Mayor Column September:In 100 days, we’ve pointed to a more inclusive city

August 26 2016

A lot can happen in 100 days. It’s been about that long since I was elected

A lot can happen in 100 days. It’s been about that long since I was elected 

  Bristol mayor, and in that time we’ve had Brexit, a new prime minister and a £1bn devolution deal for our region agreed in principle. 

In that whirlwind of context I’m amazed at how much we’ve achieved locally. There have been real actions, both large and small. These all send a clear message that this will be a fairer, more inclusive city where everyone has a chance to feel the benefits of our success.

 In some cases small gestures speak volumes: like allowing blue badge holders to park in residents’ parking bays without fear of a fine, or buying back a former council flat in Lawrence Hill to once again make it available to a family on the waiting list. Other actions not only help us now, but lay groundwork for the future – like taking 80 hectares of public land off the market so we can build more homes; reviving plans for a new recycling centre on Hartcliffe Way; or installing the first parts of a city-wide heat network to supply tenants of 1,000 social housing flats with low carbon, fairly-priced heat. A change close to my heart was launching a review into housing priority for domestic abuse survivors.

It all adds up, and one of my big takeaways from 100 days as mayor is that the city works best when it works together. So I’ve met 75 partners to talk about setting up a City Office where different organisations can work more closely together to solve big issues. We’re already working across public, private and voluntary sectors to respond to Brexit; and this is just the first of many topics where the best result for Bristol can be achieved if we pool our power, money and ideas.

 None of us has a magic wand or all of the answers. Nor can we pretend there aren’t massive challenges ahead. I have inherited a huge financial challenge which is proving bigger than anyone anticipated. I will be making sure the council builds on what’s previously gone well and fully understands where more progress needs to be made. That doesn’t take away the issue, but it does help us respond, as does the city-wide budget simulator I launched to involve more people in the challenge. I’m really grateful to everyone who took part, because those ideas are now being shared widely to help the council plan for the future.

The situation is too serious to describe being mayor as exciting. But it is busy, fulfilling, challenging and really, truly rewarding. I have high hopes for our city and what we can achieve together. I hope many of you will be part of it.