Speakers & Panelists in 2020 Include

Meet the Speakers

Jonty Ashworth

Jonty Ashworth

Property Development Manager, Bicester Heritage

Jonty is the Property Development Manager at Bicester Heritage, the Centre of Excellence at the core of the historic motoring industry. Bicester Heritage has trailblazing plans to deliver the UK’s first 425 acre experiential resort to champion automotive motion of the past, present and future. His background is major project delivery and master planning, providing a diverse range of projects in motorsports, leisure and tourism. Project examples include: Zhejiang International Circuit, China; Royal Air Force Museum, London; BMW Park Lane , Born Electric showroom; Media City UK (BBC), Salford; BMW UK HQ and various Jaguar Land Rover projects.

Matthew Battle

Matthew Battle

Managing Director, UK Property Forums

Matthew is the Founder and Managing Director of UK Property Forums. Established in 2004, UKPF enables conferences, events and networking opportunities across the Greater Thames Valley region including Oxford, Reading and Aylesbury. As part of the range of events which UKPF have created, he leads UK Prop Social, a networking club for 150+ members and also the Thames Valley offer at MIPIM UK and MIPIM Cannes, France. Having lived and studied in the Thames Valley, he is very informed about the region and passionate about the development of a group for all those involved in the Thames Valley property markets. 

Hayley Beer-Gamage

Hayley Beer-Gamage

CEO, Experience Oxfordshire

Working in destination management for over 20 years across the public, private and voluntary sectors, Hayley now leads the award-winning destination management organisation (DMO) – Experience Oxfordshire – as their Chief Executive where she has continually developed their business model through the successful introduction and implementation of commercial services. Prior to this she was the Director of Oxfordshire Cotswolds’ Tourism Services where she developed and implemented a Cotswold wide Destination Management plan and has worked in numerous Local Authorities across Oxfordshire and Gloucester, having started her career with a tour operator. She has held various non-executive director roles including those at Tourism South East and the Tourism Society. Hayley is the immediate past Chairman of the Tourism Society for which she served on their board of directors for a decade and is now a Fellow of the Society. With a strong marketing background, Hayley is passionate about continuous improvement, relationship building and raising the profile of the importance of the visitor economy sector.

Hugh Blaza

Hugh Blaza

Hugh enjoyed a highly successful career as a commercial property lawyer, leading one of the major real estate firms in the country. Having graduated from University College Oxford and trained in the City, Hugh returned to Oxford in 1986 where he now works as a consultant to the property community. He believes that whilst there is much to admire in recent developments, the plans which are being forged to harness and accommodate the activity in the region will make the next few years the most exciting in the region for decades.

William Cooper

William Cooper

Partner, Harwell Campus Management

William Cooper qualified as a chartered tax adviser with KPMG and subsequently as a corporate treasurer before spending many years at Land Securities, the UKs largest listed REIT/Developer.  William held several financing and investment roles and prior to leaving was the group’s Corporate Finance Director. William transacted over $19bn of acquisitions, disposals and financing.  Notable transactions include the $6bn acquisition of the Secondary Market Infrastructure Fund; the $800m acquisition of the X Leisure Retail Fund and creating a $500m Infrastructure Debt Fund. William has also advised family offices/high net-worth individuals on real estate and debt restructuring.

Sarah-Jane Curtis

Sarah-Jane Curtis

Property Director, Bicester Motion

Sarah-Jane Curtis is Property Director at Bicester Motion, a position she has held since January 2020. Prior to this, Sarah Jane worked for Value Retail Management Ltd, as Business Director, Bicester Village. Before joining Value Retail in 2016, Sarah-Jane was Director, Covent Garden for Capco, where she was instrumental in the reinvention of this historical location. 

Sarah-Jane spent the majority of her career with Grosvenor where her responsibilities included London Estate Director and Fund Manager for Liverpool ONE. Sarah-Jane is a Non-Executive Director at TR Property Investment Trust plc.

Rachel Dickie

Rachel Dickie

Interim Chief Executive, Oxford University Development

Sue Foxley

Sue Foxley

Research Director, Bidwells

Sue is Research Director at Bidwells, having previously headed UK Research at JLL and Cluttons, and held positions with St Quintin, the Department of the Environment and the Center for Urban Policy Research in the US.

She holds an MSc in Property Investment & Finance from Cass Business School, an MS in Planning and Urban Policy from Rutgers University in the United States and a BSc in Rural Environment Studies from Wye College. She leads a dynamic programme of research at Bidwells, particularly focused on the real estate implications of the science and technology sectors across the Oxford – Cambridge Arc, working with academics and sector specific experts.

