Fakes send out serious message
Peterborough has hit the national headlines not once, but twice this week. The Sun and The Mirror picked up on a story which you might have seen in this paper last week about 1,000 imported teddy bears which were destroyed by our Trading Standards team.
While they looked nice and cuddly, the eyes and noses on the teddy bears were badly designed and could easily fall off, creating a choking hazard for babies and young children.
On Monday, our city made the national headlines again, this time for taking part in a postal and proxy voting pilot for the local elections in May 2019.
You might remember, Peterborough was part of a similar pilot last year which lead to a 47 per cent reduction in postal vote rejection rates.
It will focus on the importance of individuals completing their postal vote themselves and requiring anybody who has been appointed as a proxy to vote on someone else’s behalf to supply photographic ID at the polling station.
We take the issue of election fraud extremely seriously and are committed to ensuring that all elections are fair processes.
St Michael’s Gate updates
Next week, officers will be reporting back to St Michael’s Gate residents on the actions taken over the last month.
St Michael’s Gate opened as a temporary accommodation for homeless families in November 2016 and currently has 78 units full. Since it opened, 189 households have passed through these front doors. That’s 189 homeless households who were given a home of their own in Peterborough, instead of B&B style accommodation either in the city or potentially, out of the area.
For many households, including families with young children, this security at a time when they were at their most vulnerable was welcomed.
However, we recognise that residents have some concerns and we are listening and acting on what they have told us.
Since the last meeting our Environmental Health housing enforcement officers have inspected every property. All have been found to be safe, and a list of minor repairs needed have been passed to Stef & Philips for action.
In addition, all households have been met by our housing needs officers and given up to date information about their housing applications and the process of securing permanent housing.
To address complaints about heating, we’re now looking into the possibility of getting mains gas installed into each property. In the meantime, we’ve arranged for every household to be given energy efficiency advice and help to switch energy supplier if this means they can get a better deal.
Weekly surgeries have been set up on site and an emergency contact number has been given to residents, so they can get in touch with us quickly if they have any urgent concerns.
We’ve also met with the headteacher at the local school and will be working with the school closely in future to make sure the children at St Michael’s Gate get the best possible support. Kingsgate Community Church will also be assisting us in creating additional out-of-school and youth activities.
We hope that at the next meeting on Monday, residents will see we are taking action.
Travellers moved on from Walton Park
You may have read last week about a group of travellers who were fined in court after failing to move on from Walton Park earlier this year.
Although this particular case was dealt with by the police, the council has a number of powers that we can use to move travellers on in certain circumstances, which are set out by national legislation.
Three of our councillors, John Fox, Gavin Elsey and Irene Walsh, met recently with Lord Bourne, the government’s Under-Secretary of State for Communities to discuss the issue.
I’m glad that our concerns have reached those at the very top.
Armistice 100 event
Don’t forget that the city’s Civic Armistice and Remembrance event marking exactly 100 years since the end of World War One takes place on Sunday.
Meanwhile, a special Remembrance Day tree planting event is being held in Nabs Lane on Sunday by the PECT team. If you want to volunteer for this, follow this link.