Yet again we seem to have something of a ‘see-saw’ political result, which means whilst we still have a Labour Council, it has no overall majority, and therefore perhaps limited opportunity to push things through.
This is a theme that has played out before with the City Council, and I have in the past sometimes wondered whether the to-ing and fro-ing of different parties being in office results in constantly changing policies being introduced with a view more to political point scoring than implementing long-term policies that put Derby first.
That said, I think I share a view with others that when it comes to property and development the industry has been broadly supported in Derby by the City Council, who have played a significant role in pushing along with some very significant schemes over recent years including to name but a few Infinity Park, Derby Velodrome, Moorways, and hopefully a new Assembly Rooms development.
The point of all of this, is that sometimes we have to put our individual or partisan thoughts and feelings to one side, and do something which is for the greater good. When it comes to development schemes in Derby both the public and private sectors have been able to come together and forge a strong working relationship despite having, I suspect, entirely opposing political views. They have been able to see past their differences to achieve something for which they have a shared understanding and a common goal.
Sadly, my impression from my own recent experience in attending a public consultation for the proposed Derby Landmark apartment scheme on Stuart Street by Godwin Developments, leads me to believe that a significant and disproportionately vocal element of the Derby populace haven’t entirely bought into the ‘shared understanding and common goal’ idea.
As I spoke to the developers and walked around looking at the information on the proposed scheme, the feedback I heard from other members of the public in attendance veered between ‘far too big’ to ‘just don’t like it’ and several points in between. I’m sure there were other comments of support but it seemed to me the vocal minority of an ageing demographic were out in force to express their views against the kind of development Derby desperately needs to stimulate the city centre economy. Likewise, it seems to be the same voices and groups that parade across the pages of the Derby Telegraph on a regular basis saying they don’t like this or that proposed development as it isn’t in keeping with what else is around.
I think there are two points that come out of this.
Firstly, those of us that do want to see development, that believe Derby needs to support such schemes, should really make the effort to lend our support when we can. Make the effort to attend public enquiries and find out more. Pass on your comments, they will make a difference. If you live or work in Derby, you have a vested interest in what happens, and can actively shape how the city is developed. It’s easy for all of us to be apathetic and not make our voices heard, but we can’t then complain when the only voices that do make themselves heard are often negative ones.
Secondly, those that do have a ‘knee-jerk’ negative reaction to new developments, really ought to perhaps take a little time and consider why they are objecting, and to what end?
Derby has a rich history of embracing change and being at the forefront of innovation. From being the site of the first water powered mill of the industrial revolution, through to the world famous paintings of Joseph Wright, and the birthplace of Rolls-Royce, it has often been a melting pot for the new and the different.
I don’t believe that is something which should be forgotten lightly. It would be good to see those who don’t currently get involved speaking up more in favour of development, and those that object for the sake of objecting seeing that sometimes change can be a good thing. All of us should see that we have a common goal in creating a vibrant city. We just need to develop a shared understanding between us all to get there.