This month my Cabinet colleagues and I will be asked to approve the council’s first commercial strategy.
It doesn’t sound the most exciting document I admit, but it’s actually very important as it sets out how we’ll further generate income by selling our services, investing and operating more like a business.
With our government funding only going one way, we couldn’t deliver a balanced budget and provide the services our residents rely upon without generating the income we do.
Last year we made £72million through investments, sharing of services, providing services for other organisations, property rental and fees and charges.
For example, we generated £2.7million by selling the energy produced by our energy from waste plant and our commercial property portfolio which is worth £21million generates an annual income of around £3million – that’s a 14 per cent return.
We share our planning and trading standards departments with other councils, bringing in £4million annually and our £15million loan to Propiteer Hotels Ltd for the building of the new Hilton hotel at Fletton Quays will make us £500,000.
Our sharing of services with Cambridgeshire County Council, in particular the chief executive and her senior leadership team, has delivered sizeable savings.
I could go on, but these are just a few of the ways we’re generating income and working in a more commercial way to be able to provide the services you need, despite an 80 per cent cut in our government funding.
And with that funding due to decrease even further in years to come, we have got to find more ways of generating our own income. Our commercial strategy will help us to do that. (more…)
It’s hard to believe that Christmas is now less than two weeks away, but then again 2018 has flown by at some pace.
If like me you leave your Christmas shopping until the last minute, then I’m sure the next few days will be busy as you prepare for the big day.
Please do be aware, however, that over the Christmas and New Year period, our council offices will be closing their doors.
Our main offices, including Sand Martin House, Bayard Place and the Town Hall will be closed from noon on Monday 24 December until Wednesday 2 January 2019, with no face-to-face services available.
However, the council’s call centre will open from Thursday 27 December to Monday 31 December between the hours of 9am and 5pm and there will also be support in place for key services.
Our office buildings and call centre will open as usual on January 2.
The other key change to remember is that black and green bin collection days alter between Christmas and New Year. Full details about office closures and bin collection changes available here. (more…)
Keeping the city’s roads in tip top condition is an utmost priority for our highways team and they do a sterling job all year round.
Thanks to their hard work, the council has been ranked as the top highway and transport authority in the eastern region for the second year in a row.
The authority scored highly in the 2018 National Highways and Transport (NHT) survey which asked residents across the country for their views on highway and transport services.
The NHT conducts the survey each year to determine public satisfaction on service delivered by local authorities.
Peterborough City Council was ranked as the best highway authority in the eastern region and nationally, was ranked 27th out of 112 highway authorities.
At national level PCC was given a 55 per cent satisfaction score, with the average being 53 per cent.
I would like to say a big well done to the team and I know that they will continue to ensure that the city’s roads are in the best possible condition. (more…)
This week we received three sizeable pots of money from Central Government.
Our bid for £1million to become an Integrated Pilot Area was successful. It will boost opportunities for young people, improve opportunities for work and continue to develop community cohesion.
We’ve also received £1.5million of funding to improve our roads after last year’s bashing from the ‘Beast from the East’.
Lastly, we’ve teamed up with eight local authorities and AgilityEco to secure £6.5million to install central heating for the first time in up to 1,500 homes, including those at St Michael’s Gate.
Not bad for just a week, let’s hope next week is the same!
It has taken a few months to complete, but I am delighted to say that the new junction in Bourges Boulevard is now finished.
The junction is making it easier for motorists to access the London North Eastern Railway (LNER) car park close to Peterborough railway station, which is heavily used by rail commuters.
Not only that but a new pedestrian crossing which has been installed as part of the work is improving access to and from the city centre.
I went to have a look earlier this week and must say I’m very impressed with the finished work.
Construction got under way back in February and has seen ramped access to the car park created, as well as a right turn lane and carriageway re-surfacing.
The news that our Children’s Services department has been rated as ‘Good’ by Ofsted inspectors comes as music to my ears.
The latest rating, following a three week inspection last month, represents significant progress on its previous ranking in 2015 when it was deemed to be ‘requiring improvement’.
The inspectors said services for children who need help and protection, children in care and those leaving care was good, that leadership was good and they gave an overall rating of good for the effectiveness of children’s services.
They also praised the ‘stable and effective senior leadership team which has driven improvement at pace,’ with a ‘strong learning culture’.
Last week saw temperatures take a plunge and our city was blanketed in a thick layer of snow for the first time in a long while.
Whilst snowy scenery always looks picturesque and gives youngsters a chance to get creative, the conditions often end up causing people problems, especially when it comes to travelling.
Our highways and gritting teams stepped up to the challenge, with the gritters covering a total of 4,818 kilometres, equating to 46 per cent of our road network and using over 400 tonnes of rock salt.
One topic that caused a lot of conversation in Peterborough recently was a plan for an ‘urban beach’ as part of the Fletton Quays development.
The story gathered plenty of reaction after being picked up by the local media, perhaps understandably given I’m pretty sure the words Peterborough and beach have never been mentioned in the same sentence before!
To make it clear, should this proposal for an ‘urban beach’ go ahead it would be funded by Weston Homes, the company behind the build of the apartments at Fletton Quays, and not the city council – as people may have been initially led to believe.
You may have seen in the news this week, that the viability of a rapid transport system in Peterborough is going to be considered.
Last week the board of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority agreed to start work on a report to look in to the possibility of a new metro system in Cambridge.
At this stage all we will be doing is taking into account a number of factors, such as improving connections from one area of the city to another, and considering whether this system could potentially work in Peterborough.
It’s far too early for anyone to say what the outcome will be, but I think it is only right that we consider what sort of transport systems the city may need in years to come.
Last week residents attended a public meeting to discuss our detailed plans for much-needed work on junction 18 of the A47/A15 – including the replacement of the footbridges with pedestrian crossings.
I attended a meeting for councillors and key stakeholders the week before and saw the state that the bridge is in and the plans for the proposed works. I’ve also had a number of conversations with people and have listened to what the public have said.
The proposed scheme was scrutinised and agreed by Council as part of the Local Transport Plan which was adopted last year.
Subsequently, a £5.5million budget for these works, including the removal of bridges, was agreed as part of the 2017/18 budget by Council in March.