A Speakers’ Corner for Douglas town centre is under consideration after Peter Bradley, director of UK charity the Speakers’ Corners Trust, gave a presentation to members of Douglas Borough Council and Douglas Development Partnership.
Mr Bradley explained that Speakers’ Corners projects had been launched in towns and cities across England to serve as a forum for public debate, exchange of ideas and expression of free speech.
Following the presentation the Council’s Regeneration and Community Advisory Committee has tasked Douglas Development Partnership’s manager Chris Pycroft with seeking the views of organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors to assess the level of interest in such a project for Douglas.
Mr Pycroft said: ‘Much has been made of the physical aspects of town centre regeneration – new paving surfaces, street furniture and lighting installations, for example – but the social and cultural regeneration of the town is equally important and in this a Speakers’ Corner has the potential to play a central role.
‘Establishing such a site could provide a wealth of opportunities for a broad cross section of the island’s community to become involved and have their say in the heart of the capital. And from a wider perspective, a Speakers’ Corner has the power to encourage active citizenship.’
Mr Pycroft went on to say that should there be an appetite for a Speaker’s Corner, an independent committee could be established made up of representatives from the Island’s public, private and voluntary sectors to draw up a code of conduct, promote the project’s objectives and develop a programme of events.
He concluded: ‘We’ve made great strides over the last few years in bringing a sense of vibrancy and energy to the town centre with all kinds of different events and street performers. While not strictly “street theatre” a Speakers’ Corner – that bastion of free public speech – can be an absorbing and thought-provoking activity to witness.’
If you or an organisation to which you belong are interested in finding out more about the proposal, please contact Chris Pycroft, email@example.com or telephone 696305. You can also follow Douglas Town Centre Management on Facebook.
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