Meet the Conservators

The Commons were created by an Act of Parliament in 1871 which provided for a Board of Conservators, more commonly known today as Trustees, to ensure that the area is kept “forever open and unenclosed and unbuilt on… [and preserved] for public and local use for purposes of exercise and recreation…”. The Conservators are responsible for the protection and preservation of Wimbledon Common, Putney Heath and Putney Lower Common. 

March 2024 saw the most recent triennial election for the five elected Conservator positions on the Board of Trustees that manage Wimbledon and Putney Commons. Six very able candidates stood for election and Levy-payers re-elected the two Conservators who re-stood: Sue Bucknall and Michael Johnston, and elected David Brown, Mauro Mattiuzo and William Liu.

Oliver Bennett MBE has recently been re-appointed by DEFRA for a further three-year term.  Peter Shortt is the current Conservator appointed by the Ministry of Defence.  The Home Office position is currently vacant following the end of Nigel Ware's second term of office.  WPCC will be advertising for this role is due course. 

Read more about your Conservators here....

Mauro Mattiuzzo, Chairman, elected 2024

Mauro has lived close to the Commons for some 40 years since moving to London from a small Cotswolds village. He has since lived in Putney, Southfields and Wimbledon. In the past he has cycled and trained for long-distance running events on the Commons but these days is a regular walker and bird watcher and is also a volunteer helping with the woodland management activities.

Mauro worked as a solicitor with a large international firm. Since retirement he has worked as a consultant and has been a trustee of a leading cancer charity. He is also a enthusiastic amateur archaeologist, participating in excavations on Hadrian’s Wall and on Roman villa sites in Gloucestershire.

Mauro believes that the Commons should be accessible to as many members of the communities within which it is located as possible whilst at the same time being mindful of the responsibility of WPCC to preserve, maintain and enhance this important and diverse environment and its ecology in a financially resilient and environmentally sustainable manner. He looks forward to the challenges which lie ahead for the Conservators in working towards these aims.

David Brown, elected 2024

David has lived next to Putney Heath for 10 years, then Wimbledon Common for a further 30 years, treasuring the enormous physical and mental benefits these natural places bring to our lives. He had an international corporate career, serving on several management Boards in the UK and US – including one constrained by a 150-year-old Royal Charter (not dissimilar to the Commons under its own 150-year-old Act of Parliament), before retiring early just in time for Covid to hit!

He has dedicated his time since then to learning about and actively participating in the Commons’ initiatives, volunteer activities, challenges, and management.

As a founding 'Friend of the Common' and a regular attendee (and sometime host) of the popular weekly 'Walk and Talks', he has learnt about the challenges facing the Commons and the numerous projects dedicated to their preservation and enhancement.  As Treasurer of one of the larger Wimbledon Residents' Associations for many years, he has also developed an understanding of local neighbourhood issues, planning applications and community concerns.

David is keen to use his finance, legal, governance and organisational skills to tackle the many issues and challenges the Commons continue to face, for example working with his fellow Conservators to engage with local communities as well as sources of external finance, sponsorship, and support to foster a greater understanding of the importance of these Commons, creating a legacy that continues to benefit current and future generations.

Sue Bucknall, elected 2021 and 2024

It has been an honour and privilege to serve as one of your Conservators for the last three years and I look forward to continuing with my work on the Board.

The role of a Conservator of WPCC is demanding but I still find time to walk on our wonderful Commons most days and I always appreciate how lucky we are to have such a wonderful space on our doorstep and how important it is to maintain it for future generations. Through my role as Conservator, I have worked with many local groups and societies who have provided much support and advice (and some criticism!) and I wish to continue working with them and others in this area to expand community engagement to all including children, university students, families and older people so they can enjoy, look after and protect the future of all areas of the Commons.

As a barrister and teacher, I spent my working life in the public and voluntary sector which gave me many skills needed for this role. As the Chief Executive of Lawworks I enlarged the profile and success of the charity introducing a scheme giving groups access to free legal help on constitutional and charitable matters and now serve on the Constitution Committee of WPCC.

As a Councillor for several years, I introduced and chaired a Community Services and Environment Committee working with local groups to improve the district's environment whilst educating our young people about the importance of looking after the environment. As Chairman of the Council, I worked closely with councillors of all parties, and have continued to work with all of our local MPs for the good of the Commons.

As a Conservator I have gained insight into the complexities of managing the Commons. We have prepared Business and Land Management Plans - documents to ensure the protection of the wildlife and landscape whilst maintaining public access. I now hope to ensure that these policies are acted upon in a timely, measured way and that we have the financial resources for this work.

