Communities and local government minister David Miliband has appointed a regeneration and local government expert as his first special adviser at the ODPM
Dr Tim Williams, currently chief executive of Cornish urban regeneration company Camborne, Pool and Redruth Regeneration, is expected to join the ODPM in the next few weeks to advise Miliband.
The move will be seen as a coup for the regeneration industry, as “one of its own” will have the ear of a cabinet minister who is widely seen as a Labour rising star.
A source told Building: “Tim is a lateral thinker with his finger on the pulse. His real speciality is lobbying for the needs of local government and working as a political fixer.
The ODPM does need to build links with local government so getting Tim is a good step in the right direction.”
Williams has worked on the £150m CPR Regeneration project since April 2003. The project is one of 22 urban regeneration companies in England.
Williams had spent the previous six years at the Thames Gateway London Partnership – the last four as chief executive.
At the time of his appointment at CPR Regeneration, Williams said of his previous job: “I’ve been involved in taking the Gateway from a marginal initiative to the top of the national regeneration agenda.”
Tim is a lateral thinker with his finger on the pulse
A key part of Williams’ job in London was representing the views of the 13 local authorities that made up the TGLP. He is originally from South Wales and has also worked as head of publications at the Audit Commission, as well as helping to set up the prime minister’s delivery unit.
In a statement the ODPM said: “David Miliband is in the process of recruiting his special advisers. The appointments will be announced in due course.”
The cabinet committee chaired by Tony Blair that was set up to oversee the development of the Thames Gateway has been scrapped and a new “housing and planning” committee set up in its place.
Misc 22 was dropped as part of a shake-up of cabinet committees by the prime minister last week. The new committee – which includes John Prescott, Gordon Brown and David Miliband – will have an expanded role to cover the whole of housing and planning policy.
A London regeneration source said: “It is an entirely sensible thing to do as having one growth area with a dedicated cabinet committee was a bit odd. It should have been this way from the start, to be honest.”
The cabinet office declined to comment on the change.