Council & Staff

Council & Staff

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 – Events & Membership Group Chair

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 Chair of the Events & Membership 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, focuisng in particular on those in the outer suburbs.

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.

Peter Baker

I am an architect/planner with a part-time practice, and have lived in Leeds for 40 years. I have been a member of the Trust since the mid-1980s, and am a past Chair of the Planning Committee (of which I am still a member) and a past Chair of the Trust, and a current Vice-President.

I am currently Chair of the Finance Committee, which oversees the financial management of the Trust, including agreeing to major items of expenditure, and is responsible for ensuring that the Trust’s financial position remains in good health.

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.

Cath Black

I work alongside my husband and immediate family in our manufacturing business. 2018 see’s the business’s 40th anniversary, we employ over 90 staff and ship our products worldwide. I actively work with schools,  Leeds UTC, to broaden student awareness into the numerous career options within the manufacturing and engineering sector.

I’m a member of Leeds Manufacturers steering group together with other local companies where we actively support fellow manufacturers and act as a voice for the Leeds Manufacturing sector along with the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Leeds City Council and other associated bodies

Martin Hamilton, Director

Meleri Roberts, Development & Engagement Manager

Dörte Haarhaus, Finance & Membership

Elaine Campbell, Office Administrator