What is Metropolitan Lines?

Metropolitan lines is the website of John Houghton. John is a freelance consultant who specialises in strategy development, bid writing, facilitation and evaluation across a wide range of public policy domains.

Current and recent assignments include:

  • Delivering a skills, training and employment analysis for Peabody housing association to ensure its £1billion ten-year redevelopment programme in Thamesmead is used to increase the skills and job-readiness of all residents across different tenures.
  • Developing the Greater Oxford investment prospectus on behalf of the University of Oxford and the local authorities, reporting directly to one of the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellors. On the back of this work he was invited to write the city’s short-listed bid to be the European Capital of Innovation 2017.
  • Writing the Strategic Economic Plan for the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership. The final strategy and associated ‘growth deal’ offer attracted over £120m in combined private and public funding.
  • Evaluating the impact of national planning policy changes on house-building and economic growth on behalf of the Planning Advisory Service and the Department for Communities and Local Government. This involved fieldwork with local authority leaders, portfolio holders and national stakeholders.
  • Developing the Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) strategy for the port town of Tilbury, which attracted £6.6m of matched funding to deliver a programme of investment in residents’ job readiness and create new opportunities in and around the port of Tilbury.
  • Managing a process and impact evaluation of a £2bn Wales-wide public service improvement programme on behalf of the Welsh Government.

Further details / references are available on request for these and other assignments.


John left the University of Oxford in 1999 with a 2:1 (Hons) in English Literature. He then joined the UK civil service where he formulated and delivered policies and programmes to regenerate the poorest neighbourhoods in the country. This culminated in the development and management of the £42m per year Single Community Programme.

While working in government, he was approached to take up a six-month secondment at the London School of Economics between 2002 and 2003, where he supported the independent review into the future of Birmingham's £800m public housing stock. 

In 2005, he won a prestigious Fulbright scholarship to travel to the US to identify lessons from state and federal anti-poverty programmes for the UK's emergent 'mixed communities' policy. John left the civil service in 2006 to join Shared Intelligence, a medium-sized profit-making consultancy. There, he won, lead and delivered assignments for a wide range of clients and contributed to the leadership of the company as a Principal Consultant and member of the Senior Management Team. John left the company in 2016 to become a freelance consultant.