1 August 2019 | Comment | Article by Emma Poole

Affordable Housing Review: Panel Discussion - Meet the Panelists

Have your say at the panel discussion, hosted in collaboration with Positif Politics and Community Housing Cymru.

In April 2019, Welsh Government published their Independent Review of Affordable Housing Supply. The purpose of the review was to examine current arrangements supporting the development of affordable housing and to make recommendations for changes designed to increase supply and improve delivery from the resources available.

Following the Ministerial update on 9 July, we are hosting a panel session to discuss the review. We will be joined by the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James AM and industry representatives to discuss the future of affordable housing in Wales. 


Meet the Panelists

Panel Chair: Naomi Williams, Director, Positif

Naomi Williams is a Director at Positif, providing both public relations and public affairs services to clients within the housing, infrastructure, education and environment policy areas. Naomi Williams joined the Positif team in July 2011 as a Political Consultant within the monitoring team.

Prior to joining Positif she worked as a legal consultant for The Law Society and as support staff for both the Assembly Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM and South Wales West Assembly Member, Dr Dai Lloyd.

Originally from Criccieth, Naomi was educated at Ysgol Eifionydd, Porthmadog and Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor, Pwllheli. She graduated from Cardiff University with a BA degree in Politics and Welsh in 2009 and went on to receive a postgraduate Masters degree in International Relations. In 2014, she completed a Diploma in Public Relations with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.


James Burgess, Head of Housing Supply, Welsh Government

After graduating from Cardiff University, James joined the Civil Service and has worked in a number of policy roles since.

After three years as the Head of Tackling Poverty Implementation, he joined the Housing Department as Head of Housing Supply. He is responsible for market and affordable housing policy, the government’s 20,000 affordable homes target, and is the lead official for a range of schemes including Help to Buy and a range of schemes aimed at supporting SME house builders.

James led on the Affordable Housing Supply Review, working closely with the independent panel and stakeholders.


Dr Roisin Willmott, OBE FRTPI, Royal Town Planning Institute

Roisin is a Chartered Town Planner and a Director with the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). She focuses on delivering member services, leading the RTPI’s planning policy and practice activities in Wales and Northern Ireland, and is a member of the RTPI’s Senior Executive Team.

Roisin was a member of the Welsh Government’s review panel for the affordable housing review. She has held a number of positions in local government and in the further education sector, developing and delivering regeneration initiatives. She has also worked in economic and planning consultancy, working for ECOTEC across the UK and Europe.

Roisin holds a Masters in planning from Oxford Brookes University and has a PhD from Cardiff University. In 2017, Roisin was awarded an OBE for services to planning in Wales. She is a Fellow of the RTPI and of the Royal Society of Arts.


Richard Macphail, Partner, Head of Social Housing, Hugh James

Richard is head of Hugh James’ social housing team, coordinating the work of over 50 lawyers, paralegals and support staff. An integral part of this role is to lead on the firm’s work with communities to ensure that social value remains a key priority in all of the firm’s activities.

Richard acts for a variety of public and private sector clients for all aspects of commercial property work and has over twelve years’ experience of acting for social housing clients, with a particular focus on development work, including land acquisitions, option agreements, development agreements, package deals, planning agreements and infrastructure agreements. His familiarity with affordable housing developments has led him to feel strongly about ending the stigma surrounding social housing and seek opportunities to highlight the misconceptions that continue to exist.

Richard also advises a number of community groups in relation to the lease of properties under the Community Asset Transfer scheme from a local authority and disposing of sites and surplus land by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council.


Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive, Community Housing Cymru

Stuart was appointed as Group Chief Executive at Community Housing Cymru in October 2014. Previously Assistant Director of Policy and Research at the National Housing Federation, the trade body for housing associations in England, he was responsible for leading the Federation’s Policy and Research function, and for shaping the Federation’s futures and thought leadership work.

He is the co-author of the Federation’s think piece “Facing the Future: Evolution or Revolution” which argued for creative ways to finance affordable housing. In 2014, Stuart joined the board at The Housing Finance Corporation (THFC), an independent not for profit organisation which makes loans to regulated housing associations across the UK, before resigning on his appointment at Community Housing Cymru.

Prior to joining the National Housing Federation, Stuart worked for the local authority in both Swansea and Cardiff and Southern Housing Group in London across roles in housing management, supported housing and policy and strategy.


Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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