Director Profiles 2015


Colmore Business District (CBD) has a board of non-executive directors made up of representatives from across the District, which reflect the composition of business types and sectors in the area. CBD also has stakeholder directors from Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police and Centro. To find out more about each director, click on their name below.

    Gary Cardin – CBRE: Chair of Colmore Business District

    Gary heads up the Planning and Development team at CBRE, where he is responsible for a wide range of clients including private sector developers and investors, public sector bodies and local authorities. He is actively involved in a wide range of complex project work covering regeneration, town centre development and commercial planning advice. He is experienced in the working and requirements of the statutory planning system including the preparation of development appraisals, commercial planning advice, the submission and negotiation of applications and planning appeals. Expert witness work, public inquiries, environmental assessments, urban capacity studies, employment studies are also undertaken.

    Gary is the Chair of the Colmore Business District and past Chair of Birmingham Forward (now BPS Leaders). Gary is also a Board Director of Birmingham Opera Company.

    Rob Valentine – Bruntwood: Vice Chair of Colmore Business District

    Rob heads the Birmingham team for Bruntwood, a provider of office space in the UK’s main regional cities. Part of his role is ensuring that Bruntwood’s promise of value, quality and service is delivered, as well as implementing the company’s commitment to an active presence in the cities in which it operates.

    Colmore Business District’s heritage particularly appeals to Rob, together with its quality architecture and green space. More than anything, he’s excited by its potential.

    Outside of work, Rob is a keen marathon runner and cyclist, taking part in a range of charity sporting events, such as Bruntwood’s Ellipse Challenge.

    James Aspinall – Centro

    As Finance Director, James is responsible for providing strategic and financial oversight to the development of public transport, managing the developing transport investment packages, working closely with district partners, and overseeing the financial proberty and direction of Centro.

    A key part of James’ role is ensuring that the transport provision responds to the jobs and growth agenda and that business is engaged. This recognises that transport is a West Midlands wide service and that effective dialogue with decision makers, stakeholders and users is a prerequisite for success.

    In addition to his role as a Board Director of CBD, James is chair of the West Midlands District Finance Directors Group, and Chair of Centro’s Operating Board.

    Chief Superintendent Emma Barnett – West Midlands Police

    Emma grew up in Birmingham and joined West Midlands Police 20 years ago. Her experience lies within local policing, working in various roles across the city, most recently as commander for South Birmingham. She has also led on strategic change and performance improvement.

    She is now the Commander at Birmingham West & Central LPU and her current partnership responsibilities include young people, reducing gangs and youth crime. In force, she chairs the Senior Women’s Network, leads on Neighbourhood Policing and the High Potential Development Scheme.

    She has a degree in Geography for Oxford University and an MSc in HRM & Business from Aston Business School.

    Diane Benussi – Benussi & Co

    Diane founded Benussi & Co. Matrimonial Solicitors in 1993 and for many years has enjoyed a national reputation for matrimonial and family work. She led the trend for legal specialist practices by setting up Benussi & Co. as a standalone Matrimonial Practice. Benussi & Co. is used by high profile individuals seeking a discreet service.

    Diane works to develop Birmingham as a centre of professional excellence. She is a former president of the Birmingham Law Society and past chairman of Birmingham Forward.

    Diane is the author of “How Not to Get Divorced at Christmas” and is a regular contributor to newspapers and the media.

    Mike Best – Turleys

    Mike Best runs the Birmingham office for Turleys, an independent planning and urban design consultancy, with offices in 10 cities across the UK. He sits on the main Company Board and Management Board.

    In addition to Colmore Business District, he is involved in the GBS LEP as a member of its Planning sub-group and sits on the RTPI Accreditation Board for the University of Birmingham Planning School.  Mike is married with two children and lives in Dorridge where he is the chair of the Junior Committee at his local tennis club.

    Councillor Sir Albert Bore – Leader of Birmingham City Council

    Sir Albert Bore is currently the Leader of Birmingham City Council and was previously in the role from 1999-2004.

    Elected as a member of Birmingham City Council in 1980, Sir Albert has taken a major role in the regeneration of the city. From 1984 to 1993 he chaired the City’s Economic Development Committee. Since the mid 1980’s he has held company directorships of both Aston Science Park and the National Exhibition Centre. He is also a director of Marketing Birmingham. Since 1994, Sir Albert has been one of the Government appointed members of the European Union’s Committee of the Regions, and was president from 2002-2004.

    In December 2006, he was appointed Chairman of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

    David Bradshaw – Nurton Developments

    David is the Managing Director of Nurton Developments, a Birmingham property developer which specialises in office and Industrial. Nurton owns over 400,000 offices in the Greater Birmingham area and has a mainly Midland based focus. The company has been trading for over 15 years and has been based in the heart of Birmingham for five years.

    David is also a director of Listers Motor Group and GB Developments.

    Paul Fielding – Brewin Dolphin

    Paul is an Assistant Director at Brewin Dolphin, the largest independently owned private client Wealth Manager in the UK. Paul specialises in investment management and works alongside financial planners to offer a bespoke investment service suited to each client’s requirements. He manages in excess of £50m, largely on a discretionary basis for a range of clients including individuals, trusts, pension funds, charities and companies. Paul is also an active member of the young professional network and lobbying organisation Birmingham Future.

