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Gloucester City Council leader Paul James on Hugh Grant, Peppa Pig and his beloved city

All Areas > Entertainment > Local Answers, Local Personalities

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Friday, 30th November 2018, 11:00

Paul James has been Leader of the Council for over a decade Paul James has been Leader of the Council for over a decade

Paul James is Gloucester born and bred and has been a City Councillor for over 20 years.

He is a well-known face in Gloucester and, as Leader of the Council since 2007, has been heavily involved in the regeneration of the city. The Local Answer caught up with Paul to find out about his interests outside of the office.

What do you enjoy most about your role in Gloucestershire?

“I enjoy the variety – no two days are the same. Like any job it’s a mixture of satisfaction and frustration, but what I enjoy most is being able to make a positive difference in the city where I was born.”

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

“I don’t get too much spare time with two young children! But when I do I enjoy watching Gloucester Rugby and don’t miss many home matches. I also enjoy running, although I don’t do it as often as I’d like anymore.”

What’s your favourite place to visit in Gloucestershire?

“Gloucester Cathedral is very special to me as it’s where I was married and also where my children were baptised, it’s played a big part in my life. As a county, we’ve got so much diversity in terms of city and countryside. I like going up Crickley Hill with my family, and also visiting stately homes like Sudeley Castle.”

What’s your favourite place to eat in Gloucestershire?

“I like to try lots of different places when I go out to eat. I go to the Fountain Inn on Westgate Street fairly regularly at lunchtime, and in the evening I like to go to The King Teddy in Longlevens with the family.”

Do you support any local sports teams?

“I’m definitely more of a rugby man but I do keep an eye on Gloucester City Football Club. I’m keen to see them back as they’ve been out of the city since 2007.”

What do you miss about Gloucestershire when you’re away?

“The friendliness of the people in the city. Often when I’m walking around Gloucester I’ll see someone I know but even people you don’t know are happy to chat. There’s a real intimacy in Gloucester that you don't find in bigger cities.”

Are you a film or a book person?

“Probably more of a book person, but I should probably read more often than I do.”

What’s your favourite book?

“I found Roy Jenkins’ biography of Winston Churchill very interesting. I’m currently reading ‘Fire and Fury’, which is about Donald Trump. It’s fascinating trying to understand how his mind works as it’s a mystery to many.”

What’s your favourite film?

“I like an easy to watch, relaxing film. One that I’ve seen lots of times and will go back to is ‘Love Actually’. Back when my hair had colour some people used to say I had a bit of Hugh Grant about me. Not so much now though!”

Do you have any pets?

“No but my mother in law has a cat, a tortoise and fish and my children treat them as their own!”

Do you ever attend any shows in Gloucestershire?

“My mum is a keen amateur actor with the St John’s players in Churchdown so we like to go and see their productions. However, I think the last show I saw was with my children and that was Peppa Pig live!”

What achievement are you most proud of?

“I’m very proud of the regeneration of Gloucester. It’s been a team effort and there’s still more to do but it’s been good to play a part in it. Also I was involved in bringing the Rugby World Cup to Gloucester from the start of the process to the end. That’s something I’ll look back on with pride.”

What made you want to get into local politics?

“I just wanted to help my city that I was born in. I never intended to be leader of the council but it’s a job I’ve enjoyed and it’s been a huge privilege.”

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