Plymouth Chamber of Commerce Chief Exec David Parlby
I READ The Herald every day in order to keep track of what is going on in Plymouth and pay particular attention to the letters page as this provides a good barometer for the mood of the city.
My impression is that all too often Cantankerous of Crownhill, Disgusted of Derriford, Enraged of Eggbuckland and Peeved of Peverell criticise the performance of the city and its leaders without providing much in the way of evidence for their assertions.
Everyone, of course, is entitled to their view and performance can always be improved.
However, I do worry about the negative impact such unsubstantiated challenges have on those who do not live and work in Plymouth – exactly the audiences that we need to impress for Plymouth to be successful.
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I will give the Grumpies the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are just not fully up to speed with the progress of many good things which are in train in the city.
Let me spell these out :
1. Partnership working between the private sector, the city council, the university and other public sector organisations is in a better state than it ever has been.
2. This has led to the creation of new organisational structures which focus on dealing with specific parts of the city's activities: Destination Plymouth for place management, the Waterfront Partnership for (yes) the Waterfront, GAIN for business support and the Growth Board for economic development are just four.
3. We have now got very good people in these organisations – they are senior with masses of experience, are paid and hence dedicated to delivery. This represents a major step forward over the previous approach of trying to deliver complex projects through cadres of volunteers with other day jobs to attend to.
4. Several projects are now under way specifically designed to increase jobs and create more wealth in Plymouth – the Plan for Jobs, the bid for City of Culture 2017, Mayflower 400, the City Deal (with Plymouth being selected for a fast-tracked approach), Digital Plymouth (with specific emphasis on getting our 30,000 off-line citizens on-line) and the Plymouth International Trade Club are just a few examples.
The Chamber is deeply involved in every single one of these good things.
Space here does not allow more detailed briefing so I invite Grumpies and others interested in Plymouth's future to find out more by checking out our forthcoming regular blog on www.plymouth-chamber.co.uk