The Team

LocatED is led by an experienced Executive Management Team and Board of Directors. It has a multidisciplinary team with specialist skills and extensive property sector experience to get the best possible value for money for the taxpayer.

The team is organised in to the following core functions; acquisitions, asset management, development, technical and planning, legal, finance and people.

Please contact the team by email at, or refer potential sites for review by the Acquisitions Team to

A headshot of Lara Newman.

Lara Newman MBE

Chief Executive

Lara has over 25 years' experience in property and development. Having worked with many of the UK’s biggest landowners, agents and developers, Lara has held a number of strategic leadership and board positions.

Her experience of property deals and complex capital investment projects for government education capital programmes underpinned her determination to bring commercial insight and rigour the DfE’s free schools development programme.

Lara’s vision for LocatED has brought together a team of experts able to bring both experience and pace to the delivery of new schools.

Under Lara’s leadership, LocatED has acquired more than 150 sites for schools, facilitated over 75,000 new school places, and in doing so, has driven savings of many millions of pounds for the public purse.

Building on proven capacity and success, Lara is now expanding the scope of LocatED to provide development expertise further across the education estate, and other areas of the public sector.

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A headshot of Alyson Gerner.

Alyson Gerner

Finance Director

Alyson is a Public Financial Accountant and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. Most of her career has been in commercial roles in the public sector and include, Director of NHS Commercial Development, Head of Procurement for the Department for Education, Deputy Director for Risk Analysis for the Education Funding Agency and latterly Director of Financial Accounting, Operations and Procurement for the Funding Agency Shared Services team, part of the Education Funding Agency.

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A headshot of Julie Noble.

Julie Noble

Chief People Officer

Julie has worked in Human Resources for over 30 years, including 10 years at a strategic level within a FTSE 100 company. She has worked with both public and private sector and enjoys developing others so that they can reach their maximum potential.

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A headshot of Michael Wu.

Michael Wu

Legal Counsel

Michael has over 20 years’ commercial property experience in the private and public sector. He has been involved in the free schools programme from its beginning, managing a team of 15 in-house lawyers at DfE as well as external lawyers to acquire a large variety of free school sites within tight timescales. Previously, Michael worked on the Priority Schools Building Programme and the Building Schools for the Future Programme overseeing the delivery of several high value complex projects (including PFI projects). He now provides inhouse legal and governance support to the Board and LocatED colleagues as Legal Counsel and Company Secretary.

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A headshot of Gareth Whitmarsh.

Gareth Whitmarsh

Property Director

Gareth is a chartered surveyor and has worked in land agency and development for 16 years, acting across all sectors nationwide. His particular focus was on the acquisition and development of large-scale, residential-led mixed-use schemes for developers across London and the South East. In total, Gareth has been responsible for acquiring land for over 3,500 homes and securing significant commercial real estate for clients.

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A headshot of Matthew Robertson.

Matthew Robertson

Associate Director - Property

Matthew is a chartered surveyor and works between north London and the Midlands, leading acquisitions for LocatED in these areas. Having worked in the industry for 15 years Matthew has extensive experience in agency, mixed-use, commercial and residential development. Prior to his appointment at LocatED, Matthew provided consultancy services to the Department for Education, since the inception of the free schools programme.

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A headshot of Alex Metcalfe.

Alex Metcalfe

Senior Associate

Alex has 12 years’ experience of delivering education capital projects. Most recently, he has led over 100 property acquisitions for free schools, whilst completing a Masters in Real Estate. Previously, Alex worked as a Project Director at the Education Funding Agency and Partnerships for Schools (PfS), where he managed the delivery of site acquisitions and procurement of building contracts. Prior to this, he supported the Operations Director at PfS, leading on the re-engineering of procurement processes, performance and programme monitoring regimes and external reviews of capital programmes.

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A headshot of James Brook.

James Brook

Senior Associate

James is a chartered surveyor who has worked in the property industry for over 30 years. James was previously Head of Acquisition and Development at Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC where he was involved in the significant company growth, being directly responsible for new stores, distribution and manufacturing facilities. James has a wealth of experience in the acquisition and development sectors and has also worked on over 40 major planning applications for a mixture of retail, mixed-use and employment uses. James has also been a Director of a Company specialising in site finding, acquisition and development management.

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A headshot of Chris Bellamy.

