By Ian Mean
Business West Gloucestershire director and vice-chair GFirstLEP
Stroud and the places around it are great places to live.
But I am afraid that, hitherto in my view, there has been a lack of encouragement for business to invest in the area.
I hope that is now going to change with a new council venture to help stimulate more investment in Stroud district.
Stroud District: The Natural Place was appropriately launched at Stroud Brewery founded and run by the irrepressible Greg Pilley, truly a man of Stroud in every way-an eco supporter committed to supporting the community.
Stroud is not alone in being backward in coming forward to encourage business investment.
I have to say I have been a critical friend of Stroud when it comes to business. I believed their Levelling Up bid was inadequate and it failed to get government approval.
But I do think the penny has now dropped with the council’s new online prospectus at www.strouddistrict.co.uk.
It does a good job of showing the district’s green economy, its innovation , ecology commitments and work-life balance.
I like the way the Natural Place is highlighting the area’s changemakers-people like Greg Pilley and Dale Vince of Ecotricity.
Not forgetting, of course, Mark Dransfield of Dransfield Properties who has ploughed nearly £30 million into developing the Five Valleys shopping centre.
But an attractive website is not the be all and end all when it comes to attracting inward investment.
Stroud District Council now needs to prove its business credentials to companies with an active development programme so investors really understand the opportunities available-especially sites available for development.
Every journey must start with a single step, says the proverb.
The Natural Place is Stroud District Council’s first step and it should be welcomed by businesses who are looking to invest.