Ahmed Goga

Ahmed Goga

Director of Strategy and Programmes, OxLEP

Ahmed is an energetic and commercially-successful business leader with a strong track record in strategy development, service delivery and operational management in the public and private sectors.

With 20 years’ leadership experience in various senior management team and Board level roles, he has an extensive record in building high-level relationships and partnerships at local, regional and national levels to deliver innovative business solutions.

Ahmed’s role at OxLEP sees him leading a variety of high-profile strategic programmes with global impact, including continued involvement in Oxfordshire’s growth deal and the county’s response to the government’s industrial strategy.

Will Gompertz

Will Gompertz

BBC Arts Editor

Will Gompertz is a world expert on Modern Art and was voted one of the World’s Top 50 Creative Thinkers by New York’s Creativity Magazine. Will’s latest book “Think Like an Artist: Imaginative Ways to a More Creative and Productive Life” was released by Penguin in July 2015. A witty and inspiring read, it identifies ten lessons to be learned from the greatest artists across history, to give us tools to unlock creativity and thrive at work and in our personal lives. As a writer, he has penned numerous articles for, among others, The Times and The Guardian. His book, “What are you Looking At? 50 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye”, was published by Penguin in Autumn 2012. Will was previously a Director of The Tate Gallery and in 2009 he wrote and performed a sell-out one-man comedy show about modern art at the Edinburgh Festival. He is currently BBC Arts Editor.

Dominic Hare

Dominic Hare

CEO, Blenheim

Dominic Hare was born in Liverpool but at 18 came up to Oxford to study Law. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG, he spent the next ten years in corporate finance and investment banking (with Paribas and Barclays Capital), specialising in the media and telecoms sector. He is proud to have helped DJ Chris Evans buy Virgin Radio but also to have helped Bob the Builder buy both Thomas the Tank Engine and Barney the Purple Dinosaur. For 13 years, he served as Finance Director at Blenheim and is now the Chief Executive Officer at Blenheim.  At Blenheim, he and the team are delivering an energetic vision of the evolved role of a landed estate today, not an historic anachronism but on the powerhouse of the local economy and the heartbeat of local life.

Sarah Haywood

Sarah Haywood

Managing Director, Advanced Oxford

Sarah Haywood is Managing Director for Advanced Oxford, a group of senior leaders from the area’s major knowledge-intensive businesses, working together to support the long-term development of the Oxford region as a dynamic and prosperous place to work and live.  Sarah is also an Executive Director with MedCity, the life sciences cluster organisation for London and the greater south east of England.  Sarah joined Advanced Oxford in July, 2019 and has been working with MedCity since its foundation and launch in 2014.

Dr Caroline Livingstone

Dr Caroline Livingstone

Head of Property, Culham Science Centre

Caroline is the Head of Property for UKAEA at Culham Science Centre which includes responsibility for management of the Commercial property at Culham Science Centre as well as the Culham Estate, its existing buildings and  the development of new buildings for both UKAEA and commercial property use.  Caroline’s role includes involvement in the development of the Harwell Campus as UKAEA are majority landowner and Harwell Joint Venture partner. Caroline was previously General Manager of Begbroke Science Park on behalf of the University of Oxford.  In her time there the site more than doubled in size and introduced a series of new business models for innovation, research collaboration and campus management. Caroline gained her PhD in Biotechnology from Sheffield University before working for UKAEA (then AEA Technology) at Harwell where she managed a variety of government research and export promotion programmes as well as the Marketing Department.

Naisha Polaine

Naisha Polaine

Senior Advisor, Department of International Trade

Naisha is a Senior Advisor to the Department of International Trade working across the UK to identify large-capital opportunities ready for international investment and works with international developers to deliver their ambitions in the UK. A property professional, she networks across Whitehall, private sector and public sector bodies to ensure that the best of the UK offer is promoted overseas. Naisha has also recently taken up an appointment as a Non-Executive Director for Hill Group – an Award-winning housebuilder with a turnover in excess of £500 million. Naisha is also a former Board Member for Cambridge University delivering the City’s 3000 home urban extension at North-West Cambridge.

Veronica Reynolds

Veronica Reynolds

Sustainable Travel Advisor, Milton Park

Veronica is a social psychologist by training and behavioural change expert. She is currently working at Milton Park as a Specialist Travel Advisor, helping to reduce single occupancy car use by encouraging more sustainable travel and preparing the area for future mobility challenges. Veronica has over 20 years’ experience in encouraging people to walk and cycle for health and transport.  Veronica has a background in public health and has previously worked on many diverse health and transport projects to get people moving, Veronica’s expertise lies in people-centred, behaviour change approaches and demonstrating the impacts of interventions through pragmatic and robust evaluation. She has recently been awarded the ‘Smarter Travel Professional of the Year Award’ in the  Smarter Travel Awards for her outstanding personal contribution to the industry. She firmly believes in ‘practicing what you preach’, cycling 25 km to work and back most days…. on an e-bike.

