Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The need improve Victoria Avenue

A continuing priority for the last Conservative Administration was to try to deal with the poor condition of a number of blocks down Victoria Avenue. Not only does this represent an awful gateway to the Town for visitors and residents alike but is also continuing to depress and limit the market for office accomodation. Initially this resulted in meetings with the property owners to try to agree some coordinated redevelopment action and when this was unsuccessful the issue was pursued through the draft Town Centre planning policy document and was an element of the Town’s bid for a City Deal. Continuing to be frustrated by the lack of progress we included the allocation of £10M as part of our last budget to fund either the voluntary purchase or, if necessary CPO, of the blocks and this appears to have encouraged some owners to come to the negotiating table. As such I am pleased to note that this well established policy, which was also part of our last election manifesto, has been adopted by the new Administration and I wish them success. However it was amusing to note the latest edition of the Echo which included the now mandatory picture of Cllr Longley and which almost seemed to suggest that action in Victoria Avenue was an initiative which he was now starting. It is worth mentioning that Cllr Longley, together with all current members of the cabinet, voted against the Conservative budget earlier this year which included this new allocation of funding. Obviously a sudden change of heart. Whilst I don’t want to labour the point the opposition from Cllrs Woodley and Terry was significantly based on further increased borrowing of which this was a significant element and yet again in power their position on borrowing seems to have done something of a volte-face!.

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