Cum­mings Go­ings The BBC Ra­dio Glouces­ter­shire break­fast show pre­sen­ter takes to the skies over Glouces­ter city cen­tre

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE - with BBC Ra­dio Glouces­ter­shire’s Mark Cum­mings

Ikeep ask­ing peo­ple a rather sober­ing ques­tion. I get a mixed re­sponse when I in­quire how old they’ll be in 2050. I know some peo­ple know ex­actly where they’ll be 32 years down the line. It’s a per­ti­nent ques­tion as the lead­ers/thinkers/plan­ners in Glouces­ter­shire have been draw­ing up an ac­tion plan to stop the drift of young­sters leav­ing the county.

The the­ory is sim­ple…stand­ing still and keep­ing things as they are is not an op­tion. The world is go­ing to change de­mo­graph­i­cally, eco­nom­i­cally, so­cially and en­vi­ron­men­tally and we need to plan for that change. Some of the big ideas in­clude amal­ga­mat­ing Glouces­ter and Chel­tenham into one ‘Su­per City’ com­bin­ing the strengths of both and cre­at­ing a third cen­tre in the land in be­tween. An­other con­cept for the ac­tion plan is the cre­ation of an in­ter­na­tional air­port in the Cotswolds to drive busi­ness com­pe­ti­tion and im­prove trans­port links. The ‘Big Con­ver­sa­tion’ also cov­ered trans­port, arts and cul­ture, hous­ing and the en­vi­ron­ment.

We thought it might be in­ter­est­ing to put these ideas to the test with those whose lives it will im­pact. I hosted a de­bate at the Univer­sity of Glouces­ter­shire with a room filled with teenagers and twenty-some­things. They were 50/50 on the Su­per City pro­posal, some ex­cited about the idea of com­bin­ing the two to cre­ate a larger metropoli­tan vibe, some be­mused by the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, and quite a few just couldn’t un­der­stand the con­cept. Many young­sters leave be­cause they can’t pur­sue their cho­sen ca­reer by stay­ing. Many say the arts/ mu­sic/cul­tural life doesn’t com­pete with Lon­don/bris­tol and many sim­ply said they couldn’t pos­si­bly af­ford to buy a house here. They were hon­est, di­rect, en­gaged, though pro­vok­ing and cer­tainly put the panel (who’d come up with the big ideas) through their paces.

It’s im­por­tant to have these con­ver­sa­tions and try to en­vis­age the world when my kids will be in their 50s and, God will­ing, I’ll be 84. We have a track record of big thinkers and vi­sion­ar­ies lo­cally: The God­fa­ther of Con­ser­va­tion, Sir Peter Scott; the in­ven­tor of the jet en­gine, Sir Frank Whit­tle; and Ed­ward Jen­ner, who founded the vac­cine for small­pox. Would they have come up with some­thing a lit­tle bolder?

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