Gloucestershire 2050

Author
Ian Mean
Director of Business West Gloucestershire | Business West
18th January 2018

Not before time is Gloucestershire finally realising that this great county of ours must have a vision of where we all want it be in the years to come.

Hitherto, Gloucestershire has been a relatively affluent county of lovely landscapes and a place that has become a magnet for the retired.

And then just under two years ago, the alarm bells rang at county hall when it looked as though the Cotswolds might break away from Gloucestershire and align itself to Oxfordshire.

Coxit, as it came to be known, was thwarted but it gave the County Council a short, sharp shock. That was when the project, Gloucestershire 2050, was born.

Not before time. 

Being unkind, you could say that the vision of what this county should look and feel like in the next 30 years, should be a task already in hand with so many councils here. 

We have a County Council, six district councils and over 300 paid councillors. Are they all really engaged with Gloucestershire’s future?

So, from a business perspective, I believe that a vision of Gloucestershire for 2050 must have at its heart a will to shake up the governance of the county so we all speak with one concerted voice.

We do not need six district councils and a county council.

How are we really going to get exciting and innovative ideas accepted by so many different councils and councillors each with their own agendas?

I am not being negative but Gloucestershire’s current governance is the elephant in the room for this project.

And I see no real political will to create what is really needed - a unitary authority for clear, slimmed down leadership and progression.

Above everything, Gloucestershire 2050 must be a vision born out of what our young people want for their county.

We are a county attractive to the elderly with our young people too often finding little to stay here for after school or university. That must change.

We need to harness Gloucestershire’s Young Parliament - brilliant young people - to help drive this big conversation on 2050 which has its launch at The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse on February 1 (3-6pm).

I believe we almost need a young people’s “referendum” in our schools on what they want for 2050 to improve the life and prosperity of the county-their lives for their futures.

We simply must ask them what will make them stay in Gloucestershire and build their lives here.

And this huge project must have staying power that to have the momentum for the next 30 years.

In the same way that we have tried to deliver the renaissance of Gloucester, starting with the Docks and The Quays, this initiative must have a business model to ensure it stays on track.

So, I believe there must be a similar model to the Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company - initiated by the government - which has resulted in major transformation of the city and the influx of over £700 million of investment.

Gloucestershire 2050 is a great opportunity but the journey must be developed in a business-like way to be successful.

To find out more and book your place for the Big Launch of Gloucestershire 2050, visit Glos2050.com.

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