General Board Member, Urban Design Experience

CPRE London


Volunteer • Part Time

Sectors: environmental policy & campaigning, sustainability

Closing date: Thursday, 31st January 2019  

About the role of General Board Member with Urban Development Expertise

CPRE London is actively seeking an enthusiastic supporter of green spaces in London to join our Trustee Board and organisation to build upon our success as a respected organisation in the planning and development of London. CPRE London is specifically seeking a General Board Member who can contribute to our strategic vision and project development with particular insight in the urban design and development space. This is an excellent opportunity to play a senior role in a respected environmental organisation, applying your skills and experience to make a real difference in improving London’s built environment and enhancing London’s green spaces.

CPRE London is one of the largest regional branches of the national environmental charity, Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). The “urban” character of our organisation is unique within the CPRE network. This provides the London branch with large scope to lead on London specific issues and providing expertise to support CPRE nationally in respect of the interplay between urban development and encroachment on the countryside.

The new general board member should share a passion for green spaces and sustainable urban development. The new Board member should be someone who is enthusiastic and has commitment to the following issues:

  • Protect and enhance the use of London’s green spaces
  • Improve London’s built environment and green infrastructure
  • Promote public appreciation and enjoyment of London’s landscapes

About CPRE London Branch

Our Vision for CPRE London is to be a green, sustainable and vibrant world city. The challenge is for a better use of land and a wiser stewardship of natural resources. London should have a dynamic economy, be surrounded by pleasant countryside and become a greener, more sustainable city with lower carbon emissions and less waste. We want to encourage a stronger sense of place, with better urban design, good quality of life and greener, safer neighbourhoods for everyone who lives in, works in or visits London.

CPRE London provides evidence-based, well-reasoned and passionate campaigning. We have a long track record of achievement and are experts in the planning system and landscape character. Recent successes include:

  • Securing support for our Manifesto for Green Spaces and Green Infrastructure by all major political parties during the Local Elections in 2018 and the 2016 London Mayoral Election
  • Launching a major report in 2016, “Safe Under Us”, on the pressures affecting Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land with the support of leading architect Richard Rogers
  • Helping local campaign groups protect precious Green Belt and open space from development, such as Oakfield Playing Field in Redbridge, which were threatened by inappropriate housing development
  • Publishing research on “Space to Build” in 2017 showing that there is enough underused and derelict land to build over 1 million homes within Greater London without touching green spaces.
  • Influencing policies in the New London Plan, including strengthening protection for the Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land, and hosting a seminar on “How Green is the London Plan?” for policy makers and opinion formers.
  • Launching the “Go Parks “London Initiative supporting the activities of dozens of parks Friends Groups during the Love Parks and National Park City Weeks in July 2018
  • Initiating the ““Urban Forum/Network” within the national CPRE
  • Leading a consortium of transport NGOs to promote links between sustainable transport and planning
  • Published and promoted 2018 publication “Traffic Noise in London’s Parks” -- influential research on the impact of traffic on London’s parks

CPRE London acts with integrity, openness and honesty, basing our advocacy on strong evidence and proposing solutions wherever possible. In doing this we draw on our core strengths:

  • We are London’s leading environment charity in protecting green spaces and providing solutions for our city
  • We are respected by policy makers as an authoritative voice in the planning and development of London
  • We are trusted by a network of more than 100 community groups to provide critical advice to support their local campaigns
  • We are backed by a powerful national organisation that amplifies our voice, enhances our resources and increases our impact

CPRE London is a regional branch of the national environmental charity, the Campaign to Protect Rural England. We campaign to save Green Belt, Metropolitan Open Land and other green spaces in Greater London, and to make our capital city a better place to live for everyone. We have a particular interest in protecting green spaces, improving neighbourhoods, making better use of wasted space, promoting green infrastructure and supporting well designed, high density development which meets the needs of diverse communities across the city.

We have over 2,000 members and supporters. We provide them and the wider public with information and guidance on issues affecting London’s environment through our website, a regular Green London e-bulletin, and other mailings. We carry out research, publish reports and issue regular press releases to communicate our messages. We collaborate with staff from the national charity, also based in central London, to increase the impact of our activities and influence politicians, policy makers and opinion formers.

CPRE London runs a small office and currently employs three part-time staff members, headed by a Director who reports directly to the Chair. The organisation has a number of volunteers who work under the leadership of the staff on specific projects and initiatives.

We are currently based in at 70 Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6EL. Our office in Clerkenwell is a shared workspace at the headquarters of Alan Baxter Associates, alongside other professionals/organisations involved in the built environment, including architectural practices, urban designers, and other special interest groups. This helps us maintain links with other organisations working on related issues in London and further afield.

Role Description

We are actively seeking a new board member to bolster the knowledge of urban development/design/planning currently within the Board. We would expect this Board member to actively contribute to discussions on strategy and project development. In addition, we would expect the post holder to work with the other officers, general Trustees, and staff to develop CPRE London’s strategies and provide general advice as needed.

We are actively seeking to propose for election at the May 2019 AGM a General Trustee Board member with specific industry knowledge in urban development.

We are looking for someone with the right mix of design/development/planning expertise to fulfil this position. This role is for a candidate who is interested in a range of issues around the natural environment and wants to be part of an organisation that campaigns for the sustainable use of land and other natural resources to protect and enhance the environment and quality of life in London. Knowledge of or familiarity with London’s planning process would be helpful.

Overall Responsibilities

  • Always act in the best interests of the charity
  • Provide guidance and ensure CPRE London’s compliance with meeting requirements of the Charity Commission
  • Work with the Chair, other Trustees, and staff as needed
  • Apply design and development expertise to CPRE London’s strategy and projects

Specific Role Responsibilities

  • Actively contributing to the urban development strategic vision and project-specific issues as needed
  • Educating the Board and staff on specific urban development and design issues
  • Representing the Branch at public meetings, in meetings with local politicians, government officers, and other stakeholders as necessary
  • Contributing to the overall strategic direction of the charity
  • Being a general trustee with all the standard general legal and oversight duties required.

Person Specification

  • General urban development/design or planning expertise
  • Knowledge of the London plan with respect to housing, commercial development, and green infrastructure
  • Familiarity with relevant UK/London planning laws, construction guidelines and environmental requirements with respect to urban development
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work as a team member
  • Proven strategic thinking ability combined with the ability to process detail and get to the heart of an issue
  • A willingness to demonstrate commitment to CPRE London, including its vision and mission, and an awareness of (or willingness to learn about) the issues concerned with safe guarding green spaces in London
  • Previous NGO experience or private sector experience a plus, but not necessary.
  • Experience or understanding the responsibilities of charity trustees

This is a voluntary role.

Time Commitment

In addition to the four quarterly Board meetings and AGM described in the next section, the role of a General Trustee is estimated to take up to 4 hours per month. This will either take place at the CPRE London office or remotely.

How to apply. Applications should be made by submitting a letter explaining in no more than two sides of A4 how you believe you could benefit CPRE London as a Trustee on the Board. In addition, please include a CV. Applications should be emailed to . Please address to Carol Hamcke-Onstwedder, CPRE London Vice Chair.

Closing Date for Applications: Thursday January 31, 2019
Interviews: Commencing mid-February, 2019
Final Decision: End of February/March

Please mention when responding to this ad.