Council of Partners Membership

Sarah Nichols March 2020

Independent Chair: Sarah Nichols

Sarah brings with her a wealth of business skills gained during her successful career in the defence and aerospace industry where she worked with the utmost integrity under the Official Secrets Act. Her primary roles were developing business strategy and building relationships with key stakeholders, from local MPs to senior figures in industry and government.

She successfully secured many millions of funding over the years, managed press relations and hosted official events welcoming dignitaries from many countries. In 2011 she set up her own Business Consultancy advising local organisations on strategic business development giving her the opportunity to forge relationships with local organisations before retiring in 2017.

Elected Councillors appointed by the Partner local authority

The councillors are briefed and supported by an officer from their local authority.

Cllr Colin Phillimore
Appointed by Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council
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Cllr Juliet Henderson
Appointed by Hampshire County Council
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Cllr Rhydian Vaughan MBE
Appointed by Hampshire County Council (Deputy)
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Cllr Jenny Hannaby
Appointed by Oxfordshire County Council
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Cllr Jim Robbins
Appointed by Swindon Borough Council
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Cllr Chris Watts
Appointed by Swindon Borough Council (Deputy)
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Cllr Phil North
Appointed by Test Valley Borough Council
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Cllr Andrew Tinsley
Appointed by South Oxfordshire District Council
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Cllr Kiera Bentley
Appointed by Vale of White Horse District Council
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Cllr Paul Barrow
Appointed by Vale of White Horse District Council (Substitute)
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Cllr Tony Vickers
Appointed by West Berkshire Council
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Cllr Chris Read
Appointed by West Berkshire Council (Deputy)
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Cllr Nabil Najjar
Appointed by Wiltshire Council
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Represented Interest Groups

Community & Parish Interest Group Members x 4

Mr Simon Pike

Mr Jonathan Welfare



Farming & Rural Business Interest Group Members x 4

Ms Lucy Charman (Country Land & Business Association)
The Country Land and Business Association is a vibrant community of 28,000 landowners, farmers, rural business owners and professionals across England and Wales which exists to champion, protect and enhance the rural economy, environment and way of life. The CLA South East Regional Office provides advice, services, events and rural representation for members in the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Sussex.

Mr Christopher Musgrave
Christopher started farming at Temple Farm, Marlborough in 1983. As the estate manager of Temple Farm and three neighbouring Estates he was a key member of the Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area winning government grants and championing wildlife management beyond farm boundaries. After the funding stopped those involved continued and established the Marlborough Downs Nature Enhancement Partnership with a new project: Space for Nature. The Partnership now has 61 members covering 30 farms and estates over an area of 24,625 acres. Now retired he brings his considerable knowledge and expertise about farming and nature conservation.

Ms Katie Davies (National Farmers’ Union)
The NFU represents more than 46,000 farming and growing businesses in England and Wales. Its purpose is to champion British agriculture and horticulture, to campaign for a stable and sustainable future for British farmers. Katie is the Wiltshire County Adviser representing members within the county.

Mr Nick Down
Nick has been managing farms in the North Wessex Downs for the last seventeen years and currently manages the farming business of the Yattendon Estate. Nick is overseeing the transition to a more sustainable farming system, incorporating more space for nature and enhancing carbon sequestration under an ambitious environmental program. The farm business now forms part of the LEAF demonstration farm network, showcasing best practice through an integrated farm management approach.

Nick is a member of the Upper Pang Farmer Cluster working collaboratively with 8 local farmers and landowners, aiming to develop environmental delivery at a landscape scale, and is also a member of the Berkshire Local Nature Partnership.

Historic Environment Interest Group Members x 2

Two vacancies

Nature Conservation Interest Group Members x 2

Dr Katrina Easterling
Katrina has lived in the North Wessex Downs many years and has contacts and expertise in nature conservation through membership of BBOWT, BHPS, Bat Conservation Trust, RSPB and Butterfly Conservation.  Her professional background is in human resources.  Since 2004, she has been an academic at the University of Winchester. In 2019, she was made a Companion of the CIPD for her ‘outstanding contribution to the profession’, particularly in equality and diversity.

Mr Tom Hayward
Tom currently works for Berks Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust.  He brings significant skills in conservation strategy and application in the land management sector. He leads on the development of the Trust’s Management & Acquisitions Strategy. He is an Advisor on Greenham and Crookham Commons Management Commission and represents the Trust with key external contacts and strategic partnerships including the Rural Payments Agency and West Berkshire Council.

Recreation & Tourism Interest Group Members x 2


Ms Susie Brew
Previously living in London and working for a management consulting firm, Susie moved to Wiltshire in the North Wessex Downs 15 years ago. Since then she has volunteered as a parish councillor and secretary for the Wilton Windmill Society and currently she is coordinator for the Pewsey Community Area Partnership and the Pewsey Vale Tourism Partnership.

North Wessex Downs Landscape Trust

Dr Jemma Batten
Jemma is the Director of the Landscape Trust.

Jemma graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in Zoology and went on to complete a PhD that encompassed ecology, biospeleology, forensic entomology, and taphonomy. After five years as a lecturer, first at Hartpury and then Lackham, followed by a brief interlude as a researcher with the BBC Natural History Unit, Jemma joined the Farming and Rural Conservation Agency working on the original Countryside Stewardship Scheme in 2000. She left after a year for a role as agri-environment consultant with Greenlink Forestry before setting up her own consultancy in 2002.