Growth Cities Network

If, like many of us you don’t read the Financial Times behind its paywall, you will have missed an item entitled UK Cities Seek Powers to Boost Growth.

This tells us that group of smaller towns and cities seek additional powers and money from central government to “help the economic performance of the entire country.”


Interestingly the first quote in the article comes from Peterborough City Council Leader Marco Cereste, and the second from Neil Darwin of Opportunity Peterborough, although this OP connection is not stated. He is simply described as “Neil Darwin, director of the Growth Cities Network”. OP are generally part of the Council so far as I can tell, although separate as well. I think the ratepayer contributes towards their wages.

The article states that “More local control of housing policy is another Growth Cities Network aspiration.” Cllr. Cereste himself has a keen interest in housing and is the chairman of a group of speculative builders and also a private landlord and the owner of several companies. He says that Peterborough has created 7,000 new jobs over the past three years, especially in the green industry. I didn’t know it was that many. I would have to examine a list.

If you have access to the FT, the article can be found by putting “growth cities network” into Google News. If you don’t have access to the FT, then put “growth cities network” into the main Google Search it’s number 3 in the results. They have a cached version which is readable without subscription.

When growth is celebrated, one often wonders whether simply increasing the number of residents is in itself guaranteed to enhance the lives of everyone else. It’s obviously good for the “authority” as it increases their level of responsibility, their income and their status. I don’t personally see an advantage to the increase in traffic, congestion, and queues. To be fair, many of the councillors and officers who promote this agenda don’t live amongst it so maybe they aren’t aware of that effect on the rest of us.

They don’t appear to have a website. I look forward to hearing more about it.