Today sees the start of the second national lockdown as the government steps up its efforts to control the spread of Covid-19.
Cases have been steadily rising and by acting now, we can work to protect the NHS and hopefully enable everyone to celebrate Christmas with loved ones.
The new lockdown rules have been well publicised but I wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate what we all need to do to keep safe.
Please minimise the time spent outside your home and when around other people ensure social distancing – you need to be two metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble or one metre with extra precautions, such as face coverings.
I cannot emphasise how important this advice is and by following it we can fight back against the virus.
As a council we are going to continue to do all we can to support our residents and businesses during the lockdown.
Our community hub has provided vital help for vulnerable people and will continue to be there for those in need.
Our Covid marshals, which we successfully bid for government funding for, will continue to patrol hotspot areas of the city, making people and businesses aware of the lockdown guidelines and keeping communities safe.
As ever you can rest assured that we will continue to work hard to keep you safe and to keep the city moving forward.
Key council services during lockdown
Since the lockdown was announced, we have been working to finalise arrangements for all of our key services.
In line with national guidance, our schools and colleges will remain open to all students, with support services continuing.
All our schools have protective measures in place to minimise the risk of the spread of Covid-19 and have a robust contact tracing process in place.
We will continue to work closely with our schools to monitor cases and will support schools in making appropriate decisions.
Our refuse and recycling collections will continue as normal and I’d like to thank our ‘heroes in high vis jackets’ for their sterling work.
You’ll be pleased to hear that our Household Recycling Centre in Fengate will stay open between 8am and 4pm each day. Our bulky waste collection service will continue too, although face to face quotes will stop.
The council’s register office is also staying open to deal with birth and death registrations, as well as notices of marriage / civil partnership.
However, marriage and civil partnership ceremonies booked for 5 November to 2 December can not take place and staff will be in touch with couples affected.
Funerals can continue for up to 30 people, with social distancing measures in place.
Please stay home this bonfire night
This weekend would normally see families coming together to light bonfires and watch fireworks brighten up the night sky.
Sadly the pandemic has affected many events and in line with the latest guidance we would encourage people to stay at home and help prevent spreading the virus.
Our colleagues in the emergency services are also advising people to think twice before having their own fireworks displays and bonfires in back gardens.
Not only do these present risks for residents and our fire crews, but with the pandemic ongoing we all have a responsibility to avoid putting unnecessary strain on emergency services.
Remembrance Sunday is taking place this weekend and whilst we can not hold a full public event, we will be screening a virtual ceremony on the council’s Facebook page from 10.57am, so please if you can, tune in for a poignant occasion.
Planning application for two new schools greenlit
One of the key challenges facing our education team is providing sufficient school places as the city’s population continues to grow.
On that note we’ve had some great news this week, with a planning application for two new schools at Paston Reserve getting the green light.
Construction on Manor Drive primary and secondary schools is due to begin in February 2021. The schools will provide 420 primary places, 26 nursery places and 900 secondary places.
I look forward to seeing the schools constructed, they will be huge assets for Paston and the city as a whole.
Peterborough ranked ‘top highways authority for public satisfaction’
Our highways teams does a sterling job and this has been evidenced by the council being ranked as the top highways authority in the country for public satisfaction in a national survey.
The council once again scored highly in the annual National Highways and Transport (NHT) survey, which asks residents for their views on highway and transport services carried out by local authorities.
This is testament to the hard work and dedication of our highways and transport teams who help ensure that residents, commuters, visitors and businesses can travel swiftly and safely across our city, so a big well done to all.
Hampton: the birth of a community
Finally, looking back through last week’s PT I saw an aerial photograph from 1996 of the start of the Hampton development.
Seeing the area as undeveloped open fields took me back to my days as Mayor, when I had the honour of cutting the first sod there.
I’m proud of the fact that Hampton has developed into a thriving attractive community, which continues to grow.