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Artists impression of Euston station HS2 platform

Community and Business Funds independent panel members

Four independent members of the Panel were appointed in December 2016 following an open recruitment process over three months, involving HS2 and DfT, with 42 initial applications.

The four independent members are Lisa Smart, John Roseveare, Talbinder Kaur and Sara Turnbull. They have experience in the delivery of successful community-led environmental projects, a track record in providing advice and support to small and medium-size businesses and experience of managing local government or third sector grant programmes.

For information on the Panel’s experience and background please see below. These four individuals have been recruited to sit alongside Cathy Elliott, who has been the Independent Chair of the funds since January 2016. Peter Miller, Head of Environment for HS2 will join the panel as HS2’s representative.


Click here to view the Independent Panel meeting dates.


Cathy Elliott, Panel Chair

Cathy Elliott is the independent Chair of HS2’s £40 million Community & Environment and Business & Local Economy Funds, linked to the Department for Transport, having been appointed in January 2016.

As a ‘leading UK’ freelance philanthropy and social policy advisor, Cathy currently undertakes a portfolio of cross sector work, including her HS2 role, as consultant advisor to the £150 million Big Lottery backed Power to Change Trust and as a Non Executive Director for a NHS Foundation Trust in Greater Manchester. She is a voluntary member of Tate Liverpool's Advisory Council and a judge for the national Beacon Fellowship Awards for philanthropy. 

Cathy was the Chief Executive of the Community Foundations for Lancashire and Merseyside from 2009 – 2016, working with over 50 private and public sector partners, including leading a national Santander £7 million enterprise programme over five years. She was a trustee of UK Community Foundations at the same time which included being a trustee of the £50 million Big Lottery Fair Share Trust, board oversight of the £50 million Government Grassroots Grants programme and the UK roles of Chair of UK Vital Signs for social policy and Chair of the UK Philanthropy Advising Framework. 

Cathy is a City University of New York Philanthropy & Civil Society Senior International Fellow in the U.S, a Clore Social Leadership Fellow in the UK, a post graduate of CASS Business School, City University of London, and a graduate of the University of Manchester, UK.

Talbinder Kaur, Panel member

Talbinder Kaur has 24 years public sector experience in a variety of roles ranging from operational experience in delivering frontline services to strategic management in shaping services against a backdrop of shrinking budgets.

Talbinder managed a Neighbourhood Renewal Fund in Birmingham, making recommendations to an advisory board consisting of elected members, third sector organisations and representatives from the Fire Service and Police. 

Talbinder has considerable experience in building the capacity of community groups to enable them to submit funding bids and deliver projects with measurable outcomes. 

Talbinder was the Chair of a multi-agency PREVENT group ensuring a joined up approach to local concerns.  The group developed proposals and secured funding for interventions in tackling the radicalisation of young and vulnerable individuals.

Talbinder is currently a lead investigator for police conduct and criminality across 43 police forces in England and Wales.

Peter Miller, Environment Director, HS2 Ltd Panel member

Peter has worked on HS2 since Spring 2009. He joined HS2 Ltd in September 2010 and takes overall responsibility for the sustainability and environmental aspects of the HS2 Project.

Peter has led the planning and environmental development of HS2 assisting the project to evolve from a small development organisation through to a major project with its first legislative approval that will enable the first stage of HS2 to be built. In addition to planning and implementing the important environmental impact assessment work that underpins HS2 Peter initiated the CEF/BLEF and Design Panel through high level consultation with Ministers and NGOs. 

Peter has represented HS2 Ltd at the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee. Through Judicial Review as witness before the Courts to support the case for HS2 on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport and since 2013 has acted as Principal Environment Witness in Parliament before the Commons and Lords Special Select Committees for the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill. 

Peter’s railway career spans over 20 years, initially with British Rail as Environment Manager on the then Southern Region, practicing as a landscape architect. He managed the Board’s Community funded programme of works across that region including stations schemes for the Bournemouth to Weymouth Electrification project. 

He joined the Board’s Channel Tunnel Rail Link team and was responsible for managing the environmental design aspects of that project. He was instrumental in developing option appraisal techniques that are still used today and contributed environmental reports to Government on behalf of that project. He had responsibilities for the development of the CTRL Environmental Statement, the CTRL Bill and contributed to the environmental evidence provided to Parliament. He was responsible for ensuring the smooth transition of environmental requirements to the private sector consortium who took over CTRL from Government. 

Peter was deputy Environment Manager on Railtrack’s Thameslink 2000 Project responsible for that project’s Environmental Statement before leading Railtrack’s West Coast Route Modernisation environment programme.  He prepared the Statement of Case for the Railtrack (WCML) Order and acted as environmental witness before at public inquiry. His environmental evidence before the European Community and UK Treasury secured funding from the Trans European Network. 

Peter has worked as an independent environmental consultant for TfL’s West London Tram Project and the Northern Line Extension to Battersea.

John Roseveare, Panel member

John Roseveare is an independent Non-Exec Director specialising in Governance, the Public Realm, Transport-led Regeneration and Arts and Culture.

John was a founding member of London-based third sector company Community Music Ltd back in 1985. He has since worked as a Director for a local authority and founded innovative start-ups and consultancies including Front Yard Company, Parose Projects, and the Waterloo Green Trust.  His main focus has been leading multi-disciplinary implementation teams for public sector clients. These have recently included Southampton City Council, the Isle of  Wight and the London Boroughs of Wandsworth and Haringey. 

John champions public space, putting people at the centre of a difficult balancing act during a period of rapid change in Local Government. He is Chair of Manor School Governing Body, recently rated outstanding by OFSTED, a Trustee of Brent Specialist Academy Trust and Director at Portobello Live Festival CIC, and sits as  an independent member on the HS2 Community and Business Funds Panel. He has a Coaching & Mentoring Qualification from Sheffield Hallam University, plays guitar and  banjo with his band JAC, and is writing a book about music. John lives in Kensal RIse in North-West London.

Lisa Smart, Panel member

Lisa Smart is a Liberal Democrat Councillor on Stockport Council where she is the Shadow Executive Member for Reform and Governance. She also represents Stockport on the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority.

Lisa is a Director of Stockport Credit Union where she chairs the Nominations Committee, a Director of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, a trustee of the Stockport Canal Boat Trust for Disabled People and a trustee for La Vida, an international development charity. She has been a school governor for over twelve years.

Previously, Lisa was Chief Executive of a charitable trust and held senior executive positions with several grant-making charities. She spent the first twelve years of her career in international investment management working with some of the world's largest pension funds, charities and foundations.

Lisa graduated from the University of Durham with a maths degree and has an Executive MBA from London Business School.

Sara Turnbull, Panel member

Sara Turnbull is Chief Executive of Bootstrap Company a charitable social enterprise with a network of 500 creative and social entrepreneurs in Dalston, Hackney. In 2016 Sara was appointed by Defra as Non-Executive Director of Covent Garden Market Authority and awarded Grant Thornton’s Face of a Vibrant Economy award for her work with social enterprise. She co-chairs the workspace panel for small businesses for the Greater London Authority and is a member of Hackney Council’s Design Review Panel. Sara is a Chartered Environmentalist with an MSc in Environmental Architecture and global experience in creating sustainable communities.

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