Who we are

Mario Wolf, Task Force Director

Mario Wolf

Mario Wolf is Director of the Right to Build Task Force on secondment from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government where he has most recently led the implementation of the Government’s high-profile Starter Homes policy. Prior to this he led the introduction and implementation of the Government’s Custom and Self Build homes programme which led to the introduction of the Right to Build. In 2015 he was seconded to NaCSBA to lead a research and development project which introduced the first comprehensive implementation toolkit for Custom and Self Build housing in the UK. Mario is a chartered town planner with over 25 years public and private sector experience in planning, housing and development, in the UK and abroad. He has also built his own home with a local builder.

Bryony Harrington, Task Force Manager

Bryony Harrington

She was responsible for coordinating the team of Development Liaison Managers to lead their first purchasers through the ‘Golden Brick’ customer journey, evolving, testing and executing the first large-scale self-build marketing campaign in the UK, and ensuring proper governance of the development company by delivering its board meetings. Bryony has always hoped to build a home near her family farm in Oxfordshire and is an ardent believer in the power of self-build to improve lives. Before Graven Hill she spent seven years working in the music industry, travelling the world as a Tour Manager for bands and running a live music production company.  

Task Force Ambassadors

Richard Bacon MPRichard Bacon MP – Ambassador

Richard Bacon is the Member of Parliament for South Norfolk. Before his election to Parliament in 2001, he worked in investment banking, journalism and consultancy. He served on the Public Accounts Committee for sixteen years, the last seven as deputy chairman. Parliamentary colleagues have voted him the House Magazine’s ‘Backbencher of the Year’ and also ‘Commons Select Committee Member of the Year’ and he has twice been named The Spectator magazine’s Parliamentarian of the Year. Richard is co-author of the book ‘Conundrum: Why Every Government Gets Things Wrong – and What We Can Do About It’, published by Biteback Publishing. He founded the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Self-Build, Custom and Community Housebuilding and Place-Making, and steered through Parliament a Private Member’s Bill which became the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015. He is now Ambassador for the Right to Build Task Force.

Jeremy ChristophersJeremy Christophers – Deputy Ambassador

Councillor Jeremy Christophers was first elected to represent Bickington, Ilsington & Haytor in 1999 and since 2011 has been Leader of Teignbridge District Council. Jeremy has been actively promoting Custom and Self Build housing in Teignbridge since he became leader and was responsible for the adoption of the first Local Plan policy to secure serviced building plots on larger sites. In 2012 he visited Almere in the Netherlands with the then Housing Minister, Grant Shapps and was instrumental in Teignbridge District Council being designated as a Right to Build vanguard Council. He has also delivered presentations on Custom and Self Build at a national summit at 10 Downing Street in London and at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland. Jeremy has self-built his own home, is a local businessman and a keen sportsman, having playing County cricket for Devon.

Richard LewisRichard Lewis – Deputy Ambassador

Councillor Richard Lewis is the Executive Board Member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning, with responsibility for housing growth, planning, regeneration, highways and transportation and asset management, amongst other areas. Richard has been a Labour Member of Leeds City Council since 1986, representing the Pudsey ward. He is now a full-time councillor but prior to retirement he worked in the public transport and social housing sectors. A significant part of Richard’s Executive Board role covers the Leeds’s Housing Growth Strategy.He is passionate in ensuring that housing demand is met and that all housing is decent and affordable for people. Richard is helping Leeds to lead the way in seeking new solution to housing challenges, whilst protecting sites that are not suitable for development.A keen advocate of self-build community-led housing projects, Richard supported the pioneering LILAC co-housing development and continues to promote custom and self-build housing as an affordable alternative for first-time buyers and as a way to give greater choice over the type of homes being built. There is a growing community-led housing sector in Leeds and in 2016 Richard led the establishment of a self-build register at the City Council to assess the level of demand, potential locations and any assistance required.

Ted StevensTed Stevens OBE – Deputy Ambassador

Ted is one of the UK’s leading self and custom build campaigners. In 2008 he set up the National Custom and Self Build Association, and he chaired it until 2014. He then worked on a research and development programme looking at how the UK could learn from the many innovative community and self build housing projects that have been built across Europe. This resulted in the launch of the Custom and Self Build Toolkit in Downing Street in 2015. He has strong contacts with government, the wider housing world and the media. He is supportive of community-led housing initiatives and is a Trustee for a south London based group that plans to build 33 very affordable new homes. In 2014 he was awarded an OBE for his work in the housing sector.

Barry WoodBarry Wood – Deputy Ambassador

Councillor Barry Wood has been a District or County Councillor for more than 20 years and is the current Leader of Cherwell District Council in North Oxfordshire which has been designated as a Right to Build vanguard Council by the Government. Barry has been instrumental in initiating the UK’s largest council-led Custom and Self Build project at Graven Hill involving 1,900 homes, which forms part of the Bicester Garden Town and is being brought forward through the Council owned Graven Hill Village Development Company. Barry is a passionate advocate of Custom and Self Build housing as an affordable alternative for those struggling to get on the property ladder and as a vehicle which gives local people greater choice over the homes they live in. He is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and is the current Chairman of the Strategic Delivery Board for Eco Bicester.

Task Force Experts

The Task Force will eventually comprise about 20 Experts with a wide range of experience.

