Planner who reshaped the Square Mile over 29 years will leave next month

Peter Rees

City of London planning officer Peter Rees will depart the City of London next month to become a professor at the renowned architecture school The Bartlett.

Rees, who studied architecture at The Bartlett, will become professor of places and city planning as part of a three-year professorship, with the first year sponsored by City Corporation.

Rees was one of the most influential figures in the development of the City of London in his 29 years as planning officer, during which time 78% of the City’s office floor-space has been renewed, as well as many streets and open spaces.

Building revealed last September his exit was in part due to an internal restructure at City Corporation.

News of his exit sparked concern in the London industry, which had developed an understanding of the architect-trained Rees’ views, with veteran developer Sir Stuart Lipton among those voicing concerns.

City Corporation announced Rees will be replaced by plannning services and development director Annie Hampson, who is promoted to chief planning officer while retaining her development director role.

Rees said: “I am delighted to be returning to The Bartlett after almost three decades at the City. My professorship will enable me to continue my love affair with London and my involvement in the capital’s evolution. The Square Mile will always be a special place for me and I have enjoyed having a hand in its transformation since 1985.

“Having played in the premier league for one of the world’s most successful cities I am thrilled to be joining the team at one of the world’s finest universities.

“My time as City Planning Officer for the City of London has demonstrated what can be achieved when you are in the right place, at the right time with the right team. None of it would have been possible without the skilled and dedicated colleagues in whose safe hands I leave the regeneration of the City.”

Professor Alan Penn, Dean of The Bartlett said: “I am delighted that Peter is to join us. There are very few people in the world who can be said to have shaped the skyline of a world city, but Peter is one of them. His knowledge of London, its history and planning, is exhaustive.

“He knows the people and firms involved in helping ensure that London has become the world’s leading financial capital, and so can put flesh on the bones of that history. One of the main reasons that students travel from around the globe to come to UCL is to live in and experience London.

“Peter will undoubtedly communicate the central importance of architectural design to the way that places and cities are created, to the lives of citizens and to the creation of economies. More importantly he brings together a number of the strands that distinguish The Bartlett in the world.

“He is an architect and a planner, but has been intimately involved in the world of major contraction projects and real estate development. All of this in London, our home city.”

Rees was born in Swansea and also studied at the Welsh School of Architecture and Town Planning at the Polytechnic of the South Bank.