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Elected mayor could strengthen Bristol's challenge to Cardiff business and leisure dominance

Elected mayor could strengthen Bristol's challenge to Cardiff business and leisure dominanceBristol’s decision to go for an elected mayor gives the city the perfect opportunity to reinvent itself - and make up some ground on its great  rival - Cardiff. Well that is the view of Colliers International planning and heritage specialist James Edwards, who believes the city has lost its way over the past decades and fallen further than ever behind the booming Welsh capital.

Bristol was the only city to vote in favour of an elected mayor  during the May elections, and James Edwards believes the decision could bring major benefits for its citizens.

“The yes vote could help put Bristol back on the map. The city is in serious need of  an elected mayor - somebody it can count on to speak up for Bristol on a regional, national and even international level.”

Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield all voted against a directly elected mayor - which James Edwards believes could put Bristol in the driving seat building for the future.

He said: “Too many people  stay on the M4 and head for Cardiff for their entertainment whether sporting, shopping or leisure. Bristol has become something of a backwater on the national stage as Cardiff has prospered  and changed beyond recognition.”

James Edwards said the vote in favour of having an elected major had left the city at a crucial turning point.

He said: “Bristol now has an opportunity to completely reinvent itself following decades of treading  water. It has  rested too much on its laurels, allowing cities like Cardiff to rise to prominence and redevelop as a regional retail and leisure power house.

 “A strong dynamic leader will focus on driving Bristol forward and encourage the development of key big city staples  such as a major arena venue.

“An elected mayor who could market the  city to a wider audience can only be a good thing for the future of the city across every sector.”

He said although Bristol City Council had begun to rethink its offering with events like the Bristol Fashion pop up food camp in Queens Square it was still crying out for a nationally recognised event and an international standard venue.

He said: “Back in the 19th century there used to be an annual horse race  on the downs.  More recently we had powerboat racing in the city docks.  We have the space and with a dynamic elected mayor at the helm hopefully the inclination to give Cardiff and other cities a run for their money.”

Based at the Colliers International HQ in Broad Quay,  James Edwards is fast becoming recognised as one of the leading commentators on Bristol’s commercial, maritime and architectural heritage.

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 29th May 2012 (updated 09/04/2013)

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