Merton hires new head of sustainable communities

Merton Council’s latest recruit James McGinlay, is settling into life at the Civic Centre as the new head of sustainable communities. He comes to the council following his post as interim programme director of new build housing at Aberdeen City Council.

James brings with him extensive experience overseeing regeneration and development programmes within local authorities, the private and other public sector organisations.

During his time at Aberdeen City Council James was interim director of new build housing. Here he was responsible for initiating a new build social housing programme with a budget of over £40 million. Also at Aberdeen, he worked as head of community planning and regeneration, delivering a range of regeneration initiatives in the city. While in this position, he was instrumental in implementing changes to increase efficiency and effectiveness of housing programmes through freeing up funding where necessary and ensuring job and training initiatives were in place to tie in with housing development. Looking at the community as a whole, he also worked with private and public sector organisations covering health, lifelong learning and enterprise.

Prior to this, James worked for Harborough District Council as Director of Development, overseeing a proposed eco town project at Pennbury, which included up to 15,000-new homes, new schools and employment sites. This was part of the high profile government initiative promoting large scale, sustainable residential development.

James has also worked as programme director at West London Working, which provides work opportunities for the unemployed; he has also been chief executive of Marsh Farm Community Development Trust – a New Deal for Communities programme with a £49 million budget to rebuild and improve the quality of life of those in the Marsh Farm area of Luton.

Added to his wide range of experience in community regeneration, James was project director for the Arsenal Regeneration Team working with Islington Council, when Arsenal Football Club’s stadium was redeveloped in North London.

Leader of Merton Council Councillor David Williams said: ‘We welcome James to Merton. We will undoubtedly benefit from his huge amount of experience in driving forward innovative programmes which overcome financial challenges in these cash-strapped times and, and at the same time improve the quality of life for many residents right across Merton.’

James McGinlay said: ‘I am really excited about working in Merton and I look forward to getting stuck into progressing schemes that will benefit our many diverse communities in the borough.

‘It is great to come to a place that is already strong on performance as shown by Merton’s four star rating. I realise expectations are high. I also know that there is great enthusiasm amongst the many dedicated employees at Merton and I intend to capture that enthusiasm to achieve great things.’