    Nicola Fleet-Milne – FleetMilne

    Nicola is the owner and Commercial Director of multi-award winning agency FleetMilne Residential.  FleetMilne specialises in selling, letting and managing premium city centre apartments and is known for upholding the highest of standards.

    Nicola set up FleetMilne in 2004 in a prospering market and has successfully guided the business through many great times. She has gathered together an exceptional team of ambitious and intelligent achievers.

    Nicola is continually championing what Colmore Business District has to offer. She is passionate about ensuring that Birmingham continues to position itself as a city that promotes from within.

    Amardeep Gill – Trowers and Hamlins

    Amardeep heads up Trowers and Hamlins’ regional public sector practice from the firm’s Birmingham office on Colmore Row, providing legal support to public sector organisations and their private sector partners. Amardeep’s experience covers a range of sectors including housing, education, regeneration, aviation, service delivery, EU procurement and leisure.

    Amardeep is a specialist in public sector and commercial law, having spent 10 years working in London for Trowers before returning to Birmingham. He led on Wolverhampton City Council’s £320m Building Schools for the Future Project and was most recently involved in Barnet Council’s £1bn One Barnet Project. Amardeep is currently working with clients in the West Midlands, South East and Northern Ireland.

    Tony Green – Hortons’ Estate

    Tony Green is chief executive of Hortons’ Estate Limited, an independent Birmingham based property company founded by Isaac Horton in the 1890’s and still owned by the Horton family. The company owns a number of buildings within Colmore Business District, including the Grand Hotel on Colmore Row which is currently undergoing restoration.

    Tony is a qualified accountant with over 25 years’ experience in commercial property and has worked for St Mowden Properties plc. before joining Hortons’ Estate in 2000.

    Councillor Kath Hartley – Birmingham City Council

    Councillor Kath Hartley is the councillor for the Ladywood ward. She has lived and worked in Birmingham since studying at the University of Birmingham. She became a full time elected Councillor, having previously worked for the Open University, Lucas Ltd., and taught in an inner-ring secondary school for 16 years. She has been a Ladywood Councillor since 2000. Her special interests are street scene and environmental matters. She is currently Vice Chair of the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority and has responsibility for ‘Putting Passengers First’.

    The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle – Birmingham Cathedral

    Catherine Ogle was appointed as Dean of Birmingham in September 2010, the third woman to be appointed as Dean in the Church of England. She leads the Anglican Cathedral and works closely with the Bishop of Birmingham in his mission in the city and region.

    Under Catherine’s leadership, the Cathedral is taking a more active role in partnerships across the city with Colleges and Universities, businesses, charities, other faith groups and the arts and civic sectors. The Cathedral is now a well established venue for films, social events and charitable activities in addition to its daily core business of workshop supported by its world class choir.

    Glynn Purnell – Purnell’s

    Glynn Purnell is the owner of three food and drink establishments in Birmingham; the Michelin starred Purnell’s, Ginger’s Bar and Purnell’s Bistro.

    Glynn Purnell started cooking professionally at the age of 14 after securing a work experience placement in a hotel. Following a successful placement in the kitchen, he spent the next two years at Metropole Hotel at the NEC. A six year stint followed, gaining experience in every department from banqueting to the a la carte Terrace Restaurant, where he discovered his talent and passion for fine dining. His next professional step was as Chef de Partie at Simpson’s Restaurant in Kenilworth, where he progressed to the position of Sous Chef. The restaurant was awarded a Michelin star and Glynn went on to win a number of accolades within the industry.

    He later went on to help launch Jessica’s in July 2003, which was awarded Birmingham’s first Michelin star back in 2005.

    Sarah Skurr – Canmoor

    Sarah is Facilities Manager at Livery Place, a Grade A office refurbishment, purchase by Canmoor in November 2014 and managed by Workman FM. She is responsible for looking after the building, the occupiers and marketing of the space.

    Sarah has been a Director of CBD since its inception in 2009 and has been involved in a number of projects throughout that time.

    Ann Tonks – Opus at Cornwall Street

    Ann is Managing Director of Opus at Cornwall Street, which she opened in 2005 with her two business partners.

    Independent and market fresh, Opus at Cornwall Street’s modern British menu showcases the best that the British Isles has to offer. Representing an outstanding commitment to seasonality, the menu reflects what the kitchen has bought from the markets every morning. In Opus’ view, the only way for a kitchen to be truly sustainable is for the menu to be ingredient-led and changing daily. Opus is a supporter of the arts in Birmingham and is a corporate patron of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in Colmore Business District.

    Alex Tross – Lambert Smith Hampton

    Alex heads up the Office Agency function for the Birmingham office of Lambert Smith Hampton, one of the UK’s leading commercial property consultancies with a network of 27 offices across the UK and Ireland.

    Alex provides strategic advice to a diverse range of private and public sector clients across the wider West Midlands and specialises in disposals, tenant representation and development consultancy.

    In addition to his role as a CBD Board Director, Alex sits on the West Midlands Office Agents Society Committee.

    Melanie Williams – DWF LLP

    Melanie is a partner in the Real Estate practice of law firm, DWF LLP. Based in the Birmingham office, her particular expertise covers all aspects of development, investment and landlord and tenant work.

    Melanie focuses on the Hospitality and Leisure industry and property tax structuring. She is referred to as a leading professional in the Legal 500 directory being “recommended for her experience in property tax structures” and is also listed in Chambers & Partners for her real estate expertise.