Rethinking land

Breakout session 2 – 3.15pm

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Our relationship with land is the root cause of many of the UK’s most wicked problems. Yet, many communities are fighting to take back ownership of land and assets and productively use those spaces to build affordable homes, to house social businesses or to provide community facilities, including green and blue infrastructure. This session will explore the work done by recent land commissions in Scotland and the Liverpool City Region, discuss how the public sector and communities can become better stewards of our land and property and examine how we can rethink the domination of land and property commodification into an approach which provides us with thriving and affordable access to land for people.


 Rachel Bentley is an Associate Director at CLES. She has nearly 20 years of international project, client and relationship management experience primarily from her time as a director at PwC. Rachel left PwC in April 2019, to pursue a career in public policy. She was part of the inaugural Masters in Public Administration cohort at UCL’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. Prior to joining CLES, where she leads on developing CLES’s work on financial power, Rachel worked with the Biscay Government in Northern Spain, where she was involved in the development of a world-first fiscal system structured around the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Gemma Campbell is the Land Rights and Responsibilities Manager at the Scottish Land Commission. Gemma’s focus is on embedding responsible land ownership, and she manages a programme of engagement, guidance, training, and advice that supports key stakeholders across all sectors to strengthen their adoption of Land Rights and Responsibilities principles in their strategy and delivery. She has experience in finance, community led development and community ownership, and previously worked for Highlands and Islands Enterprise where she supported community led organisations to take ownership of and sustainably manage land for community benefit.

Hugh Ellis is the Policy Director for the Town and Country Planning Association. Hugh’s responsibilities as TCPA Policy Director include leading on policy development, briefings and engagement with central government and politicians. In 2018 he led the secretariat for the Raynsford Review, setting out a blue print for a new planning system in England. Since 2015 Hugh has co-authored three books, including ‘Rebuilding Britain’, ‘Town Planning in Crisis’ and ‘The Art of Building a Garden City’. Hugh is also a key expert in the Liverpool City Region Land Commission, which was launched at the initiative of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram in partnership with CLES.