Chris Bellamy


Chris is a Chartered Surveyor with over 20 years’ experience in the property industry. He has worked in consultancy for DTZ, where he started as a graduate, GVA and Cushman & Wakefield, client side for ASDA Stores Ltd and in local government for Harrogate Borough Council and the UK’s second largest authority, Leeds City Council. At ASDA Chris was initially a Property Manager before taking up the role Acquisitions Manager dealing with food store development and non-food store leasing. At Leeds City Council he was a Principal Manager working on land and property sales and development projects.

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A headshot of Ed Johnston Stewart.

Ed Johnston Stewart


Ed is a chartered surveyor with 18 years’ commercial property experience and is part of the LocatED Acquisitions Team. He has been responsible for the identification and acquisition of a number of sites for new free schools across London and the South East. He also advises on the disposal of surplus assets, as well as a variety of property matters relating to the existing educational estate including development, mixed-use and surplus land projects. Ed previously worked for JLL for 10 years specialising in commercial agency and development consultancy.

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A headshot of Emma Weintraub.

Emma Weintroub


Emma has worked in the property industry for over 30 years. Emma was previously Acquisition Manager for Co-op retail group acquiring convenience stores. Emma has vast experience in acquisition and development having worked as Senior Acquisition Surveyor at McDonald’s Restaurants, worked as a development consultant on large development projects including retail parks and supermarkets as well as experience in residential and mixed-use developments.

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A headshot of Ravinder Cheema.

Ravinder Cheema


Rav is a chartered surveyor with 5 years’ property experience, most recently with JLL. Rav has provided agency and development consultancy services to a range of public and private sector clients across the Midlands. Prior to that, Rav worked as a Quantity Surveyor for a Lincolnshire based main contractor.

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A headshot of Kevin Foster.

Kevin Foster

Development Director

Kevin has nearly 30 years of experience working in property development, having managed his own development business, acted as a consultant to various property companies, and for 12 years as a Director of Jones Lang LaSalle.

A Chartered Surveyor who has worked on a number of significant re-generation schemes and with extensive experience of structuring joint ventures between the public and private sectors, Kevin brings a proven track record of delivery, a broad range of experience across many sectors, together with an extensive network of contacts.

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A headshot of Will Atlee.

Will Attlee

Associate Director - Development

Will is a chartered surveyor and has over 8 years of property experience, most recently as Senior Investment Surveyor in a leading firm in the South West advising landowners, investors and occupiers on property acquisition and disposal matters. Prior to that, he was Operations Manager at Tregothnan, the 20,000 acre estate of Lord Falmouth, where he advised on strategic development initiatives across the Cornwall and Kent Estates.

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A headshot of Simon Kidd.

Simon Kidd

Senior Development Manager

Simon is a Chartered Surveyor with over 20 years’ experience in property development and investment.

He has advised and worked for the public sector and a number of the UK’s largest property companies, including Lendlease, Berkeley Group, Intu, Kier and British Land.

Simon has experience of residential led mixed-use development with particular emphasis on masterplanned urban regeneration.

He has worked on a number of major urban, mixed-use regeneration and development projects, from master planning, concept evolution and feasibility, through detailed design, planning, procurement, construction management then handover and post occupancy evaluation.

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A headshot of Guy Wheeler.

Guy Wheeler

Senior Development Manager

Guy is a chartered surveyor with over 14 years’ commercial property experience. At LocatED, Guy advises a range of clients on development, asset disposals and estate management, with a particular focus on the further and higher education sectors.

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Ruth Cunningham photo of her head and torso smiling

Ruth Cunningham

Planning and Development Manager

Ruth is a chartered town planner with over 15 years’ experience in both the public and private sector. Ruth has worked on a number of mixed-use development projects in London and spent several years with Transport for London’s Property Development Team, working with development partners and planning authorities across London to bring forward development proposals on TfL’s surplus land portfolio.

Ruth later joined St James, part of the Berkeley Group, where she was involved in the preparation and submission of planning applications, including the large scale development proposals for Poplar Riverside in Tower Hamlets for circa 2,800 new homes. Ruth is project driven, securing planning consent to enable project delivery.

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Headshot of Joyce Ncube

Joyce Ncube

Development Manager

Joyce is a chartered surveyor with over eight years’ experience in development consultancy, agency, and investment. Joyce has advised a range of public and third sector clients across health, higher education, local and central government, and registered charities on their real estate portfolios and infrastructure opportunities.

