Do you react the same way as I do to patronising and homespun New Year messages about people’s hopes for the future? Probably the same way I usually feel about round robin festive letters, and don’t even get me started on Electronic Christmas Cards!
So I am not going to fall into that trap. Instead, I have only one thing to say, and it’s neither patronising nor homespun. I really hope 2018 is the year that we get on with things.
It’s true that Brexit will remain an unknown quantity and that is bound to have an impact on how people plan for the future. But I am one of those who remains positive about how things will play out and I am optimistic that we have the skills and imagination to make the most of the opportunities that will come up.
Irrespective of what goes on in the outside world, there is so much that we can be getting on with. I am delighted that the Council is taking the next step with its Master Plan for Bath Quays North – what will replace the Avon Street Car Park. It is no exaggeration to say that the development can be a game changer for Bath by providing much needed modern office space which will allow existing businesses to expand and flourish as well as creating space for other companies to come and invest in the City.
Almost as important, it will provide a clear signal that this is not only a historic and beautiful place to visit but is also a vibrant and successful business centre. It will change our reputation as just a beautiful and historic place to come and visit and instead highlight the fantastic companies who already operate here and attract others to provide jobs for our young people.
I am also looking forward to seeing work start on the other side of the river on the Bath Quays South site and we eagerly anticipate the exciting plans that Bath Rugby have for the Recreation Ground. The club could not have consulted more thoroughly with the whole community and so hopefully there will be support for the designs for the new stadium as they emerge.
There’s a lot to look forward to and many reasons to be optimistic about the next 12 months and you can rest assured that members of the Chamber and Initiative will continue do their bit to develop the local economy which will be to the benefit of all.