Chalmers swaps property for photography

Lesley Chalmers, chief executive of public-private joint venture English Cities Fund, has left the developer to pursue a new career in photography.

Chalmers, a well-known and popular face on the region's property scene, will not be replaced. JV partners Muse Developments, formerly Amec Developments, Legal & General and English Partnerships, will continue to push forward schemes by themselves. Chalmers will remain on call on a consultancy basis when needed.

She said: "My job when I was brought in back in 2002 was to help them make decisions about the first projects to tackle and to help establish local partnerships with councils and so on. That's been done and the partners are well placed to take the portfolio forward as they are."

Of her newfound business of photography – she has exhibited at Manchester's Portico Library and had several portrait commissions – Chalmers added: "It's wonderful to have found something I'm so passionate about, where time just flies like it did when you were a child playing."

Chalmers worked for 30 years in regeneration and was involved with the redevelopment of Manchester's Hulme housing area, work which influenced much policy thinking under New Labour. She also stepped down recently from her position as chairman of the Liverpool Commercial District Partnership, replaced by David Guest.

ECF's first scheme to start was the office-led St Paul's Square in Liverpool, now almost finished. In Salford, the revival of the Chapel Street area in partnership with Central Salford urban regeneration company will be subject to compulsory purchase orders. A corner site in Clayton Brook, east Manchester, opposite the plot once earmarked for the super-casino, has met with delays due to the sensitivity of the area.

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