Council & Staff

Council & Staff

Leeds Civic Trust is  a membership led organisation. We have a small team which operates from the Trust office in Wharf Street.

Our Trustees are elected by our members at our Annual General Meeting, they meet at least quarterly. If you'd like to find out more about becoming a Trustee, feel free to get in touch.

Martin Hamilton, Director

My favourite thing about Leeds... is the rich variety of architecture. From the high Victorian ornamentation of the Town Hall to the Corten steel industrial look of Broadcasting Place, there are building designs to suit all tastes in our city.

Becky Palfrey, Communications & Events Officer

My favourite thing about Leeds... is the treasures you can find if you look up! Whether it is the owls on the Civic Hall, the cast iron wyverns in the market or the incredible roof of the Corn Exchange.

Gwen Thomas, Project Officer, Imagine an Excellent Bus Service

My favourite thing about Leeds... is the amount if independent shops, cafes, bars and restaurants around the city, which bring a unique sense of identity and community to the place. There’s always a new place to explore and some great food to try!

John Child, Office Coordinator

My favourite thing about Leeds... is the rich diversity of its people and how that gets reflected in the wider city over time. I love that we live in a city that has developed a unique character and a living history.

Meleri Roberts, Development & Engagement Manager

My favourite thing about Leeds... are its green spaces. Having a little dog, we're always out and about, from Post Hill to Roundhay and everywhere in between. I'm particularly looking forward to adding Aire Park to the list for those 'bring your dog to work' days!

Jeremy Burton - President

I was born in Leeds and have spent most of my life in and around the city. I am proud of our city and support everything that the Civic Trust does to preserve the best of our built heritage and to promote and encourage good design.

Having been involved with the Trust for over two decades I am honored to serve as its President.   


Jane Taylor - Chair

Born in Northampton and raised in Surrey. Coming to Leeds gave me the opportunity to study law and to establish a career training the future generations of barristers and solicitors at Leeds Law School.

Since joining the Trust I have been a member of the Planning Committee attending Planning Panels on behalf of the Trust and fast becoming an expert on advertising hoardings! I am also a member of Events & Membership Committee. At the 2016 Annual General Meeting, I was honoured to be elected as the Trust’s Chair.   

Mike Piet - Vice Chair & Planning Committee Chair

After studying Town and Country Planning at Newcastle upon Tyne I worked in Blackpool as a Town Planner.

In 1991, I set up my own Leisure Development and Management Consultancy. Between 2004 and 2011, I was employed in the Capita Sport & Leisure team but since then have semi-retired, taking up specific leisure or planning consultancy projects.

I have represented the Trust on many bodies including the Waterfront Association, the Leeds Property Forum and the Leeds Sustainable Development Group – most recently elected to the Leeds Business Improvement District (BID) Steering Group.

Cliff Stead

I studied at the Jacob Cramer College of Art. The printing industry became my bread and butter career, working at Pettys in Leeds.

As an artist I opened the ‘Clifford Stead Gallery’ in 2000, in Chapel Allerton. My first London Art Show ‘A Tribute to LS Lowry’ on Cork Street opened in 2004 and my first overseas exhibition took place in our American twin city of Louisville, Kentucky in 2007.  Antonia Stowe and I set up the Leeds Owl Trail in 2009; something we are both very proud of.

I offer an arts perspective on Trust Council, culture is after all the glue that binds great cities together.

Meryll Wilford 

An early career in Production at the new YTV brought me to Leeds before training as a social worker, based in many of the Area Offices through which I got to know the city and outer suburbs.

As a member of the Events Committee I enjoy identifying new venues and activities for Trust visits. I help to organise Heritage Open Days in Leeds, and enjoy finding new venues.

As a member of the Heritage at Risk group, I have photographed and recorded information about a number of important buildings, focusing in particular on those in the outer suburbs.

John Pike

In the legal profession in Leeds for 40 years, I was a real estate lawyer and partner in Addleshaw Goddard. At various times my responsibilities included partner in charge of marketing, and head of the real estate divisions.

I am a trustee of Wade’s Charity which provides grant funding for the benefit of the inhabitants of the inner city of Leeds, it also owns a substantial portfolio of public open spaces which is let to the Council on long leases, to be maintained as public parks.

I enjoy working closely with our Corporate Members, maintaining our current members and encouraging new members to join.  

Jenna Strover - Heritage at Risk Group Chair

I came to university in Leeds in 2003 and work in Leeds city centre as an Associate Director for Currie & Brown, a large multi-national company. As a construction professional I have experience of buildings and the built environment.

A key focus has been chairing the Heritage at Risk group, which along with a number of volunteers, have been involved in surveying approximately 2,000 of Leeds listed buildings to ensure that the Council has a record of their condition, knows which are 'at risk' and can push to get the owners to complete repair works.


Jim Brettell

Arriving from London in the early 70's, I joined the Trust having been impressed with the 'Let's Put Leeds Upon Aire' publication. Since then I've been actively involved in a number of ways; putting together the opening exhibition for the Wharf Street premises, serving on Trust Council for two terms and membership (and for a time chair) of the Planning Committee. 

Since retiring as a Probation Officer in 2009 and discovering the internet has very little to say on the subject, my daily blog has gained a degree of notoriety and success having recently passed 4 million 'hits'. Other interests include a life-long love affair with pubs and heritage railways - trying to assist in the preservation of both.

Robert Solyom - Honorary Treasurer

I was born in Cumbria and moved to Leeds in 1978 to study for a degree in Accountancy. I joined Brown Butler in 1980, qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1984, became a Chartered Tax Advisor in 1986 and was made a Partner in 1987. Brown Butler is one of the largest independent firms of Chartered Accountants in the area. I am one of six Partners and we employ approximately seventy staff.

I was the Honorary Treasurer of the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition.

I am passionate about Leeds, particularly its public realm.

Richard Voss - House Committee Chair

I was born in Cambridge, moving to Leeds as a student, after graduating I worked as a Civil Engineer. I have great affection for the City and have been involved as a volunteer both with local community groups and with various aspects of the Civic Trust’s work.

I have been a member of the Heritage at Risk Group, this has included the survey of some of our many listed buildings. As Chair of the House Committee, i oversee the maintenance of the Trust’s properties - Wharf St. and the Bear Pit on Cardigan Road.