Adam Broadway

Adam Broadway is a qualified town planner and has worked in the housing sector since 1987. He has held senior development and partnership director roles for 20 years, most recently with the Flagship Group. During his housing career he has delivered a range of new build housing and regeneration projects and brings practical experience in the design, procurement, and project management. Adam is Managing Director of Instinctively Green Ltd and provides strategic sustainability advice to a range of businesses and has supported major masterplanning projects. Through Instinctively Green, Adam was the lead in setting up and delivering Cambridge’s first self commissioned Cohousing Project, k1. The 42 home development is now being constructed. Adam has also delivered a number of stakeholder and public engagement exercises. These have included Design Enquiry, themed stakeholder workshops and public events, exhibitions and display material. Instinctively Green delivered the consultation strategy for the Bletchley Transport Strategy, stakeholder engagement as part of the Tamworth Climate Change Strategy production and with Taylor Young, the Woodford Aerodrome Design Enquiry. Adam has experience of Board membership at national and local levels for charities, social housing and community organisations including the Urban Village project board and Crisis Trustee for 10 years. He is a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Chartered Institute of Housing. Adam holds a BA (Hons) in Planning Studies and a Post Graduate Diploma in Planning from Oxford Brookes University.

Joanne Ellingham

Joanne Ellingham is a charterer town planner and senior planning consultant within the award-winning planning practice HTA Design LLP. Jo brings expertise in housing-led regeneration, planning policy preparation and negotiation and she has worked for a wide range of clients including local authorities, housing associations, private developers and charities, on a variety of projects. Her achievements include securing hybrid planning consent for a housing-led mixed-use master plan by HTA for nearly 1,000 new homes in Surrey. As part of the planning team at HTA, she regularly works on council-led regeneration schemes with innovative designers to increase the provision of new homes, particularly affordable homes, on constrained sites which require balance and compromise. She led the planning discussions during a Local Government Association workshop on Custom Build as part of a wider event on ‘Reimagining Regeneration in the East of England’. She is currently working with Carillion-igloo on a large Custom Build scheme in Cornwall, designed by HTA. The practice also led on the design of the recently completed 108 home Leithfield Park housing site in Milford, Surrey which includes Custom Build plots. Prior to joining HTA she worked as a planning officer in Spatial Planning at Broadland District Council in Norfolk where she was involved in the preparation of the local plan and neighbourhood planning.

John PalmerJohn Palmer

John is a certified Passivhaus consultant, SAP Assessor, BREEAM Assessor, systems engineer and experienced project manager. He has designed and led a number of Passivhaus projects and is currently in the process of building his own Passivhaus home. John is currently the managing director of Enhabit Ltd, a low energy construction consultancy. Prior to entering the construction sector, John spent 16 years as an engineering officer in the Royal Navy, which included three years at the Ministry of Defence. In addition to his professional experience, John is an active proponent of neighbourhood planning and self-building. From 2012 to 2016 John led the Petersfield Neighbourhood Plan project team, liaising with the full suite of stakeholders, including, residents, the local authorities, local councillors, developers and landowners in producing what has been acknowledged as one of the most detailed and comprehensive neighbourhood plans in the country. One of the plan’s policies was to allocate land for self and custom-build homes and which is now being delivered by the Petersfield Community Land Trust which John helped set up in the capacity of both secretary and chairman. John has a degree in engineering from the University of Cambridge and a MA in Defence Studies from King’s College, London.

Adam Roake

Adam Roake is a developer and an architect with over thirty-three years’ experience in mixed use urban development, including nine years as a main board director of Goldcrest Land Limited. He was a CABE Enabler advising local authorities and project promoters on good design and ‘Building for Life’ quality considerations and he wasmember of the Whitstable Harbour Board. Adam brings a strong understanding of the Custom and Self Build housing development model from a commercial perspective. His wider skills and experience include:
  • extensive experience of the planning system; a detailed understanding of planning law and practice, including giving expert evidence on both development viability and sustainability as well as design issues at Public Inquiries;
  • over thirty three years in practice as an architect with particular specialist knowledge in urban regeneration and residential led, mixed use development;
  • eighteen years experience as a developer and architect delivering substantial high quality residential led schemes on brownfield land in London and the South East;
  • close liaison with local community groups and a proven ability to accommodate their legitimate concerns and expectations within development proposals;
  • an in-depth understanding of the issues facing commercial organisations involved in housing delivery and policy within London and the South East.

Jacqueline Tellinga

Jacqueline Tellinga is the Task Force’s first international expert. She believes firmly that people should be able to shape their own homes and living environments. Experience in the Netherlands has shown that once the nitiative is relegated to local people, home building can create enormously diverse living environments. She has worked on Self Build-related projects for more than 10 years. As the project manager of the Homeruskwartier in Almere with 1,400 individual plots, she has been responsible for bringing forward the largest Self Build development in the Netherlands. From the development of the urban vision, helping galvanise political support and achieving consensus between stakeholders, through to practical implementation. Jacqueline has been advisor to The Hague City Council on the establishment of a Custom and Self Build programme and is a member of the Dutch Government’s ExpertteamEigenbouw which advises municipalities nationally. Her latest project is the BouwEXPO Tiny Housing. She is the author of various publications on how to protect the interests of individual citizens in the deregulation of planning and housing delivery and teaches at the University of Amsterdam.

Further Experts will be listed here when announced.


Contact Us

If you want to contact the Task Force and register your interest in receiving support or becoming an Expert, please get in touch here.