EDITOR'S CHAIR: It's time to get positive about Newport's future
10:17am Thursday 22nd August 2013 in News
REGULAR readers of this column will know I often voice my frustration at the constant negativity about Newport spewed out by some people, particularly on the internet.
The many positive and good things about the city, the transformation of the riverfront over the last decade, the success of many of our local businesses get ignored as the keyboard warriors do their utmost to portray Newport as a place without hope for the future.
Don't get me wrong. Newport is far from perfect and I recognise as much as anyone the problems it faces, particularly around the long-planned regeneration of the city centre.
But continually talking the city down does nobody any good.
The city's most vociferous critics almost never have any ideas to make things better. They simply vent their spleen against whoever they think is to blame.
Thankfully, things are changing.
There is an intelligent debate taking place right now about Newport's future. And it is taking place on the internet.
On social media, there are a number of people - under the banner Positive Newport - who are looking at the way ahead for the city in a sensible, rational, innovative way.
And the city's regeneration taskforce - reNewport - has already attracted more than 50 ideas to its website since it was launched last week.
Reading reNewport's website is a heartening experience.
There are clearly many people in Newport who want the city to succeed and who have the ideas and creativity to help make it happen.
It is exactly what the city needs. End the negativity, start the positivity.
For too long, it has seemed as though people in Newport have been reliant on the powers-that-be to change things for the better.
The reality is that politicians and civil servants can only do so much. They can lobby and they can facilitiate.
But what really gets things moving - and we have seen it time and again in this country and worldwide - is the will of the people.
And I am convinced there is a real will from the majority of people in Newport to solve its problems and create a prosperous, go-ahead city for the future.
Just look at some of the ideas on the reNewport website.
A cultural quarter, making Newport a heritage destination, great restaurants, river trips, an integrated transport hub, an indoor play centre for children in one of the empty shops, more support for start-up businesses.
Some of these suggestions may never come to fruition. Some will spark other, better ideas. Some will be at the forefront of the new Newport.
But they are all great ideas and it is fantastic to see them put into the public domain.
My view on the city centre, for what it is worth, remains that it needs to become a place where people live.
All the great European cities have people living in their centres.
There are plenty of opportunities above shops and other establishments in Newport where good-standard acommodation could be created.
If people live in a city centre they are more likely to shop, eat and drink there.
I would encourage everyone with the good of Newport at heart to visit the reNewport site and offer up their ideas.
You can find more details here: www.renewport.co.uk/make-a-suggestion/
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