Louise Wyman
Louise Wyman, Manchester's new strategic director for development, will speak at the event

Homes England design specialist to take on Smith’s role

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Manchester City Council has lined up Louise Wyman, director of Homes England and design lead at the West Midlands Combined Authority, to replace development director Eddie Smith.

Wyman is director of strategy and engagement at Homes England, currently based in the Midlands but set to relocate for the role.

Last year she was seconded to the West Midlands Combined Authority as director of design and development, to advise on the region’s economic growth and its impact on all communities.

At the time of the move, Sir Edward Lister, former chairman of Homes England, described Wyman as “an international expert in the design and development field.”

Wyman is a qualified landscape architect and chartered surveyor, and alumni of Harvard University’s School of Design. She also sits on the National Infrastructure Commission’s Design Group.

Wyman is due to replace Smith when he departs the council at the end of May. He had been due to leave at the end of March, however pushed back his exit date in order to support the council in its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Smith has been with Manchester City Council for more than 20 years and is a well-known figure across the city’s development world, advising on several significant projects. Smith has remained tight-lipped over what he will be working on once he leaves the council, however has insisted it will not involve projects in Manchester.

Wyman said: “Manchester is a progressive global city of cultural leaders, businesses, citizens and educators whose influence reaches well beyond the city boundary.

“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.”

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, 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. But Louise’s previous experience puts her in the upper echelons of strategic development in the UK.”

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Great news – a worthy successor to pick up the baton. Nice work MCC. And let’s not forget the two most important words – ‘Landscape Architect’!!

By Pete Swift

Sounds like a great appointment. Well done MCC

By Alty resident

Excellent appointment; looking forward to landscape architecture being central to the city’s future strategic direction and development and for Louise’s excellent work in Birmingham to follow through to Manchester.

By Simon Dowse

Top pick MCC. Having worked with Louise before I am sure she will do a great job and Manchester will hopefully become even greener in the process.

By James Scott

I like Louise – worked with her in many guises over many years. And very supportive of there being more women in high-profile roles like this. But no, this is not the right appointment.

By MancLad

Great to see a a candidate picked not only for their talent but one who is also a qualified landscape architect. Sounds like a shrewd appointment.

By MrWhite

No offence to the individual concerned, but what Manchester doesn’t need is a career civil servant, with no private sector experience and almost no experience of delivering development. And certainly not when the long-serving experts who’ve led development in the city to date around are no longer around to coach or mentor.

By John Dale

I wonder if she’s been briefed that she’ll only be allowed to deal with schemes by Deloitte?

By Mr T

The leader and ex chief exec will tell her who to employ/ how much to pay for sites/ which developers to use. As a landscape architect someone else can cook up the financial appraisals.
Business as usual for MCC.

By Taffy giant