As regular readers will be aware, I take great pride in the recent development of our city and our ambitious regeneration plans which will ensure we continue to grow bigger and better.
We are one of the fastest growing cities in the country – ample proof that Peterborough is a place people want to come to live and work in.
Our rapid growth presents challenges, arguably the biggest of which is ensuring enough homes are being built to cope with demand.
I’m pleased to say that the number of new homes built in Peterborough in the past year has exceeded the targets we set ourselves.
In total 1,145 new homes were built in the city between April 2019 and March 2020, well above our local plan target of 942.
Delivering good quality housing is key to our vision for making Peterborough an even better place for us all to live, work and relax.
It also reinforces the confidence we and others have in our city and will go a long way in attracting increased investment from developers, retailers and the government.
This comes alongside the regeneration of Fletton Quays, the multi-million redevelopment of Queensgate Shopping Centre including a multi-screen Empire Cinema and plans for a new university in 2022 to boost the economic prosperity of our young.
As I always say, Peterborough’s time is now and there so much for us to look forward to.
Council grants support local businesses
Another source of personal pride is the help that our council has given local businesses since the outbreak of the pandemic.
We recognise that things are tough and during the last lockdown provided £32 million in business grants for local firms.
We are now ready to lend a helping hand to businesses which have had to close due to the lockdown restrictions, by offering grants of up to £3,000 a month.
Many types of business can apply for these grants, including all non-essential retail stores, indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, entertainment venues and personal care firms.
Interested businesses will need to complete a form as part of their application, which will be made available on our website.
We are always keen to engage with local companies and on that note, city MP Paul Bristow teamed up with Opportunity Peterborough to hold a virtual conference with business leaders last week to discuss the current challenges they face.
It was a constructive discussion and rest assured we will continue to do all we can to help.
Council tax support and isolation payments available
As well as supporting businesses, we are also working to help households who are having financial difficulty.
We’d like to remind residents of the two main areas of support that are available to them.
Test and Trace Isolation payments – individuals who have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace may be eligible for a one-off £500 payment. Further information here: https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/healthcare/public-health/coronavirus/self-isolation-payment
Council Tax Support Scheme – This can help towards council tax costs for those on a low income, including those in work. For further details see: www.peterborough.gov.uk/benefits.
I would also add that anyone at risk of becoming homeless should contact our Housing Needs team as soon as possible on 01733 865064 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please continue to follow 2nd lockdown guidance
The news that a Coronavirus vaccine is being developed has given everyone a lift.
Clearly there is still a way to go before this is ready to use, so I want to reiterate the vital need for people to continue to follow national guidance.
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
Virus cases are continuing to rise and we all have a part to play in controlling the spread.
The current lockdown ends on 2 December with a return to the tier system, so by acting now we can work towards returning to a low tier and hopefully ensure we can all spend Christmas with loved ones.
As ever you can rest assured that we will continue to work hard to keep you safe and to keep the city moving forward.
Hub offers help over Christmas period
With Christmas around the corner, we are keen to make those in need of help aware of a vital service that the council and several partners continues to run.
The Peterborough Co-ordination Hub has been supporting people since the pandemic hit in March – particularly those who don’t have a network of friends, family and neighbours to call upon.
The hub can provide lots of different help including access to food banks or food parcels, support with accessing medicines, befriending services and much more.
It has been a really tough year for many people and we know that Christmas will only add to the pressure, so please don’t struggle in silence.
People who need help and support should get in touch with the Peterborough Coordination Hub by visiting www.peterborough.gov.uk or by calling 01733 747474. The hub is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Organisations offering help city-wide can also be found on the Peterborough Information Network.