As Chairman of the Friends committee, I have engaged in organising events to celebrate the Commons 150 years, the Queen’s Jubilee and the King’s Coronation. Increasing numbers of Friends have helped us fund new paths and bridges and we have, by working with Walk and Talk, improved accessibility for many with physical and mental difficulties. The Friends have enjoyed varied walks and other activities in Roehampton, Putney and Wimbledon and I would like to ensure more events and a continued increase in membership of Friends.

Michael Johnston, elected 2021 and 2024

Michael has more than 20 years experience sitting on a wide range of charity boards, particularly in the conservation sector. This has given him a deep insight into charity governance, finance and strategy.

He spent nine years as a trustee of Butterfly Conservation, a leading environment charity, as well as terms on the boards of Scottish Wildlife Trust, the largest of Britain’s wildlife trusts, and Buglife, the invertebrate charity. He has been a Conservator since 2021.

In his professional life, Michael trained as a journalist and has worked at the top level of management in the media sector. He is now lucky enough to live 100 yards from the Commons with his wife, Claire, and their teenage daughter and witnesses the joy these remarkable, but vulnerable, green spaces bring to hundreds of people every day.

William Liu, elected 2024

William has been a dedicated resident of Wimbledon for nearly five years.  With a diverse background and a passion for community service, he brings a wealth of experience and expertise to his new role. As a RIBA chartered architect, a fellow of the royal society of arts and a member of the design review panel, William has demonstrated a commitment to design excellence and sustainable development. His architectural and management of projects reflects a deep appreciation for the environment and a desire to create spaces that enhance the quality of life for
their users.

In addition to his professional pursuits, William is actively involved in local governance as a school governor, where he advocates for the educational needs of children in the community. His experience in governance and strategic planning will be instrumental in guiding the future direction of the Commons. 

William also served in the British army and he understands the emphasis of everyone pulling in the same direction in order to achieve one's objective. His military background has instilled in him a strong sense of duty, discipline, and leadership, which he brings to his civic and state  engagements.

As a mentor for the University of Westminster and Prince's Trust, William is committed to empowering young people to reach their full potential and guiding them to a better path in life. His mentorship role demonstrates his dedication to supporting the next generation and fostering positive change in society. 

William's international exposure, through traveling and having worked abroad in Hong Kong and the USA, has broadened his cultural perspective and enriched his understanding of global trends in design, sustainability, and association development. He brings this global context to his local advocacy efforts as a conservator. With his divergent series of experiences, leadership skills, and unwavering commitment to public service, William is poised to make a meaningful impact as the Wimbledon and Putney common conservator, ensuring the preservation and enhancement of this cherished green space for current and future generations.

Oliver Bennett MBE - Appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment 

Oliver has been an environmentalist since he was a teenager, when he enjoyed volunteering at his local nature reserve and spotting rare swallowtail butterflies. He went on to study environmental science at Degree and Research Masters level and worked for environmental charities undertaking habitat management and species monitoring. In 2004 he became an environmental policy advisor to MPs in the House of Commons, where he still works.

Oliver understands that the Commons have a huge cultural value and that they bring joy to many people. He believes that the rare and threatened wildlife found on the Commons adds to this cultural value and joy, and that it is a fundamental part of why they are so loved.

Oliver believes that with the support of the local community, the Conservators and other interested parties, the Commons can continue to play an important role in reversing the significant biodiversity loss that has happened across the UK, and in protecting rare wildlife in the face of climate change.


Peter Shortt - Appointed by the Secretary of State for Defence 

Peter Shortt was appointed by the Secretary of State for Defence on 1 September 2022. 

Peter brings with him a wide range of expertise, particularly in the area of sustainability. He is an experienced venture capitalist and corporate financier with considerable experience of working at the public/private interface, including 14 years working in and with the MoD. He is currently Chief Investment Officer of Sustainable Accelerator, which invests in and provides support to companies in the clean tech and sustainability sectors. Prior to this, Peter was a founding director of the Carbon Trust, one of the UK’s leading organisations promoting the transition to a sustainable low carbon economy.

In taking up his position Mr Shortt commented: “I am excited and honoured to be appointed a Conservator by the Secretary of State for Defence. The Common has been a huge part of my life since I first lived I the area in 1982 and remains so to this day. The recent experience of lockdown only underscored that. I hope that my experience of working both with large public sector bodies and small start ups in the sustainability field will enable me to serve the interests of the WPCC and all who use the Commons”


Vacant -  Appointed by the Home Secretary