I can see for miles

Tonight the City Council will debate the City Vision document and this is what I will say:

How do we see our City? How has it changed and how do we want it to change. That is what the City Vision should be about.

This document  http://tinyurl.com/4y5vue4  provides facts and figures about Gloucester and says that priorities have been decided. It then sets them out. And you can’t say we don’t want Gloucester to be a better place to live and work, to raise a family, to retire in. Of course we do. But what this document lacks is a sense of what makes people passionate about this City. What do they love? What do they hate?  Other Cities have ‘visions’ that demonstrate that people care about the future of the place they live in. Thay say things like:

“Every child leaves school and can get a job, and is educated to the highest standard. There will be very little crime and no domestic violence. It will still be the beautiful city it is now.”

“We know how to enjoy ourselves and laugh without offending or taking offence, and with respect to our neighbourhood members.”

“People have equal life chances and lifespan expectations are far less unequal in different parts of the city.”

“It’s all very green – beautiful buildings and a great history.”

These are all things that we should be saying about our City. What makes Gloucester special? – I find little sense of that in this document. Ask around what people think of when Gloucester is mentioned – RUGBY. It is not mentioned in this document other than 2 small photos  but it is at the heart of many families lives. People are drawn to visit the City because of it.

This Council owns and operates one of the finest small venues in the country (see blurry picture p5) – world class acts appear on its stage as well as the up and coming and more established acts. Fans travel from all over the country to see them. What do we do to make them want to stay?

We want to be green, we want to be prosperous but our public transport is sparse and expensive  – for example there are no child megariders or family discounts. In the West Midlands a family(2 adults and 4 children) can travel the whole region – Wolverhampton to Coventry for a day for a cost of £7.80. In Gloucester alone that cost would be £19.20. Travel to Cheltenham increases that to £28.80. No wonder we struggle to get people to take up green transport options and visit our rich and diverse heritage.

And when we do lure them in by car firstly the main approaches to the City are unattractive and we must do something about that. Then parking is expensive for what is currently on ‘offer’ – you can park in Bristol for the same or less. The County’s expensive and restrictive street parking schemes seem designed to make the City a less desirable place to live and work.  We need a sustainable and joined up strategy.

What is more, we need to listen and to lead. Ten years is a relatively short time to make and deliver these changes – what will the City be like is 20 or 30 years? Lets not constrain this consultation with a lack of ambition. A lack of ambition which the Tory administration seems to embrace. When we established the GHURC we did not lack vision or pride. Joseph Chamberlain did not lack City pride when he drove his vision of the City of Birmingham and made it Britain’s second city. This administration seem satisfied with the manageable, the typical, the dull. We should not shrink from the task, lets show some true vision again.

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  • By Gloucester City Vision | Gloucester Labour Party on July 23, 2011 at 11:15 am

    […] at full council this week and Cllr Kate Haigh, leader of the City Group has commented about it on her blog.  The City Vision is then enacted by the City Plan, but the interesting thing is that the plan has […]

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