This time will be different
The residents of Berwick, after decades of political management under one group, opted for change by voting in a different group as it was perceived that our town was being left behind and forgotten about.
So the residents of Berwick voted for change (or enough of us did) and our town now has a new MP, new county councillors and a wholesale change within our town council.
I have heard the criticism being levelled against all the above – Anne Marie never being seen in Berwick, attempts to discredit both our county and town councillors (fake news tactics), with it all basically coming down to the same thing – what are they doing for us and our town?
I feel sure these individuals have been working extremely hard on our behalf, but understand that until things start to noticeably change around town this criticism will remain. What will be said if things really do start to move forward?
I would like to take this opportunity, based on my understanding of the workloads of these individuals and my belief that they will deliver, to remind residents that should things start to move forward in a manner never seen around these parts, it was their vote that brought about this change.
I would also like to take the opportunity to advise, in my opinion, that things will be done differently this time as I can hear the naysayers now – ‘they will just waste any money given to the town’.
To this, I would like to advise that this new group of county councillors has established the Berwick Regeneration Commission (BRC), which will be the new lead accountable body for future regeneration around our town.
I will be looking for accountability at every stage of the management process, especially where funds are being spent.
We, as a town, are likely to be asked to attend future consultation roadshows. I know residents are extremely frustrated at having to attend events such as this over the decades with absolutely nothing to show for them.
If the BRC asks residents to attend such future events, I would hope they will do so as this time it just has to be different and your voices have to be heard to help shape our town’s future. Berwick residents simply have to be a part of shaping any future direction the town takes.
My personal opinion is that Berwick should concentrate on its tourism offer, with special attention being paid to the heritage aspect as heritage tourism is a growth sector within the UK economy and we are rich in this regard.
Berwick-upon-Tweed will be an international heritage destination that can happily compete with the best historic towns within Europe. We just need to start marketing ourselves on the world stage.