I attended the Conurbation 2050 lunch last month, an incredible mix of local business types, councillors, entrepreneurs, artists, visionaries, an MP and me.
The purpose of the Conurbation 2050 group is to bring together entrepreneurial and public-spirited individuals, so they can share ideas* and do things together, using their own initiative.
*ideas to develop the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch conurbation.
Things I noted from today, in no particular order:
Transport improvement ideas – from a monorail to Heathrow terminal 5 type pods, it seemed really clear to me that a wide range of people (business, tourists and locals) feel this needs action, myself included.
An arts/creative space – I found this interesting as it’s talked about a lot and yet if you look at the lighthouse in poole (struggling), the cube gallery (closed), the shared market in Boscombe (closed) and numerous other projects… is there really demand or viability of such spaces? That’s not to say I wouldn’t love Bournemouth to be a creative hub, I just think they’re all missing… something from the idea.
An icon for the area: be it a landmark or attraction – it was noted by one attendee that a lot of the ideas focussed on attractions for tourists or visitors – would a landmark benefit locals? (Proposals included a dome on the beach + cliff, a Bomo Eye, skyscrapers..)
Some ideas have already begun to take shape (boat planes, coming soon!), some were just ideas.
Another common theme (which amuses me) was use of the term “Bomo”, from renaming the conurbation “BomoCity” to various “Bomo ___” named things – would one name ever work?
In a wider sense, could the councils get along to work more effectively as one?
One thing did strike me, if this is to become anything more than talk, in my opinion, it has to be led by business and not politicians.
I’d propose forming a Conurbation 2050 social enterprise to nurture ideas and make them happen, to lobby politicians to adopt the ideas independent of politics and get as many people involved as practically possible.
What happens next? Who knows.