Today's long awaited launch of plans to transform the enterprise zone around Temple Meads – branded the 'Temple Quarter' - was heralded on the front page of the Post and on the Enterprise Partnership's pages. Both highlighted the half-promise of an Arena.
The big event was on Plot 3 – except for now it's to be known as 'Creative Common'. (Don't run away with any ideas that this is in any way a common, though. Bristol doesn't do commons). A (only slightly leaky) Big Top provided the venue.
First in were 200 invited businesses, to get a progress report on the Enterprise Zone's development and opportunies. The literature suggests they were subjected to a tidal wave of hype; I can't help wondering whether hard-headed businessmen are really vulnerable to this sort of thing, and if they are, what makes their judgement so much better than the rest of us can manage.
Then it was time for us plebs. We were treated instead to a sparky free display of entertaining skills much better suited to the venue. All credit to them, and the kids especially loved it. I gather that the Big Top is going to stay there through the summer, and maybe come back next season too.
But for us, there was little about what's going to happen in this key part of our city; just a few display boards mostly filled with artists' impressions of THE VISION. Those pictures were indeed visionary in much the same way as a dream is: they don't really hold together in the light of day, and raise many more questions than they answer.
One thing was clear, though. The display pictures, like the media hype beforehand, include NOTHING about the council's or the Enterprise Partnership's promise of a modern transport interchange – in fact the only indication of any 'onward' transport for arriving passengers was a BRT stop in the Friary. Here's one of the pics; make of it what you will.
It was mere chance, but immediately afterwards, a steam train pulled in to Temple Meads – headed by a locomotive that drew the crowds at the 1951 Festival of Britain - extending the general feeling of unreality
Then it was time to get the bus home.
No circuses here. Business as usual for the forseeable future.