Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dear Mr Pervez

I would like to completely endorse everything that Richard Snell from ‘Save our Stoke’ said in the letter that he recently sent to you.

I am a long-standing and long-suffering resident of this city and have become increasingly disillusioned with successive councils by their stubborn destruction and passive neglect of this once fine city. 

There isn't anything I can add to the letter. However, I would like to ask a question and would appreciate an answer that is sincere and honest and not couched in corporate jargon from the communication team that has been regurgitated time and time again. My question is this: ‘If, against the overwhelming majority of public opinion, this decision to spend millions of pounds on a new civic centre and become the anchor tenant in the CBD in order to attract other businesses turns out to be an unmitigated disaster, will you and the rest of the decision-makers be willing to publicly admit your mistake?’

I know an apology will do nothing to right a colossal wrong, but a sudden attack of conscience is probably the best the people of Stoke-on-Trent can hope for.

Yours sincerely

Anne Farrington
Pervez's response:

Dear Ms Farrington,

Jobs don't get created overnight and I've yet to come across a local authority which has managed to get jobs overnight.

These things take time and all we can do is to create the right conditions to attract the inward investment and support existing businesses.

Central Business District is important to us to improve the range of jobs we have in the city. I appreciate the local authority kick starting this development is contentious but it is not a totally unknown concept. Currently we have a derelict site which is difficult to market as is. Once we have kick started the development and the necessary land assembly is complete then we will be in a much better position to attract the necessary interest.

The worst case scenario is that we can do all this and still not get any interest in the site. This is a potential risk, I am well aware of this but the risk of doing nothing is far greater.

For years we have shied away from difficult decisions and have seen our city go into decline. City's which have got their act together have succeeded.

Our vision for jobs and growth will benefit the whole city not just the city centre.

Jobs is what our people want and this is what our vision sets out to do. The Central Business District is just one element.

We are also in negotiations with Central Government over a City Deal to make Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire an economic powerhouse for advanced materials (ceramics, metals, polymers etc.) which will involve making our employment sites fit for purpose, up-skilling our workforce and driving Research & Development in the area.

I make no apologies for striving for jobs and growth in the city.

Best Regards,
Councillor Mohammed Pervez,
Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council & Councillor for Moorcroft Ward.
Tel: 01782 232468

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