Most recently, Joyce spent two years at KPMG’s Infrastructure team, advising on commercial and financial structures for capital projects and various real estate assets. Prior to this, she spent six years advising on transaction strategies for clients such as NHS Foundation Trusts.

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A headshot of Jonathan Harvey.

Jonathan Harvey

Development Surveyor

Jonathan joined LocatED as a Graduate Surveyor in 2019 and qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 2021. Since qualifying, Jonathan has moved into the Development Team where he is a Development Surveyor who focusses on mixed-use and surplus land projects. Prior to joining LocatED, Jonathan worked at a number of companies including Colliers International in London and South East Asia.

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A headshot of Naheem Kharyat Siddiq.

Naheem Kharyat Siddiq

Senior Surveyor – Technical

Naheem is a qualified architect with over 20 years’ experience in both the private and public sectors, working on a wide variety of projects, from domestic to commercial works, through to large high-profile education schemes.

He specialises in school design - from ideas and briefing documentation, through to design development and on-site completion.

Naheem joined from Lancashire County Council, where he worked on Basic Needs and Primary Capital Works Programmes. Prior to that he was a Technical & Client Education Design Advisor at Archial Architects advising on BSF programmes, and also worked as an Education Design Manager for Capita, managing major BSF projects.

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A headshot of Robert Waugh.

Robert Waugh

Associate Director - Asset Management

Robert leads LocatED’s Asset Management function and, since LocatED’s inception, has built and grown an integrated team with deep and specific skills across a broad range of property areas to provide expert advice and management across the DfE’s managed property portfolio. This varied portfolio spans England and responsibility includes oversight and delivery of FM and property management as well as more strategic asset management. Robert is a graduate engineer (BSc), chartered surveyor (MRICS), chartered financial analyst (CFA) and holds an MBA. Previously he has also worked internationally in the Middle East and Africa and across property, industry and finance.

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A headshot of Craig Ellin.

Craig Ellin

Senior Asset Manager

Craig has over 15 years’ experience in central government property and has specialised in a number of areas including project management, benefits realisation, sustainability, finance business partner (property) and FM contracts management. Craig currently manages the £12m p.a. FM contract delivering services on behalf of the DfE to over 70 properties in the asset management free schools portfolio.

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A headshot of Daniel Armitage.

Daniel Armitage

Senior Asset Manager

Daniel Is a chartered surveyor and has had varied experience in the private sector in both client-side and consultancy roles. At LocatED, Dan leads on commercialisation initiatives across the portfolio creating revenue from the vacant estate. Dan also handles various Landlord and Tenant matters, dilapidation negotiations and assists with developing asset management strategies for potential site acquisitions. Prior to joining LocatED Dan was an Asset Manager for a £1.5bn mixed-used investment fund and worked for Cushman & Wakefield in its lease advisory team.

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A headshot of Michael Limmer.

Michael Limmer

Senior Asset Manager – Finance & Accounting

Michael has worked in property finance and accounting for over 20 years with experience across the corporate, investment and residential sectors. Michael was previously a Client Account Manager at JLL where he managed the accounting function for the Corporate Estates Management team supporting over 17 corporate clients from various industry sectors. He also led his team in supporting receivership matters within the Real Estate Work Out Team dealing with stressed and distressed property assets.

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A headshot of Will Mumford.

Will Mumford

Associate Director – Technical, Planning and Construction

Before joining LocatED, Will worked as the Operations Director at NPS South West – a multi-disciplinary property consultancy. Will is a chartered surveyor who has been based in the West Country for over 20 years working in retail, property and local politics. Will chaired the East of Exeter Growth Point helping to bring forward the Cranbrook new town, Exeter Science Park as well as extensive enabling of infrastructure. A founding board member of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership he helped provide the leadership to create and develop this organisation.

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A headshot of Duncan Bennett.

Duncan Bennett

Lead Planner

Duncan has over 18 years’ planning experience gained from working on a variety of projects in both consultancy and the development industry. Duncan has experience of various aspects of planning including complex mixed-use redevelopment projects, commercial development, residential schemes, retail development, education projects and leisure proposals. Duncan has also produced socio-economic impact assessments and co-ordinated the Environmental Impact Assessment of development projects. He is an Associate EIA Co-ordinator accredited by the Institute of Environmental Managers and Assessors (IEMA).

