There is good evidence that economies can talk themselves downwards by self fulfilling gloomy predictions, so whilst it is right to remain realistic it is vital to stay positive and plan for success, according to Ian Bell, Executive Director of Bath Chamber of Commerce.
There are times when it is hard to remain optimistic about the future of our local economy, but our members continue to believe that we can look ahead to future prosperity and we are working hard to ensure that becomes a reality.
One of the things we do is to be heavily involved in the sometimes less than glamorous, but all important debates, that create long term plans which will shape the way the place in which we live and work looks in the future.
At the moment that means contributing to discussions about the Core Strategy, a plan which will have a huge bearing on developments over the next twenty years. It sets out how many new jobs there should be and how many new homes should be built. Both of those will heavily influence the way our economy changes and adapts to future challenges.
Over the next few weeks an Inspector will be examining the draft plan and we will be making what could be a controversial point – that we should take a flexible approach to the green belt. That is not to say that we will be arguing for green spaces to be concreted over but it is to make the case for taking a mature and reasonable approach to the subject in order to allow development which is appropriate and much needed.
Beyond the Core Strategy we have also been looking again at the subject of transport and recently heard from Bath resident, Peter Hendy, who is the Commissioner for Transport for London. He made the key point that we need a proper strategic plan for transport which will produce an infrastructure from which the economy can grow. That means taking a long term view and refusing to be blown off course by issues which will be seen as peripheral over time.
We have got a lot to look forward to. Western Riverside is an active site, we have high hopes for the Enterprise Area and we are looking forward to seeing plans for a development which will allow Bath Rugby to achieve its true potential.
For our part the Chamber has had a change in President, saying goodbye to Brigid Musselwhite who has left the RUH to help run a new combined ambulance service, but saying a renewed hello to Philip Marshall of Carter Jonas, who has stepped up from Vice-President to fill the role he has carried out with such distinction in previous years.
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PUBLICATION: Bath Chronicle, January 2012