#KeepCaring this Bank Holiday weekend

It may surprise you to learn that late August is one of my favourite times of year.

Normally the Peterborough Beer Festival would be in full swing and despite the fact that the nights are slowly but surely drawing in, there’s the last bank holiday of the year before Christmas to look forward to.

The weather’s been a bit wet and wild lately so I hope things improve for this weekend and everyone can get out and enjoy themselves. But it goes without saying that this year has been unlike any other and as such we ask you to please take care out and about.

Coronavirus hasn’t gone away and that’s why we’re urging everyone to keep caring for their communities by sticking to the rules around social distancing this Bank Holiday weekend.

By remaining aware and alert we can help reduce the risk of infection by taking some well-known simple steps to stop the virus in its tracks.

These steps include keeping two metres distant from anyone not in your own household, making sure to wear a face covering in public places, washing hands thoroughly, and more often and that everyone in a household isolates if someone in the home has symptoms until they’ve taken a test and the results are known.

Bank Holiday infographic

So if you’re meeting friends or family outside, please remember to keep to groups of no more than six people from different households, and try to keep two metres apart.

Don’t forget that Coronavirus tests are available via phone by calling 111 or can be ordered free online from the NHS website. There are also drive-in testing places available across Peterborough. (more…)

Plans for new library and culture hub announced for city centre

Last week I told you about the funding bid we had made to the Government as part of the Towns Fund to further transform our city.

The development of our cultural infrastructure is a key part of our bid for up to £25million from the Fund and I can now tell you about one of the projects that we hope it will be able to support.

The council has announced its intention this week to purchase the TK Maxx and former New Look buildings in Bridge Street to be able to transform them into a new city centre library and multi-purpose hub.

The hub would include community facilities, meeting rooms, rehearsal rooms and studios, space for independent businesses such as a community café, together with access to facilities for community learning and education.

New library

It would be a fantastic addition to this part of the city – close to the new university campus and Fletton Quays – allowing us to equip even more residents with the skills they need to secure employment and get on in life. It will also ensure the units don’t remain vacant when TK Maxx moves its store into Queensgate next year.

We’re looking to purchase the buildings for just under £4million, plus stamp duty and land tax, and contribute up to £5million towards conversion and refurbishment costs, although we expect part of these costs to be met following confirmation of our Towns Fund award.

In addition, we’ll be able to make money out of the project, including commercial income from the second and third floors of the building and the former New Look shop. We’ll also be looking to sell the existing Central Library site and Chauffeurs Cottage to developers to generate an income for the council.

This is a really exciting project for our city, which will breathe new life into Bridge Street and create fantastic opportunities for our residents. And if our Towns Fund application is approved in full, it will be the first of many exciting developments to come!

We have a vision for Peterborough and yet again we are seeing that vision become a reality.

You can rest assured the council will continue to work hard to keep services going, its residents safe and well and to keep the city moving.

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Progress for Peterborough University

In the past few months our unwavering focus has been on helping people who have needed our support through the most testing of times.

Whether it’s adult social care supporting residents in their own home, the countywide and city coordination hubs helping hundreds of people across the city who are shielding or vulnerable, refuse crews who have worked tirelessly to ensure our bins were emptied regularly or bereavement staff who have continued to support families who have lost a loved one – they, and many others, have all played their part alongside colleagues in the NHS and other sectors.

In the background we have also continued to press ahead with the many projects that will ensure our city can recover from the coronavirus. It is vital for our residents and our businesses that we do, so that Peterborough continues to prosper, improve and grow at the rate it was pre-COVID.

One of those projects is the delivery of a dedicated university for Peterborough, which took another big step forward this week with the submission of the planning application for the Wirrina car park site, off Bishop’s Road.

In a double boost, the Government has agreed to fund 90 per cent of the £13.5 million research super hub from its local growth programme. I’ll be able to tell you more about this in the coming weeks, but it is a key element of our new university which will set us apart from many others.

It has been a great few weeks for the university with Anglia Ruskin announced last month as our higher education partner to deliver the curriculum and manage the university.

Plans really are progressing and it won’t be long before we see the first students walk through the doors in just two years’ time.

A R U site

A dedicated university for Peterborough will see huge improvement in the opportunities available to our residents, the success of our businesses, and on informing external perceptions of Peterborough as we progress from a small to a medium sized city and one which will become an even more attractive place to live, work and set up business.

I can assure you we will do everything in our power to ensure that our new university is a real success and grows to become a vital part of the fabric of our city. We are already a city with a beautiful cathedral and our new university on a green attractive riverside, parkland, campus will help cement and enhance our reputation.

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