One City Plan - a guide for all of the strategies and plans that exist in the city

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6 December, 2017


Sandy Hore-Ruthven, Voscur's Chair Article written by Sandy Hore-Ruthven, Voscur's Chair of Trustees

Whilst we’ve all known about it for a while, Marvin formally launched the idea of the One City Plan last week at a meeting of city leaders at the Ashton Gate Stadium.  About 150 people attended including business, charity and public sector partners all keen to get a sense of what the plan means and how they might get involved.  

Marvin described how the One City Plan would act as a guide for all of the strategies and plans that exist in the city.  Currently there are 40 or more strategies covering everything from health and social care to transport and housing.  Some are contradictory and none look beyond 2022 or 2023 so there is little to say where the city needs or wants to be beyond then.  The One City Plan will guide the city to 2050 and highlight the areas of priority for city leaders from all sectors.

So far three areas have been highlighted as a priority.  And whilst, between them, they are a catch all for pretty much every issue, they give some indication of where the city plan might head.

A prosperous and inclusive economy. Every person having access to good quality employment.   Bristol will be an innovative and globally connected city.

People and place.  Every person will have a good quality of life within a resilient community.  Every child will have a good start in life and Bristol will have a healthy population.

Healthy Environment and Infrastructure.  Good quality connections that enable local, national and international links, we will be a resilient city with a diverse and healthy environment.

Marvin talked about the need to measure our success too – for example reducing the numbers of children in poverty or the number of people suffering from mental health conditions.  

A number of organisations including business and the public sector – including Voscur pledged to move the plan forward.  Voscur took this decision as the City Plan will give us the opportunity to work with sectors we don’t normally engage with.  Many of the issues our members aim to tackle such as poverty and disadvantage are entrenched, and despite long term work by charities and Social Enterprises across the city we are not always able to effect the changes we would like to see.  Resilient communities need great charities at their heart but also need good jobs, a clean environment, housing, training, business and connections to really thrive.  The city plan should give us the opportunity to work strategically to achieve better outcomes.

The formal consultation process will start in the new year with a final plan by May.  So, please keep an eye out for your chance to have a say. 

However, I will finish the article with a note of caution.  There is nothing in the city plan so far that anyone can disagree with.  We all want good jobs, clean air, good housing and a great start in life.  And precisely because there is nothing to disagree with the document could well sit on a shelf if we do not make hard choices about what is most important to us as a city.  

Only by having tough conversations where there is disagreement and challenge will we generate the creativity, new ideas and relationships we need with other sectors to really make a difference.  The challenges of improving air quality whilst increasing access to jobs, building more houses whilst protecting green space, improving support for young people whilst cutting back on services are all challenges that the City Plan hasn’t yet faced.  If we don’t challenge and listen to others it will become a meaningless exercise but if we engage with it across the city it could become a catalyst for real change.  

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