New Portsmouth City Council leader, Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Liberal Democrat), should seize the opportunity to collaborate and create a wealthier, healthier and more attractive city.
Returning to the position held for four years by Conservative leader Donna Jones, he faces the challenge of bringing stability to a council with no overall control. Politics aside, there are few who can deny the energy and vision that Cllr Jones brought to the role during her time as council leader. The success of cities depends on long-term stability and strong leadership, so Cllr Vernon-Jackson must ensure the progress made for the city isn’t put to waste.
His immediate challenge is to steady the ship. In-fighting and instability are the enemies of progress, and we would like to see him foster a collaborative environment that focuses on the enormous potential Portsmouth has as a city where people want to live, work and invest.
This is a real opportunity to stop, look and think about the city’s long-term future, focusing on key challenges such as transport, housing and public spaces and seeing how these can work together to create a city of the future.
Essential too, is collaboration not just within the city but with the region around it. Strides have been made towards a closer relationship with Southampton and the wider region, not as rivals but as allies. The synergy of both working together, playing to each one’s strengths, creates a powerhouse for the south. That collaboration must continue.
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Portsmouth City Council