I’m blogging here about Politics, History and Architecture. I keep a close eye on London (particularly Greenwich, where I lived for 30 years until 2014), the US and France – and my current home county of Northamptonshire.
I’m a freelance writer, lecturer, trainer and consultant, specialising in biography, history, architecture, politics and public services. I’ve regularly taught courses in the post-war history of London at the City Lit since 2014. I’ve also lectured at the Bartlett (University College London’s faculty of the built environment) and the University of Sheffield, and I’ve worked in frontline roles at the National Trust and at Elton Hall, a historic house near Peterborough. I’m currently helping to research a new history of Court Number One at the Old Bailey, due to be published by John Murray in 2019.
I have 15 years’ experience at the frontline of politics and planning and am writing a book about contemporary development in London, and elsewhere. I’ve written about contemporary development for the Guardian and Building Design as well as on this Blog (for more details about my journalism and other writing, please see the media coverage and publications page).
Until I stood down at the May 2014 elections I served for 16 years as a Labour councillor in the Royal Borough of Greenwich (representing Blackheath Westcombe, always one of London’s most marginal wards: you can read my councillor blog here). I worked as a Labour Party organiser in day-to-day charge of the 2005 general election campaign, and the 2006 local election campaign, in the Greenwich and Woolwich constituency. I worked as senior researcher for Nick Raynsford MP, a former Minister for London, between 2008 and 2012, and in 2013 I received a Labour Party Merit Award for political and community service.
I was Chair of Greenwich’s Planning Board (and the borough’s design champion) from 2006 to 2010. I oversaw the decision-making process for, and improved the design quality of, many new developments in Greenwich, Woolwich, Kidbrooke, the Peninsula, Charlton, Eltham, Blackheath, Thamesmead and Deptford. I had previously served as the council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, and had chaired both the Environment, Development and Regeneration Scrutiny panel (organising Greenwich’s successful annual public transport conferences) and the Leaseholder Forum. I served for ten years on the board of Blackheath Halls, one of London’s leading music venues, and was a governor at several Greenwich primary and secondary schools.
In 2012-13 I had a spell in the private sector: as an Account Manager at Indigo Public Affairs I helped lead community consultation on a number of large London developments including the residential conversion of Centre Point, The Stage in Shoreditch (a mixed-use development that put the remains of Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre on public display)and, more controversially, the redevelopment of much of the Royal Mail’s Mount Pleasant site, which I have blogged about here.
I have extensive policy development and training experience in the fields of urban design, local government and human resources. While a councillor at the Royal Borough of Greenwich I I conducted policy reviews into planning gain, e-government and how the council disposes of surplus property, and I drafted a comprehensive anti-bullying strategy. I was a Member of Urban Design London’s Housing Design Network in 2009-10, and of CABE’s Thames Gateway Design Taskforce in 2007-2008. Since 2012 I’ve regularly delivered training courses for the NHS Leadership Academy with Cumberlege Eden and Partners. Most recently I put forward a report with recommendations for how the National Trust could improve its approach to employees with mental health needs, which led to a new training programme for managers being rolled out in autumn 2016.
I welcome feedback, tip-offs or suggestions for what you think I should cover on this blog. I Tweet @AlexGrant24 and can be emailed at email@example.com.
All material on this website is ©Alex Grant 2014-. Link to it by all means, but please contact me first if you want to reproduce any of its content.