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Mean on Monday: We will not go back to the bad old days of city council planning

By The Citizen  |  Posted: September 17, 2012

AS I said at Gloucester Day, the city is on the up and much of that new confidence has come from investment into regeneration projects.

As vice chairman of the Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company, I have often been critical during the last six years of its life of what I perceived to be a lack of drive and enthusiasm by our city council to rebuild this once great city of ours.

However, despite the fact that the GHURC is now in its death throes, I believe the regeneration penny has now dropped with our councillors.

Last week, I attended a city council cabinet meeting to hear about the city's vision to take regeneration forward without the help of the GHURC, which will close its doors by next March.

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I admit I was ready to be critical.

But I came away thinking there is a real chance that the momentum now driving this city forward will not be lost.

Yes, the penny has dropped.

What impressed me last Wednesday evening was that the city councillors have now come a long way on the journey to regeneration in Gloucester.

Paul James, the leader, is a guy who works in property and well knows just how tough it is to get outside investment into a city that, to most developers 10 years ago, was simply a no-go area.

And Paul was honest enough to tell the cabinet that there would be no return to the "dark and bad old days" of the past.

He was, of course, referring to the appalling planning decisions like the failure of the Arrowcroft shopping scheme at Blackfriars, which killed future investor confidence.

All that has changed, of course, with the ongoing huge investment by Peel Holdings in Gloucester Quays and the work now starting on the eyesore Railway Triangle.

The regeneration framework report produced by the city's corporate director of regeneration Phil Staddon is a first class piece of work.

We will be looking at its detail in The Citizen over the next few weeks and asking you for your comments.

One thing is certain.

The Citizen will not allow this city to drift back into those bad old days – the momentum of driving our city forward must not be lost.

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