Ex-Suburb Trust manager praised for ‘professionalism’

Jane Blackburn. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Jane Blackburn. Picture: Nigel Sutton. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

The former manager of a trust set up to preserve the character of Hampstead Garden Suburb has been heralded for her professionalism, having stepped down after 10 years in the job.

Jane Blackburn steered the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust through challenging times during her decade as manager and has now stepped down to move to a different role.

The 63-year-old, who has been replaced by Nick Packard, previously the trust’s estates manager, worked alongside three different chairmen during her time on the trust.

Current chairman Richard Wiseman said: “Her great achievement has been to put the trust onto a much more professional and commercially viable basis. She’s a difficult act to follow but I’m sure Nick will rise to the occasion.”

Angus Walker, the longest-serving chairman during Ms Blackburn’s tenure, said: “She was very professional because her experience was of managing architectural renovations. She was an ideal operator in every way.”

Ms Blackburn, who lives in Southgate, is now working on a project to develop cohousing in Colchester, Essex.

Looking back on her time at the trust, she said the publication of comprehensive building design guidance was among her most important achievements.

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The mother-of-two also recognised the importance of the trust’s High Court legal battles with former Lloyd’s Banking Group boss Sir Victor Blank over a basement build near his Suburb home.

“The various court cases were important in clarifying the trust’s legal powers,” she said. “I worked with some tremendous trustees and my colleagues at the trust were second to none.

“I feel I leave the trust in a better position than when I started and in very good hands.”

The trust was set up in 1968 to preserve the character of Hampstead Garden Suburb, which was founded by Henrietta Barnett as a “model community for people of all classes living together in beautiful houses”.

It has policies to protect the Subrub’s architectural standards and householders must obtain approval before making changes to the exterior of their properties.