health and planning work and recently completed a Reuniting Planning and Health for Belfast Healthy Cities and the Planning Healthy Weight Environments publication and workshops in 2014 with Public Health England. Further work is planned in 2015 on this topic including workshops in collaboration with councils and a research project on housing, planning and health for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. He is also responsible for hosting foreign delegations visiting the TCPA to learn about UK planning and in 2014 travelled to Beijing as part of a TCPA-led delegation of experts on low carbon urbanisation for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Beijing. 

He has previously worked as the Assistant to the Planning Technician at a large metropolitan council in New Zealand responsible for assisting with the administration and logistics of publicising local plan revisions, and as a Planning Assistant in a planning consultancy and responsible for preparing householder planning applications, and carrying out planning assessments and preparing assessments of environmental effect, due diligence, and neighbourhood consultation requirements.



  Henry Smith 
  Projects and Policy
  Email:  Henry.Smith@tcpa.org.uk   
  Tel:  0207 930 8903


Henry re-joined the TCPA in April 2015. In his career to date he has worked in regional and local authority planning and housing, inside and outside of London. He is a Chartered Town Planner and has an MSc in Town Planning from Newcastle University. He is an accredited PRINCE2 Project Manager and is currently completing the Future of London Leaders Programme.

 Henry joined from the Greater London Authority, where he was an Area Manager in the Housing and Land team. He had responsibility for a portfolio of housing associations and the London boroughs of Waltham Forest and Newham, delivering affordable housing to meet Mayoral targets. He was project manager on Mayor owned land in Canning Town responsible for securing developer agreements with members of the London Development Panel. He also played a lead role in establishing the Housing Zones programme which is investing £400m across London to unlock and accelerate housing growth.

 In his previous role, he was a Senior Planning Officer at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead where he advised urban and rural community groups on neighbourhood planning. He prepared Local Plan site allocations and policy on green belt, climate change and tourism, and lead on the Strategic Environmental Assessment. He also worked for two years at the City of London Corporation on urban design strategy and implementation, managing project teams retrofitting the historic fabric of the Square Mile.

 In his current role, Henry is responsible for managing the New Communities Group and preparing a new European project on the multi-faceted benefits of green infrastructure. In his previous role at the TCPA he worked on the EU project GRaBS and on regional and national green infrastructure projects and partnerships. He began his career as a volunteer at the TCPA working on the Eco-Towns worksheets and the Culture and Sport Planning Toolkit


  Alex House

  Projects and Policy Officer
  Email:  Alex.House@tcpa.org.uk  
  Tel:  0207 930 8903


Alex is involved in policy and project work across a diverse range of planning issues, including housing, green infrastructure, energy and climate change. She manages the TCPA's New Communities Group (NCG) which consists of local authorities, key delivery bodies and other groups bringing forward new large scale developments. The group helps to develop their proposals, embed ambitious sustainability standards and encourage a sharing of knowledge and best practice between the different sites.

Alex also manages the Planning and Climate Change Coalition, which is led by the TCPA and Friends of the Earth and includes over 40 cross-sector organisations and individuals. The Coalition aims to ensure that the planning system makes a full contribution to meeting the climate change challenge. It was influential in bringing about the draft PPS Planning for a Low Carbon Future in a Changing Climate in March 2010 and has published planning guidance and model policies on climate change for local authorities in England. The Coalition won an RTPI Award for Contribution to Planning in 2010.

Alex is Energy Planner on the TCPA led European project Leadership for Energy Action and Planning (LEAP). The LEAP project has been established to facilitate a network of pan-European municipalities to plan and deliver local sustainable energy solutions in line with the Covenant of Mayors. Alex also coordinates the TCPA's European project Spatial Planning and Energy for Communities In All Landscapes (SPECIAL), which aims to train planners in the integration of energy and spatial planning. Alex is experienced at organising stakeholder events, external seminars and Policy Task Team meetings. 

Alex is a Chartered Town Planner (MRTPI), has an MSc Spatial Planning from the Bartlett, University College London and a BSc in Geography and Anthropology, University College London. 

Michael McLean
  Projects and Promotions Officer
  Email:  Michael.Mclean@tcpa.org.uk  
  Tel:  0207 930 8903


Michael joined the TCPA in February 2004 on a part-time basis, overseeing membership recruitment, particularly local authorities. He set up new databases and worked on promotions, conferences and seminars. Michael also sought out potential advertisers for the Journal. Since March 2010 Michael has been responsible for conference and seminar organisation and delivery – including supporting the TCPA fringe events at the party conferences, the FJO lecture and the Annual Reception.

Previously, Michael worked for Planning Aid for London, as volunteer officer, recruiting and retaining volunteer planning professionals. Michael has extensive experience as a LA housing manager in the LB Brent, Hammersmith and Fulham. Michael helped set up the Black Planners Network, a group concerned with the scarcity of black planners, and their lack of advancement. He has also worked for the Commission for Racial Equality as an Investigation Officer looking at local authority practices, particularly education and recruitment services.

At the TCPA Michael has project managed the Rayne Foundation ‘Planning Community Needs’ project, the logistics, funding, delivery and attendance of the Planning for Inclusion and CSPT regional seminar series and statistical analysis for the Stakeholder Involvement in Regional Planning.

  Isobel Bruun-Kiaer
  European and Projects Officer 
  Email:  Isobel.Bruun-Kiaer@tcpa.org.uk  
  Tel:  0207 930 8903


Isobel is European and Projects Officer at the TCPA. Isobel's work has mainly focused on planning for climate change in relation to building resilience and making the move towards a low carbon future. In this role Isobel has worked on the Association's European Projects including the InterregIVC GRaBS (Green and Blue Space Adaption for Urban Areas and Eco Towns) project, has project coordinated the delivery of the Intelligent Energy Europe funded projects LEAP (Leadership for Energy Action and Planning) and SPECIAL (Spatial Planning and Energy for Communities in All Landscapes), and also the EU Lifelong Learning project CLIMCAP (Competencies for Sustainable City Development).

Isobel is responsible for coordinating the work of multiple international partners across different European countries and helping them work towards gaining political buy in for energy strategies and adaption action plans. In addition, her role includes facilitating the exchange of knowledge and experience on climate change adaption and low carbon development between municipalities and planning associations across Europe. Isobel has also been involved in piloting new methods of peer to peer working and mentoring between different European cities.

Prior to joining the team, Isobel worked as Assistant Planner at Planning Design Solutions and in the Planning Department at Cheshire County Council. She has a First Class Honours degree in Geography from University of Edinburgh, and is completing an MSc Spatial Planning at the Bartlett School of Planning.



Nneka Opara (on maternity leave)
Communications Officer
 Email: Nneka.Opara@tcpa.org.uk
 Tel:  0207 930 8903

Nneka joined the TCPA as Communications Officer in April 2014. Nneka works across a range of projects, and is responsible for amplifying the TCPA’s public profile, using events, conferences, traditonal and digital media and campaigning work to promote the Association's objectives.  She is additionally responsible for coordinating the TCPA's annual party conference programme. 

Prior to joining the TCPA, Nneka worked with a number of PR consultancies, and specialised in planning, community consultation and community engagement.  Over the years she has sucessfully managed media relations, events, public affairs and stakeholder relations for a number of high profile private and public sector organisations across the housing, planning and property development sectors. 

Earlier in her career Nneka worked as a freelance journalist and has written articles for a range of local, trade and national publications.

Shopping basket

Your basket contains:

  • Items: 0
  • Sub Total: £0.00
View basket