Charles Rowton-Lee

Charles Rowton-Lee

Head of Commercial Agency, Savills

Nigel Tipple

Nigel Tipple

Chief Executive, OxLEP

Nigel joined Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) in June 2013 and has made his mark with energetic and inspirational leadership. He spearheaded the bid for the Oxford and Oxfordshire City Deal, the EU Structural and Investment Fund and Strategic Economic Plan submissions and is assisting the county’s businesses into a period of exceptional growth. Oxfordshire is already a powerhouse of innovation and wealth creation and Nigel is focused on building upon the region’s unique strengths to deliver economic success through the commercialisation of innovation. Nigel has over 20 years’ experience in the formation, development, operation and management of Public/Private sector organisations.

Richard Todd

Richard Todd

Head of Oxford Office, Bidwells

Richard joined Bidwells as partner in 2015 and became head of Bidwells’ Oxford office in 2019 where he now leads a 60+ multi-disciplined team.

As the spearhead of Bidwells’ growth in Oxford, Richard dedicates much of his time to supporting the region’s market place, with a focus on the Education and Science and Technology sectors thriving across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. Clients include the University and Colleges, Oxford Science Innovations (OSI) and Harwell.

Bidwells recognises the Oxford-Cambridge Arc’s potential to transform the UK economy. The firm has long understood that the Arc’s leading businesses and institutions are not driven simply by a chase for economic growth but by an academic push to combat the universal challenges threatening our planet and humankind.  

Richard’s understanding of the region and knowledge of its markets is pivotal to the firm’s ability to unlock value on behalf of its clients in Oxfordshire.

Richard Venables

Richard Venables

Director, VSL & Partners

Richard was educated at St Edward’s, Oxford and Exeter University where he gained a geography degree. He commenced his surveying career in 1989 at Gerald Eve in London. He joined James Offen and Partners and in 2002 jointly started VSL. Richard has considerable experience in office, industrial, retail, development and investment agency work. Richard dedicates considerable time and energy to economic and cultural development in Oxfordshire. He is a board member of Experience Oxfordshire and Active Oxfordshire, a member of the Ashmolean corporate circle, a member of the Oxford City Council Economic Growth Steering Group and Chair of Reciprocate.  Richard was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for Oxfordshire in 2017 and High Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 2018/19. Outside work he is a hockey fanatic playing at Oxford Hawks Hockey Club and an enthusiastic park runner.

Meet the Judges

Jonty Ashworth

Jonty Ashworth

Property Development Manager, Bicester Heritage

Jonty is the Property Development Manager at Bicester Heritage, the Centre of Excellence at the core of the historic motoring industry. Bicester Heritage has trailblazing plans to deliver the UK’s first 425 acre experiential resort to champion automotive motion of the past, present and future. His background is major project delivery and master planning, providing a diverse range of projects in motorsports, leisure and tourism. Project examples include: Zhejiang International Circuit, China; Royal Air Force Museum, London; BMW Park Lane , Born Electric showroom; Media City UK (BBC), Salford; BMW UK HQ and various Jaguar Land Rover projects.

Matthew Battle

Matthew Battle

Managing Director, UK Property Forums (Joint Chair of the Judging Panel)

Matthew is the Founder and Managing Director of UK Property Forums. Established in 2004, UKPF enables conferences, events and networking opportunities across the Greater Thames Valley region including Oxford, Reading and Aylesbury. As part of the range of events which UKPF have created, he leads UK Prop Social, a networking club for 150+ members and also the Thames Valley offer at MIPIM UK and MIPIM Cannes, France. Having lived and studied in the Thames Valley, he is very informed about the region and passionate about the development of a group for all those involved in the Thames Valley property markets. 

Hugh Blaza

Hugh Blaza

Hugh enjoyed a highly successful career as a commercial property lawyer, leading one of the major real estate firms in the country. Having graduated from University College Oxford and trained in the City, Hugh returned to Oxford in 1986 where he now works as a consultant to the property community. He believes that whilst there is much to admire in recent developments, the plans which are being forged to harness and accommodate the activity in the region will make the next few years the most exciting in the region for decades.

James Dipple

James Dipple

Chief Executive, MEPC

James is a chartered surveyor and has over 35 years’ experience in commercial property. He joined MEPC in 2008 as a main Board Director and Managing Director for Milton Park and Silverstone Park before being promoted to CEO in 2014. In a previous role he led Milton Park’s modernisation between 1997 and 2001, and was instrumental in developing a number of well-known business parks in the UK whilst a commercial partner at Strutt and Parker. James has a keen interest in architecture and the built environment. He is a mentor for students studying Land Management at University of Reading where he gained his degree. In his spare time James enjoys sailing and cycling.

