Peterborough needs a clear vision of its future if it is to succeed in
a rapidly changing world, city business people were told at a meeting
hosted by Greater Peterborough Investment Agency.
Dr John Bridge, who is preparing
Peterborough's bid for an urban regeneration company to manage
development of the city centre, told the meeting:
"The world is changing in a variety of
ways and Peterborough must respond to these changes if it is to
"The European Union is admitting ten
new members with a combined population of 75 million people. EU
enlargement means our business opportunities will be that much greater
– but the competition will also be that much greater.
"Cities in the new member countries,
similar in size to Peterborough, are straining at the leash. They have
a clear determination to be successful cities of the future.
"Globalisation means that markets and
technologies are internationally transferable. Products and services
become obsolete ever more quickly. Costs are being driven down by
international competition from low-wage economies.
"Peterborough will suffer if it does
not understand the market in which it is operating."
Dr Bridge said that changes in world
trade mean we will not in future be able to compete in some industries
in which we are now competing successfully. He warned that, because
Peterborough's real competitive advantage lies in its people, we must
do more to improve skills and training in the local workforce.
An urban regeneration company (URC)
would help create a city centre which is "fit for purpose" not just
now but well into the future, said Dr Bridge. However, he said, the
development of Peterborough needs to be about more than new buildings
in the city centre.
"Peterborough is much wider than the
city centre. We need to ensure that the improvements reach people
throughout the area.
"It is not just about providing
facilities but about providing vision. The one thing that will make
Peterborough successful in the future will be that we believe it is
going to be successful.
"None of us can be spectators in this
development process. We all need to be players.
"We do not want Peterborough to be
average or ordinary. We want it to be much better than that. If we are
to achieve these ambitions, we need commitment, vision and awareness
of what is going on in the world around us."