Preston needs to ‘get a grip’ – that was the advice of four experts on the Preston Social panel on Tuesday evening.
Over fifty people attended this month’s event, which made a return to The Continental after a brief hiatus at The Forum. Tuesday’s gathering debated whether Preston was suffering from an identity crisis following its city status in 2002, and some of the questions fired at the panel were ‘Does Preston have an identity crisis?’, ‘What does Preston have to be proud of?’ and ‘Can Preston be a city without a centre?’
On the panel were Ben Casey, Co-founder and Creative Director of The Chase, designers of the Preston Guild 2012 branding and whose portfolio also includes Preston North End’s football stadium; Ruth Heritage, director of They Eat Culture, an organisation that runs new arts programming and playful inclusion events alongside cultural projects in the spaces and places of Lancashire; Kirsty Henshaw, entrepreneur, public speaker and star of BBC’s Dragon’s Den, also a proud Prestonian and ambassador for the city; Councillor John Potter, who moved to Preston to study in 2001 and has since been elected as Liberal Democrat councillor for Cadley Ward on September 16th 2010 in a by-election, and re-elected in May 2012 with more votes and a greater share of the 44% turnout.
The event provided some lively debate about Preston’s future, with discussion about the development of sites such as the Bus Station, the covered market and the old Post Office firmly on the agenda. Preston Guild received some criticism for its perceived lacklustre publicity of events, and questions also prompted the panel to consider what Preston had to offer in comparison to Manchester and Liverpool, with some advocating that Preston should aspire to become the ‘capital of Lancashire’.
Those who couldn’t attend joined in on Twitter using the #PrestonSocial hashtag, and some very interesting points were raised.
@TheTwoHats debated whether the ‘outsourcing of jobs’ provided any real value for the city: “Preston is a hub for moving around Lancashire. Can we capitalise on that?”
@PopPhotoLtd disagreed with the notion that Preston could be the capital of Lancashire: “Preston is the administrative centre for Lancashire but offices don’t necessarily make a capital….”
@Katiemac221 chipped in with a controversial suggestion: ” Lack of long term strategic vision among elected councillors in Preston – time for an elected mayor? ”
You can view all the tweets from last night’s event here: http://www.tweetdoc.org/View/
Did you attend the Preston Social on Tuesday? Do you agree or disagree with any of the points raised? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Image credit: @NickyDanino