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A headshot of Jacqueline Nixon.

Jacqueline Nixon

Lead Planner

Jacqueline is a chartered town planner with over 25 years’ experience in both the public and private sector. Previously, Jacqueline was Head of Development Services at Hertfordshire County Council, leading a team which worked on planning obligations and the community infrastructure levy, acquisitions, disposals, local plan representations and planning application submissions. This role involved significant activity related to securing the development of existing schools and sites for new schools in Hertfordshire. Prior to that, Jacqueline was the Land Buyer/Planner for a regional house builder.

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A headshot of Nigel Smith.

Nigel Smith

Lead Planner

Nigel is a chartered town & country planning professional with over 30 years' experience in both local government and the private sector. Previously, Nigel was Associate Planning Director for Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd, northern business, advising on all planning related matters. Prior to that, as National Planning Manager for the Co-operative Group Ltd, he led a team of 6 Regional Planning Managers in support of the Food, Health & Funerals trading businesses across the UK.

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A headshot of Jeremy Aston.

Jeremy Aston

Senior Surveyor – Technical & Planning

Jeremy is a chartered building surveyor with over 20 years’ property experience in project management, planning and development including consenting a 25 acre international satellite teleport near Winchester for NTL, a 250 acre 50 MW solar generating station at Stratford Upon Avon and a hydro project on the River Avon at Pershore. Prior to joining LocatED he was appointed to examine two nationally significant infrastructure projects on behalf of the Secretary of State under the Planning Act 2008.

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A headshot of Mark Milbourn.

Mark Milbourn

Senior Surveyor - Technical

Mark has been with LocatED since 2017 and has a background in surveying and project management. He has over 30 years’ experience in property development and construction, managing major estate developments for Wandsworth and Westminster Councils. He also worked in the private sector as Contract Manager for Jackson Stopps and was Associate Director for JSS Pinnacle. In the early 2000s Mark spent time in New Zealand and worked on a diverse range of projects including roles as Development Manager of a $1bn mixed-use, luxury development for Melview Developments and Project Manager for development and procurement projects for Air New Zealand and Kiwi Rail.

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A headshot of Sam Grainge.

Sam Grainge

Design Lead

Sam is a Part 2 Architect from London Metropolitan University with an MA in Spatial Planning & Urban Design. He has several years’ experience working on residential, mixed-use and education development with some of London’s leading architecture and urban design practices. Sam has also assisted Devon County Council masterplan the restructuring and expansion of their portfolio of existing schools earmarked for growth on particularly constrained sites.

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A headshot of James Strang.

James Strang


James is a chartered surveyor and member of the RICS. James joined LocatED in 2016 following his time working for a central London developer. James’ role is mixed, with a background in acquisition and development. He leads on the acquisition of land for the delivery of new schools across north London and the midlands. James works closely with other teams too, specialising in non-educational development on surplus school land, seeking to release funding for existing schools whilst also contributing towards housing provision.

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A headshot of Rafe Seymour.

Rafe Seymour


Rafe joined LocatED as a Graduate Surveyor in 2019 and qualified as Charted Surveyor in 2021. Since qualifying Rafe has moved into the LocatED Acquisitions Team focussing on acquisitions and disposals. Prior to joining LocatED, Rafe worked at Warehouse REIT focussing on industrial and logistics investment.

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A headshot of Jenny Nicely.

Jenny Nicely

Head of Marketing, Communications & Business Support

Jenny has over 13 years’ experience in marketing and communications working in strategic leadership roles. She has worked both in-house in the public, property, education and charity sectors and at corporate communications agencies servicing FTSE 100 clients from a range of industries. At LocatED she oversees the marketing and communications function, leads on corporate affairs and manages the business support team.

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A headshot of Nadia Persaud.

Nadia Persaud

Head of Programme Management & Systems

Nadia has worked in project management and policy development for over 24 years with experience across private and public sectors. Nadia has a robust background in legal aid, sustainability, management information and court and prison estate reform. She developed the first successful Treasury bid proposal for Carbon Projects to minimise estate costs across the second largest central government organisation.

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A headshot of Emma Green.

Emma Green

In-house Property Solicitor

Emma is a Property solicitor with over 15 years’ experience. She specialises in advising on acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant work and loan security. She has predominately acted for Housing Associations, Banks, Charities, Developers and NHS Trusts over the years.

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