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Meet the team

There are 5.5 core staff’ and  6 project staff co-coordinating a number of AONB initiatives.

Nick Johannsen – Director

Nick works with our partners to develop and promote the vision and strategic direction for the management of the Kent Downs AONB, he liaises at a local, regional and national level to secure commitment, policy, resources and action which will conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the area. He leads on the Management Plan review, oversees the work of the Unit and its delivery of the policies and actions of the plan. Nick also supports many partnership projects, amongst other work he is chairman of the Board of the ‘Up on the Downs’ Landscape Partnership scheme operating around Dover and Folkestone, chairman of the steering group of the Our Land sustainable rural tourism project, chairman of the Kent Landscape Group, chairman of the Mid Kent Downs Countryside Partnership, chairman of the North Downs Way National Trail Steering Group, chairman of the Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme and he sits on the Kent Countryside Access Forum.

Rick Bayne – Landscape Partnership Manager

Rick leads on the delivery of ‘Samuel Palmers Earthly Paradise’ – The Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme for the AONB Unit. This scheme is being delivered between 2017 and 2022 in partnership with several other local organisations, and is receiving £2.1m of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as £460,000 from three EU Interreg 2 Seas projects: ICAReS (Innovation Cluster Accelerating Remote Sensing), SCAPE (Shaping Climate Change Adaptive PlacEs) and Triple C (Climate resilient Community-based Catchment planning and management). Rick also helps to maintain a legacy for the work delivered through the Valley of Visions Landscape Partnership Scheme in the Medway Gap which he led between 2007 and June 2013.

Catherine Bradley – European and Project Development Manager

Catherine secured funding from Interreg Europe for the Green Pilgrimage Project which she now manages along with coordinating and overseeing multiple other Interreg projects. The Green Pilgrimage project explores how Pilgrimage and long distance walking can support natural and cultural heritage through sustainable tourism and economic development. Catherine also works closely with the North Downs Way National Trail as part of this project.

Katie Miller – Planning Manager

Katie is responsible for:

  • Working with other AONBs in interpretation of national Planning Policy and best practice
  • Responding to consultations on planning policy documents, including local and neighbourhood plans
  • Commenting on planning applications and supporting Local Authorities at appeal
  • Providing pre-application advice
  • Providing guidance to Parish Councils
  • Producing guidance and providing training to help promote positive planning across the AONB.

Lisa Monk-Jones – Finance, Reporting and Partnership Officer

Lisa is responsible for managing the overall unit budgets, including the preparation of financial claims for funders and the preparation/sorting of match funding evidence. She also produces financial reports and financial monitoring reports

Peter Morris – North Downs Way Trail Manager

Peter is responsible for the maintenance and enhancement of the North Downs Way National Trail which runs from Farnham through the Surrey Hills AONB and Kent Downs AONB to the Dover coastline. He works in partnership with multiple agencies and stakeholders along the trail corridor to ensure the Trail is promoted effectively and local business and communities are engaged for the benefit of all.

Tim Owen – Partnership and Funding Officer

Tim works on the following areas:

  • Undergrounding of overhead electricity cables, a partnership project with other protected landscapes and UK Power Networks
  • National Grid Landscape Enhancement Initiative
  • Village signing programme
  • Monitoring the management plan outputs and actions
  • Fixed Point Photography monitoring programme (as part of monitoring the landscape condition)
  • GIS support for the AONB team and partners

Pippa Palmar – Senior Partnership Officer for Orchards

Pippa leads the Kent Orchards for Everyone Project which works with 15 traditional community orchards in and around the Kent Downs. With a background in heritage fruit production Pippa provides the support to the parish councils and orchard groups to conserve and restore their community orchards. The four year project is creating a footplate for villagers to celebrate their heritage, to volunteer and collaborate in surveys, to participate in educational events and establish good management practices within our community orchards in the Garden of England.

Jennifer Smith – Interpretation and Community Learning Officer

Jennifer is the Interpretation and Community Learning Officer for the Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme. She project manages and coordinates a host of inter-connected projects within the Darent Valley with the overall aim to get people reconnected to their local landscape and encourage them to explore, enjoy and value their natural and cultural surroundings. Jennifer also leads on all of the Scheme’s interpretation projects and works with a host of local organisations, schools, community groups, artists among others to deliver the various projects. Previously Jennifer was the Interpretation and Community Engagement Officer for the Valley of Visions Landscape Partnership Scheme in the Medway Gap between 2008 – 2013.

Jane Cook – 50th Anniversary Project Officer

Jane is coordinating and delivering the projects surrounding the Kent Downs AONB 50th Anniversary Year. The AONB will be celebrating the natural beauty of the Kent Downs with a number of celebration events, live performances, exhibitions and guided walks.

Anne Sassin – Community Archaeologist

Anne is the Community Archaeologist for the Darent Valley Landscape Partnership and leads on the heritage components of the project. The range of historical and archaeological features in the valley is remarkable, and a number of themed projects have been created to explore and protect the Darent’s unique cultural heritage, including work at Lullingstone Roman Villa, Eynsford Castle, Otford Palace and Dartford Gunpowder Mills, as well as a valley-wide LiDAR survey. Anne will be working closely with several local and regional heritage groups to help deliver the scheme, including the West Kent Archaeological Society, Kent Archaeological Society and the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) South-East.