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Sara Thakkar

Sara Thakkar
Chief Executive

Sara joined Colne as Chief Executive in February 2015. She has worked in housing for most of her career. Sara has previously held chief executive roles at Wandle and Rosebery Housing Associations.

She has been Chair at a range of organisations including TPAS, the Local Strategic Partnership in Surrey and the London Committee for National Housing Federation.

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David Hart

David Hart
Finance Director

David plays a pivotal role in ensuring Colne’s financial strength is maintained and improved. He is in charge of our Finance, IT and Business Assurance functions.

He joined Colne in January 2019, bringing significant commercial and housing association experience. He has held senior finance positions at CHP, Catalyst and Moat and is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

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Non Executive Team

  • Hattie Llewelyn-Davies

    Hattie Llewelyn-Davies


    Hattie Llewelyn-Davies is well known in the housing sector and was awarded an OBE for services to homeless people in 2004. A highly-experienced Chair and Non-Executive Director, she  joined Colne in September 2017.  

    Hattie started her career working with homeless people sleeping rough and firmly believes everyone has a right to have a home. She has been Chair of Viridian Housing Group and is Chair of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.

  • Malcom O’Brien

    Malcom O’Brien

    Vice Chair

    Malcolm is the Executive Director of People and Communications for Swan Housing. He brings 20 years experience in HR and ten years in the housing sector to the Board.

    Malcolm also has significant experience in leading business and cultural change by selling ideas, motivating and influencing senior colleagues, board members, staff and trade unions. Malcolm sits on the Appointments and Remuneration Committee.

  • Alan Collard

    Alan Collard

    Board member

    Alan joined the board in 2014. He comes from a banking and finance background, having worked most recently as Managing Director of JP Morgan Chase and Head of the Institutional Banking Group, Europe, Middle East and Asia.

    He is now a self-employed consultant, parish councillor and treasurer of a community benefit company. Alan is Chair of Colne's Audit Committee and is our Board Champion for finance and treasury management.

  • Alison Inman

    Alison Inman

    Board member

    Alison Inman is a prominent member of the affordable housing community. She is a Vice President of the CiH, the professional body for housing.

    She is also  Vice Chair of TPAS, the tenant engagement experts, and was previously Chair of Colchester Borough Homes. Alison is a magistrate a school governor and a prolific and inluential Tweeter. She sits on the Audit Committee and is our Board Champion for housing management.

  • Phil Purkiss

    Phil Purkiss

    Board member

    Phil joined the Board in 2016.

    An Associate Director for pod LLP, Phil brings a wealth of experience in developing and maintaining financial viability and other excel based models, financial modelling, undertaking options appraisals, new business and project management, co-ordinating bids, research and report writing to Colne's Board. management.

  • Julia Thomas

    Julia Thomas

    Board member

    Julia is a solicitor who has worked in private practice, the not for profit sector and local government.  She now works for Ofsted as an advisory lawyer, specialising in education law and public law. She has been a governor at a local secondary school for more than 20 years and is an active member of her local church. She joined the Board in 2016.

  • Chris Ellison

    Chris Ellison

    Board member

    With over 25 years' experience in housing, Chris joined our Board in 2018. 

    For ten years he has been a member on a range of Boards and chaired a number of sub committees. His focus is growth, regulatory and health and safety compliance, governance and risk management. 

    He brings to Colne a wealth of strategic experience including a comprehensive appreciation of financial and business models.