Saturday, January 09, 2010

Royal Greenwich: Let's make it mean something

Last night the Mayor of Greenwich hosted a short-notice reception at the Town Hall to raise a glass to this week's announcement of our impending Royal Borough status. It was a happy event, and everyone is understandably proud at the news. I was also, incidentally, pleased to see The Queen's portrait now proudly displayed in the Mayor's parlour, rather than in a cupboard.
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But once the initial elation has worn off, we have to answer the question I've heard many people asking about the news - what does it actually mean? Or as some sceptics would put it- so what?
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The new Royal title is a great honour, but it doesn't of itself grant us any extra powers or tangible benefits. Reaping the rewards is something we have to do ourselves. We should be looking at imaginative community projects; tourism, culture and heritage protection strategies; and a host of other ways to tap into the added excitement that will now surround an already historic year in 2012. I have my own ideas- including my 'Great Harry 2' sailing project - which I will be pushing, and I'm sure other councillor and residents will also want to contribute their thoughts.
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We must also, as David Gold has argued, ensure Eltham is not left out, as it often is where this Council is concerned. With a bit of imagination we can use this new status to provide a genuine boost to our standing and ensure residents in all parts of the Borough see the benefits.

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