Councillors Corner with Councillor Tim Harman, Leader of the Conservative Group at the Cheltenham Borough Council


Where is Cheltenham Borough Council Going?

The heading above could easily be “Where is Cheltenham going? ” but let me explain why either heading could be used. There has been a long debate about whether the Council should relocate from the Municipal Offices to a smaller and more cost-effective location. Despite buying a large building in Bath Road under the guise of making a move there are still no plans in hand to move.

It has become a bit of property speculation and the best thing since sliced bread according to the Liberal Democrat Cabinet. If it is a sleight of hand and a sign of a lack of clear direction, then as Leader of a small Opposition Group I offer the thought that this situation with the Offices could be a metaphor for where the Liberal Democrats are leading, or rather ‘not leading’ our town. Readers may be aware that for some considerable time the Council has been developing a ” Place ” strategy as a base for developing our economic future including tourism etc. Recently I asked the question how it was getting on and the answer was that it was stuck with no clear timetable for delivery. ‘Place’ seems to me to be a woolly concept which has been a reason for not getting on with critical plans rather than a vehicle for progress.

As a town we face many challenges and the current Council is very adept at blaming everyone else for its own failings. Whereas it is legitimate to plead limited resources, it is a fact that other cities and towns who face much the same constraints but seem to be doing much better. So where are we going? In writing this article I will almost certainly be accused by the Liberal Democrats of talking Cheltenham down which is not my aim, rather it is to point out a very real and worrying situation. It is my duty. My group will be setting out a clear and far better future for Cheltenham in the weeks that are ahead.