Dr Caroline Livingstone

Dr Caroline Livingstone

Head of Property, Culham Science Centre

Caroline is the Head of Property for UKAEA at Culham Science Centre which includes responsibility for management of the Commercial property at Culham Science Centre as well as the Culham Estate, its existing buildings and  the development of new buildings for both UKAEA and commercial property use.  Caroline’s role includes involvement in the development of the Harwell Campus as UKAEA are majority landowner and Harwell Joint Venture partner. Caroline was previously General Manager of Begbroke Science Park on behalf of the University of Oxford.  In her time there the site more than doubled in size and introduced a series of new business models for innovation, research collaboration and campus management. Caroline gained her PhD in Biotechnology from Sheffield University before working for UKAEA (then AEA Technology) at Harwell where she managed a variety of government research and export promotion programmes as well as the Marketing Department.

Agne Milukaite

Agne Milukaite

Founder, cycle.land

Agne Milukaite is the founder of www.cycle.land. The peer-to-peer bicycle sharing platform cycle.land aims to revolutionize the journeys that are 5 miles or less. Prior to launching this venture, Agne worked for a Canadian home robotics company in Berkeley, California. She received her MSc in Migration Studies at University of Oxford and as a social scientist by training and an entrepreneur by making is passionate and excited about the discussion on sharing economy and solving travel problems in cities like Cambridge and Oxford.

Jayne Norris

Jayne Norris

Director, Edgars

Jayne began her professional planning career working for the PSI (Power Station Impact) team at Oxford Brookes whilst a post graduate planning student. This was followed by twenty years in local government at South Oxfordshire District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council. In 2007 Jayne joined Edgar as a Director. Her experience spans 24 years across the spectrum of planning work, including Development Control, Local Plans, Enforcement, Heritage Proposals, Appeals and Environmental Impact Assessment, in both local government and private practice. Jayne was elected as a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 1989, having completed an MSc in Urban Planning from Oxford Brookes University.

Penny Rinta-Suksi

Penny Rinta-Suksi

Partner, Blake Morgan

Penny is a commercial lawyer and an OxLEP non executive director. She leads Blake Morgan’s Local Government England team with over 19 years’ experience in advising private sector clients, funders, public sector and third sector on major projects and commercial contracts. She has strong experience in the leisure, culture and housing sectors and sound working knowledge of education, health, financial, manufacturing, waste and energy markets. Penny leads on combined housing, leisure and civic infrastructure projects, working on innovative regeneration models to include joint venture vehicles and private sector partnering and contracting.

Hannah Smart

Hannah Smart

Director & Owner, Edge Urban Design

Winner of the Oxford Property Festival Young Person of the Year for 2018, Hannah is a leader in her field and promotes high-quality development and regeneration through her comprehensive and inspiring design process. Hannah recently featured in the BBC 2 documentary “The Newbuilds are Coming”, which followed a housing development through the Planning System; observing the extensive design process and detailed consideration that takes place behind the scenes of the development industry. She has been involved with masterplans and visions for NW Bicester Eco Town and successfully designed and delivered mixed-use masterplans of between 1 and 20,000 units in the South East, predominantly in Oxfordshire. A rising star of the future. 

Nigel Tipple

Nigel Tipple

Chief Executive, OxLEP

Nigel joined Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) in June 2013 and has made his mark with energetic and inspirational leadership. He spearheaded the bid for the Oxford and Oxfordshire City Deal, the EU Structural and Investment Fund and Strategic Economic Plan submissions and is assisting the county’s businesses into a period of exceptional growth. Oxfordshire is already a powerhouse of innovation and wealth creation and Nigel is focused on building upon the region’s unique strengths to deliver economic success through the commercialisation of innovation. Nigel has over 20 years’ experience in the formation, development, operation and management of Public/Private sector organisations.

 

Richard Venables

Richard Venables

Director, VSL & Partners

Richard was educated at St Edward’s, Oxford and Exeter University where he gained a geography degree. He commenced his surveying career in 1989 at Gerald Eve in London. He joined James Offen and Partners and in 2002 jointly started VSL. Richard has considerable experience in office, industrial, retail, development and investment agency work. Richard dedicates considerable time and energy to economic and cultural development in Oxfordshire. He is a board member of Experience Oxfordshire and Active Oxfordshire, a member of the Ashmolean corporate circle, a member of the Oxford City Council Economic Growth Steering Group and Chair of Reciprocate.  Richard was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for Oxfordshire in 2017 and High Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 2018/19. Outside work he is a hockey fanatic playing at Oxford Hawks Hockey Club and an enthusiastic park runner.

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