Barb's Wire with Cheltenham borough councillor Barbara Driver: What does the future hold?
NEXT year it will be 100 years since the start of the First World War and the world has changed so much since then and Cheltenham with it.
I had an interesting discussion with friends over a glass of wine on what the future years will bring. I would love to think war would be in the distant past but then I have to be realistic.
Where will people be living? In space, underground or where, as the population continues to grow. How will we be travelling round? Already we have cars that drive themselves while passengers sit back reading a book and enjoying the ride. Robots now can do some of the housework and are taking over in the workplace. What will the workplace look like and indeed what will those jobs be?
The Famous closing down brought the conversation back to Cheltenham and the result of our change in shopping habits. I have to say a big "thank you'' to those people who served in and ran The Famous. Not only could you rely on high-quality goods, those serving were polite and helpful while not blasting you out with music from the time you walked through the door. Will the High Street as we know it disappear as people shop online more? Indeed, will it still be shopping online?
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It is sad to see pubs close down, as they have been the community hub, a meeting place and unique to the UK. In the local you could find the same person sitting in the same seat on the same day every week. But here again leisure styles are changing with wine bars and coffee shops taking over.
As change is happening so quickly, are some of the things being planned for Cheltenham today going to be out of date too soon? The rules in planning 'change of use' need to be looked at as the need for housing increases and business needs are changing, which in turn influences where they want to relocate to and how.
This all makes for an interesting discussion as to where Cheltenham is heading. We have to listen to what young people think, while considering and learning from the past.