Day School Speakers & Presentations

Keynote Speakers

Carole SouterTopic area

Making space for everyone - spaces that encourage shared experiences for the whole community


‘At a time when so many forces in society are encouraging individuals to identify themselves with particular groupings, often in opposition to others, it is more important than ever that our towns and urban centres offer spaces that encourage shared experiences for the whole community.’


‘The history and architectural form of a place should guide the creation of those spaces. Engaging local people in the debate is often the key to success. So why do we find that so hard to achieve and what might help?’



Carole is the Master of St Cross College, Oxford, and former Chief Executive of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), now the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


As well as holding numerous voluntary posts and honorary positions, Carole has been the guest judge for the IHBC’s Gus Astley Student Award in 2017, and currently serves as the Chair of the Planning Committee of the Oxford Preservation Trust.



Carole Souter & her networks


Social Media

Kris DeclercqTopic area

Renewing Urban Centres: British strategies in action with case study experience from Flanders, and from government’

‘It is good that a city like ours has found inspiration in the UK to see how the same problems can generate creative solutions.’

‘We’re doing well, we’re doing better than other cities in Flanders, but still it’s a challenge every day.’

‘But by mixing measures, like subsidies, and giving investment incentives, we’ve seen in one and a half years more than 28 new shops.’



Dr Kris Declercq is Mayor of the West-Flemish city of Roeselare, Belgium.


Kris obtained a LLM-degree (Master of Law) at the KULeuven and specialized in commercial and constitutional law at the University Of Stellenbosch (South Africa).  After practicing law for a number of years he took his first political steps at the cabinet of Minister Stefaan De Clerck and later as Deputy Head of Cabinet of Prime Minister Yves Leterme and also as advisor to Herman Van Rompuy, in the field of constitutional law and local government.


In 2016 Kris became mayor, focusing on retail and city-planning and inspired by the ideas of UK-retail specialist Bill Grimsey.


He is president of the ‘West-Vlaamse Intercommunale’, gathering 54 cities in Western Flanders.


Faced with declining footfall and store closures Kris was inspired by The Grimsey Review and tailored the recommendations to Roeselare, setting in place a development plan to transform the town.


Roeselare and its revival

Roeselare is a city of some 62,000 people. Kris, after being elected in 2006 as alderman of economic development, remained in office until 2016 when he became Burgemeester.  He led the successful implementation of a progressive renewal programme from 2013.


Kris looked to a report by British high street ‘guru’ Bill Grimsey, that ‘made recommendations around areas including leadership, funding, business rates and parking’.


Roeselare’s successful programme is distinguished by, among other things, the strong leadership from the public sector, and the close partnerships and responsive interactions with local communities.


The experience of delivering change at Roeselare offers important and first-hand experience and insight into what is possible when securing sustainable new futures for old towns.


ITV writes

A plan designed to revive British retailers is being put to good effect – on the streets of Belgium.


A 2013 report made a number of recommendations on how to help UK retailers, but the proposals were largely ignored.


But the city of Roeselare in Flanders picked up on the idea and is starting to see the benefits.


‘I was very inspired five years ago when I read the review,” Mayor Kris Declercq told ITV News.  ‘I needed some big reforms and shock therapy for our shop owners.’


The report, by retailer Bill Grimsey, made recommendations around areas including leadership, funding, business rates and parking.


Ideas put into action in Roeselare – home to around 60,000 people - include:

  • Free 30-minute parking using smart sensors
  • Fining landlords if premises are left vacant for more than a year and offering cheap rents to new businesses
  • Free pram hire
  • A courier system to take shopping off your hands
  • An app offering reduced prices in the city and a gift card that can only be used in Roeselare
  • Free WiFi
  • More green spaces




Bill Grimsey


Kris Declercq



Day School Speakers

  • Cliff Hague, past president of RTPI, and Emeritus Professor of Planning and Spatial Development at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh and Chair of Edinburgh’s civic trust, The Cockburn Association.Topic area: Urban centres and their environs, past, present and future – an international planning perspective

Jess Steele, founder and director of Jericho Road Solutions and a founder trustee of Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust

Topic area: Communities in urban revival and regeneration: A case study from Hastings and its Heritage Action Zone

Paul McTernan, MIPI, MRTPI, FRICS, Technical Director, SLR Consulting and an urban regeneration specialist

Topic area: Financial and economic considerations in public sector regeneration – Advice from an adviser

Adala Leeson, Head of Socio-Economic Analysis and Evaluation at Historic England

Topic Area: Economic evaluation in projects, bidding and assessment – Creating the evidence base for a business case, looking to the UK Treasury’s model

Rob Lloyd-Sweet, Historic Places Adviser (South East) at Historic England

Topic Area: ‘Experience’ as inspiration and opportunity in urban areas and their surroundings

Graham King: Head of Strategic Planning and Transportation City of Westminster (Retiring) and Lewes resident

Topic Area: Urban design in historic towns: Principles, observations and solutions, from Lewes to London and beyond

John McLean, Architect and Director, Morgan Carn Architects

Topic Area: Brighton’s Hannington Lane – A case study in new design in sensitive settings

Jo Saady: Architect and Director, Ecotecture Ecological Design

Topic Area: Green, sustainable and environmental conservation: Practice considerations in urban contexts

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