Those in power are often fond about talking about bringing change and being an agent of change, but do we ever take a step back to wonder what that means and if it will bring lasting improvements. The problem is that change can encompass all sorts of different types. To name a few, there can be economic, social, environmental and even political or organisational change. Here, I am talking about change we might have some influence over, not geological or climate, where at best we might mitigate their impact.
My view is that simply changing things because one can or to be seen to be doing something different is never wise. Ineffectual change can lead to waste or worse unforeseen damaging consequences. Changing river flows have caused lakes to dry up and closer to home, the Public Finance Initiative has had a chequered history. An attempt to finance projects without hitting the public purse, it was shown in the noughties, that Government was spending significantly more on these projects than they were worth, effectively transferring the benefit to the private firms running them at the cost to the taxpayer.
However well thought through and properly funded change can be hugely beneficial for delivering all sorts of services to communities, such as Ross. Your Council has always had that in mind when directly investing in the Town. Often proposals for change have been driven through working groups, such as Keep Ross tidy, before emerging to be considered by the various Committees. Supporting this in parallel has been a restructuring in the office to ensure the staff have the skill-sets to help delver the change.
Examples include the increase in events to enhance the Town for residents, visitors and businesses alike, the arboretum, the museum without walls and the digital notice boards.
With help too from Herefordshire, we have also been able to resurface a number of roads and pavements.
Additional to this was the drawing-up of a Town Investment Plan, focusing on economic regeneration. Much of this required funding beyond our means and the Levelling-up agenda had offered promise for taking it forward. Although, this did not materialise, we have continued to press Herefordshire for funds.