Just a week ago, I took part in a momentous announcement which was live streamed across four social media networks.
Of course, I’m speaking about the news that Peterborough United will buy back the Abax Stadium from the Council.
The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two parties is a significant moment for the club and the city as a whole.
The MOU anticipates the sale to be finalised over the next six months and both the club and the council are committed to working together on this.
From a council perspective, I’m proud we were able to assist the club back in 2010 by buying the land surrounding the stadium to ensure its ownership stayed in the club which, in turn, secured the considerable contribution the club makes to the economy of the city.
The purchase unlocked the development of the area to create the Allia Future Business Centre where over 77 business have thrived. In addition the council has been able to secure one of the few zero carbon residential developments in the country on the Vista site as well as providing much needed affordable homes.
Now the club can move forward with developing the stadium as they look to gain promotion to the Championship.
I’m a Posh supporter myself and my wife Barbara and I went on our first date together at the ground just over 54 years ago, so the club means a lot to me and my family.
I’m sure this deal will help the club to make the progress that they and every single supporter so dearly desires as well as bringing new innovation to the area to support businesses, through the proposed Technology Accelerator – so all I can say is Up the Posh!!
This spring we announced we would be offering private landlords and empty home owners hassle-free rent by housing homeless families.
I’m pleased to say the scheme has been a massive success, with over 30 families now housed in this way across the city.
By acting as a guarantor for home owners, the council has been able to quickly increase its temporary accommodation stock and reduce costs spent on B&B style accommodation.
Home owners get the security that comes from having the council acting as a letting agency and the knowledge they are helping Peterborough families who have fallen on hard times.
Last week we launched a consultation on the second part of our budget for the next financial year, outlining how we plan to deliver savings against a severely challenging backdrop.
Continued reductions to the council’s revenue support grant from central government, inflation and huge demand pressures mean we are being asked to do much more, with much less money.
I know people have been astounded by the sums we currently spend on adult social care (£67.7 million) but that’s because the demand for this is rising due to an ageing population and protecting vulnerable people is a priority for us.
We make no bones about it, the challenges facing us are substantial.
A modern city relies on good infrastructure to keep it moving, and I don’t just mean roads, buildings and utilities like gas and electricity.
The rollout of Gigafast Broadband across Peterborough by CityFibre is now continuing at pace and is set to unlock huge economic growth in our city over the next 15 years.
Already over 140 kilometres of fibre optic cables have been installed and some of you reading will have already seen this happening on your own street.
Once complete, Vodafone is set to bring Gigafast Broadband (1000mbps) to most city residents by early 2019, making Peterborough the third Smart Gigabit city in the UK.