I was up at the crack of dawn today to travel to Plymouth, where the city council hosted a day’s session with partners to help it map out its housing strategy.
Having witnessed the scores of partners in attendance, listened to intelligent, high-profile speakers and seen some amazing regeneration taking place, I left feeling impressed and energised by the the city’s ambition.
Attendees included some of the South West’s leading housing figures and the city’s two MPs, Alison Seabeck and Oliver Colvile. They heard from Grant Shapps’ parliamentary aid Jake Berry MP, Chartered Institute of Housing’s deputy chief executive Richard Capie and my colleague Colin Molton about the challenges and opportunities facing local communities.
Delegates heard things are going to be tough, there will be less grant to go around and partners will have to innovate and work together if they are serious about building better communities in future.
But, beyond the key messages, people could also see, hear and feel how partners’ efforts were already delivering amazing results. That the event was taking place in the newly refurbished Devonport Guildhall, which sits at the centre of a multi million-pound transformation that will deliver many hundreds of homes, was testament to what can be achieved by strong local leadership and committed partnerships.
Plymouth has bold ambitions for growth and (as the council said today) to become one of Europe’s premier cities.
If they can continue the progress they have made to date, it could be a national success story.