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Gale hits town

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The Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard summed it all up in a screaming front-page lead headline: 'Action group plans spark rift'. This was the result of a 48-hour 'planning for real' weekend exercise in the Roman town of Cirencester. Prompted by enterprising local group Action Cirencester and its chairman Edward Westo, the weekend was masterminded by Adrian Gale. The proposals were good, and in some cases brilliant. The review committee was chaired by Paul Finch and included Hal Moggridge, Anthony Hunt (who lives locally), Brian Richards, Richard MacCormac, Michael Gwilliam of the Civic Trust and Lord Apsley. So why the big headlines, over the story by chief reporter Gerry Stribbling? Cotswold District Council, which has been supportive of Action Cirencester's aims, got cold feet about the event when the group announced plans to create a trust with a commercial subsidiary which could in theory buy property. This newly named Cirencester Foundation could create conflicts of interest, thought mayor Norman Whereat (where do they get these names?). Astragal's advice: stick to your guns. There is nothing like ownership to get things done.

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