Reaction: George Ferguson's surprise mayoral victory excites industry
Ranked as a 5/1 outsider, George Ferguson’s unexpected mayoral victory in Bristol has been broadly welcomed
Tom Russell of Tom Russell Architects:
‘It’s very exciting news. I suspect the people of Bristol voted to have a mayor in the original referendum because they knew it was an opportunity to do things differently. The election of George Ferguson confirms this. Over the years Ferguson has used his architectural practice to challenge received wisdom about development and regeneration and to make interesting things happen. I’m sure he has the imagination and the experience to develop ideas that will put Bristol on the map. I hope that he will look to Brazil’s architect mayor Jaime Lerner as an inspiration.
‘I imagine that there will be a big emphasis on developing the local economy in a bottom-up / grass roots way. He has indicated that he will draw his salary in our local currency - Bristol Pounds.
Public transport will also need to be a priority but there’s no quick fix for this
‘Public transport will also need to be a priority, we have had decades of dithering in our efforts to provide a rapid transit system, but there is no quick fix for this. Another area for his attention is the provision of affordable housing. New ideas for housing could focus on Bristol’s new Community Land Trust which looks to support self-build and community owned housing projects’.
Angela Brady, RIBA president (on Twitter)
YESSSSSS: Congratulations George, new Mayor of Bristol.
Rob Guy of Arturus Architects
‘It will be brilliant to have a mayor who is an architect. We tend to have very political views but rarely put ourselves forward for political positions as we have to be able to work with many different people who may have completely different opinions. George has a massive task to perform as Bristol is quite divided on some issues. George will be better for Bristol than for architects generally, but it can only be good to have a highly visible council leader being an architect. It might encourage more of us to try to become politicians.
It is fair to say most people in the development business would say ‘sack everyone in the planning and transport departments’ and should be the first thing George does. It might not be as simple as that but I do agree. I would also want George to have regular meetings with the professional Football, Rugby and Cricket Clubs as these represent Bristol throughout Britain and can be used to promote success.
Being President of the RIBA will have been a role which will enable him to reconcile the many different opinions in Bristol - no other candidate had anything like this experience.
Mike Norton, editor of the Bristol Post
‘No-one should underestimate the size of George Ferguson’s achievement in winning this election. He has taken on the full force of three major party machines and essentially made mincemeat of them. In an election that often looked like it would end in more of the same, George dared to be different. He offered independence. And Bristolians have taken him up on it. Just like at the referendum, they dared to be different again.
‘Many challenges await our new mayor. In the short term, there is a budget to be set. In the long term, there is the not-insignificant task of restoring the city’s faith in leadership.