Nick Paget-Brown is a nice, amiable enough chap who appears to have been born in a pin-striped suit - not someone who strikes one as either creative or innovative, or indeed any of the other adjectives usually associated with cutting edge urban regeneration and design.
At a rather smart do in Frestonia to which the Dame and young Ludo were invited to on Tuesday evening, Nick stood in front of a blue backlit screen looking more than ever like an evil extraterrestrial warlord. Addressing a high-powered audience of developers, architects and planners Nick lectured them in his plummy tones on important things like ... cultural placemaking .... masterplanning ... the public realm ... last but not least ... the 'animation' of new places!
Not one to hide his light under a bushel Nick told the baffled audience, in a speech clearly written by someone else, that his role was to “be a catalyst – bringing developers together with creative organisations and residents to explore what is possible and provide direction”.
|Nick P-B...our placemaker!|
Sensing the perturbed mood of his audience Nick sort of backtracked by saying, 'the Council wants its strategy document - unveiled this week - to stimulate ideas from architects, developers, artists and designers and to lead to interesting new partnerships'.
This is a Council that really needs to focus on its core responsibilities. This initiative is a waste of taxpayer's resources and runs directly counter to the Core Strategy that was painstakingly consulted upon and agreed in Full Council. The Dame has heard that planners and amenity groups are livid and consider it a major breach of protocol - and just another way for Nick to think he is being useful.
The problem is Nick has no job to occupy him so spend hours at Hornton Street thinking up silly schemes to keep himself feeling busy. He also very much enjoys imagining himself as 'head of cultural placemaking', whatever that might mean.