EVERY child hopes for a good school report to be sent home – and Gloucester City Council was no different when it was reviewed by experts from other councils.
A team of local government officials from around the country have given the thumbs up to the council’s ‘huge’ efforts in the regeneration of the city.
It points to successes such as the revitalisation of the Docks, the Robert Raikes pub, preserving the Fleece Hotel and creating St Oswald’s Retail Park and redeveloping the Railway Triangle.
The peer review, which included a panel made up of the likes of Sir Stephen Houghton, leader of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, saw every angle of the council scrutinised.
Chris Bowron, programme manager for peer support at theLocal Government Association, who also on the panel, said: “There has been a huge amount of regeneration and development activity in Gloucester over recent years and the council can be proud of what has been achieved in this regard.
“There seems to be a successful balancing of the regeneration and economic growth agenda with preserving the heritage and history of the city.
“The city vision has a focus on prosperity and emphasises the importance of the economy, regeneration and economic development.
“The council recognises the need for a strategic economic plan to help map the future out in more detail. There is much good work taking place on both physical and social regeneration in Gloucester, although we suggest these two strands need to be more closely integrated.”
But the group warned that cuts at the council could leave council bosses with the need to re-prioritise their goals for the city – as a reduced number of council officers may not have the resources to deal with every issue.
Mr Bowron warned: “Whilst the ambitions for further growth and development of the city continue to be high, it is important to ensure there is sufficient capacity to fulfil them. There has been a lot of change recently in relation to the way regeneration is managed and funded.
“The key question that needs to be answered is whether changes that have taken place have led to a reduction in capacity and resources. If the answer is ‘yes’, then there will inevitably be a requirement for re-prioritisation in some form.”
Paul James, leader of the city council, said: “I am pleased that the efforts that the council has put in around regeneration in recent years has been recognised in the peer challenge.
“There is of course more to be done and I am aware officers are working in difficult times with reduced resources.
“I see the report as being very positive but we have got to make sure there are sufficient resources to deliver what we want and I am mindful of that.”