CREATING more high quality jobs, celebrating the Faithful City’s history and heritage and bringing Worcester City FC home.
Those are the among the aims of Worcester City Council’s new leader Coun Marc Bayliss who was elected to the post at a meeting last Tuesday (February 23).
The 42-year-old described his new role as a ‘great honour,’ having previously served as deputy leader for the past three years.
“I am very proud to have been elected as leader and I will work hard for the benefit of our great city and the people who live and work here,” he said.
“It is a great honour to be given this vote of confidence by my fellow councillors and to have the opportunity to build on the excellent work of my predecessor, Simon Geraghty.”
Coun Bayliss, who was born in Redditch, moved to Worcester more than 20 years ago. An economist by profession, he has run his own business, Worcester Research, since 2003.
Married with two children and two step-children, Coun Bayliss has spent 11 years as a city councillor and was returned as the local member for Bedwardine in May by more than 1,000 votes.
Fresh from his elevation to leader of the authority, Coun Bayliss spoke at the Guildhall to set out his vision for the city, with one key theme being creating better paid and higher quality jobs by attracting more businesses to the city.
“We need to make sure the right sites are available and hold out for the right employers,” he said.
“Sanctuary has its headquarters here, when you look at a company like that you don’t necessarily immediately think Worcester would be where their HQ is based.
“I was told they came here because senior managers at Sanctuary felt Worcester was a nice place to work, with the quality of our environment.
“There’s a fantastic quality of life here and I’d like to trade on that more when people are making investment decisions about where to locate.
The new council leader also has ambitious plans to get the city’s rich history internationally recognised, describing it as ‘the unique selling point’ of Worcester.
“We are blessed with such an abundance of history. A king buried in the Cathedral; how many cities can say that outside of London, the first and last battles of the English Civil War and the visit of two US Presidents to Fort Royal- Adams and Jefferson,” Coun Bayliss said.
“These are huge events and activities that Worcester has played apart in and I’m really keen that we make more of it for the future and that we celebrate it and benefit from it.
“I think the Civil War and our stories around that are one of our greatest differentiators and one of the things that we should be nationally and internationally recognised for.
In the spirit of coming together to celebrate the city, Coun Bayliss is also keen to work across the political divide.
The Conservative and Labour groups at the Guildhall can often replicate what we see in the House of Commons, but Coun Bayliss has said he will work with anyone to solve problems in the city.
“I don’t want an argument for arguments sake,” he said.
“I think politics has in this city at times been too partisan; nobody has attempted to reach across the aisle.
“I will continue to disagree with Labour on many things, but where there are sensible opportunities to agree, I won’t seek to make artificial divides between parties.
“Let’s agree on things we can agree on and let’s argue and debate those things on which we disagree.
The City Council leader also revealed council officers are scanning a number of sites across the city to find land to be able to bring Worcester City FC home- something Coun Bayliss wants to achieve during his leadership.
“We have done a scan of other potentials because, as I pointed out last night on the Perdiswell site, no formal decision has ever been put before any decision making body in this council,” Coun Bayliss said.
“Clearly there is a planning application for Perdiswell and I don’t want to pre-judge that. But you’d have to be deaf to not hear the local concerns about it from residents in the Perdiswell area.
“So I think it’s prudent to look at other options in the city because the most important thing is for Worcester City to come home.”
“It is one of my early pledges, one of my early ambitions, to find a suitable home that is good for the club and is good for the people of Worcester as well and I think those are completely compatible,” he added.