Homes England expert named as Manchester’s strategic director

The former Homes England director Louise Wyman has been named as Manchester City Council’s new strategic director.

Wyman will provide strategic direction for development across Manchester, along with oversight of the local planning authority, the city’s housing strategy, and its economic growth and recovery post-COVID-19.

The high-profile urban design specialist and inclusion advocate previously served as Homes England’s director of strategy and engagement and played a key role in the establishment of the agency.

She will take up the role on 22 June 2020, following the retirement of Eddie Smith who spent 20 years working for the council.

Wyman said: “Manchester is a progressive global city of cultural leaders, businesses, citizens and educators whose influence reaches well beyond the city boundary. I’m really delighted to bring my passion for inclusive growth and designing a decarbonised future to Manchester and playing my part in developing the city’s future.

“In the moment of a global health crisis, civic leadership matters more than ever. The health and wellbeing of Manchester’s communities will be at the heart of our development plans.

“There’s so much talent in Manchester’s universities, research institutions, businesses and creative industries. I’m really looking forward to engaging these organisations, Manchester’s diverse communities and the construction sector in shaping Manchester’s growth.”

Wyman joins Manchester City Council after spending the past year as director of design and inclusive growth for the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Wyman’s arrival brings significant pedigree to the council, as her previous roles include leading urban renewal projects in San Francisco following its 1989 earthquake and helping to develop London’s Olympic Park for the 2012 Olympic Games.

She was also responsible for founding the government’s Garden Towns & Villages programme, which aims to create new locally-led sustainable communities.

Sir Richard Leese, Manchester City Council’s leader, said: “It goes without saying that this is one of the most demanding roles in local government, in one of the fastest growing and exciting cities in Europe.

“Louise’s previous experience working with both Homes England and the West Midlands Combined Authority puts her in the upper echelons of strategic development in the UK. I look forward to working with her and seeing what she brings to Manchester.”

Photo credit: Manchester City Council

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