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Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Blairgowrie Regeneration Meeting

For the second time in a month The Royal Hotel hosted another interesting meeting. First a community radio project and on Monday 26th November a Blairgowrie Regeneration Presentation. For those who attended there are a few points that may be relevant.

The Blairgowrie Merchants Association engaged consultants who by their own admission are niche specialists in sport, tourism and leisure. The meeting was excellent as basis for discussion, but there is also a broader spectrum of development opportunities available than what was presented at the meeting.

The consultants liked to use the word ‘sustainable’ many times. It is becoming a marketing buzz word. Be aware of the of it’s proper and full implications when applied to development strategy.

A 4 star Spa Hotel was suggested. Careful to avoid the ‘Tesco Syndrome'. Outside investment or control will automatically move profits out of Blairgowrie. Look at the cost benefit analysis. Roy Coles Accountants, Blairgowrie has a banner on one of their web pages quoting Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics, "The most valuable of all capital is that invested in human beings". The Executive Summary of the Scottish Government’s Economic Strategy (November 2007), begins with a quote by First Minister Alex Salmond "Scotland has real strength in the most vital factor for modern economies - the human capital offered by our greatest asset, Scotland's people." Consider whether you want regeneration building led or people led.

The main benefit of the meeting was that it was a meeting. A catalyst for communication and discussion. I refer to our letter Blairgowrie Advertiser, 15th November, regarding a project to take advantage of the major tourist event in Scotland in 2009. The Gathering. "The opening point of the meeting was communication. This is our most important asset, the Blairgowrie Advertiser, both in it’s print and online form. Then the various websites of all the organisations in Blairgowrie and covering Blairgowrie, Blairgowrie Merchants, Heart of Blair, BEPTA, Visit Scotland, Strathmore and the Glens etc. With these comes the drive, the conversation in the streets, churches, pubs, schools, and shops etc of our community."

In our letter 13th September lyrics were quoted from the band Big Country. In part to use popular culture to highlight Government policy and also an attempt to capture the zeitgeist. A month later they were voted all time best ever Scottish album. This is from We’re Not in Kansas (1993). "Sat me down to wonder. What kind of place this really is. Well, maybe it's in the parks. Ah, maybe it's in the stores. But I know, if we're being honest. It's in the people".

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