Following the landmark decision taken by our cabinet in December, we are on track to set up our first Local Authority Trading Company.
This signals a major new direction for delivering many council services and will be a ‘people’s company’ improving the services we provide for residents and businesses across the city.
We are now working with staff to deliver a new company that invests in them and the services we provide.
The transfer of services will follow a phased approach: First to launch is building cleaning, then passenger transport and waste and recycling collections in April. Finally, building maintenance, street cleansing and grounds maintenance in May.
This will help to manage the complexity and scale of the task which involves the transferring of 449 employees, and all the assets and vehicles associated with these services. It will ensure a smooth transfer and minimal disruption for residents. (more…)
There is an old saying that every great city is only that way because of the people who live there.
Well, Sunday’s Civic Remembrance service in the city centre demonstrated just how great the people of Peterborough truly are.
I’ve not seen Bridge Street so packed for a long time – there must have been thousands of people who came along to pay their respects.
This year’s event was especially poignant as not only did Remembrance Day fall on a Sunday but the occasion also marked 100 years since the signing of the Armistice which led to the end of the First World War.
We were anticipating big crowds and put up a giant TV screen in Cathedral Square so that people could watch the military parade along Bridge Street, wreath laying by the war memorial and two minute silence which was impeccably observed.
We also streamed live footage from the event on the council’s Facebook page and I’m informed that many people watched this online.
So I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who came along – you are a credit to our wonderful city.
I know that the servicemen and women who attended were deeply touched by the huge turnout and saw firsthand that the people of Peterborough will never forget those who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.
Christmas lights switch-on
With the clocks going back, temperatures dipping and being greeted by frozen car windscreens in the mornings, this week has certainly felt a lot like winter!
However, one of the best things about this time of year is the build up to Christmas beginning, which leads me nicely on to a big event coming up soon.
Our annual Christmas lights switch-on always attracts huge crowds to the city centre and I’m sure this year’s occasion will be no different.
The event takes place on Friday November 16 with a fun-filled lineup of entertainment from 4pm until 8pm which all the family can come and enjoy.
This is the first time it has been held on a Friday, so make a date in your diary and why not combine it with some Christmas shopping or a nice meal out?
The big switch-on is happening at 7.30pm when myself and the city Mayor will be joined by Father Christmas (how does he find the time right now?) to press the button.
Once the city centre is beautifully lit up, the evening will be rounded off with a burst of fireworks.
I was delighted to hear that this year’s A-Level results are above the national average for pupils achieving passes for the fourth year in a row.
With results received from all of the city’s 11 secondary schools who had students sitting A-Levels this year, the overall pass rate has remained above the national average at 98.2 per cent, with the national average standing at 97.6 per cent.
The proportion of students achieving higher grades has remained high, with 44.7 per cent of pupils in city schools achieving A* to B grades, sustaining last year’s improvement compared to 42.4 % in 2016.
So I would like to say a big well done to all pupils who collected their results and the their teachers. It’s an exciting time as A-levels open many doors, whether you are remaining in education, taking a training course or entering the world of work.
Nobody likes noisy neighbours and as a council we take any complaints of anti-social behaviour extremely seriously.
We will always look to take action where appropriate and last week our housing enforcement team successfully secured a court closure order which will see two homes in Lincoln Road closed for the next three months.
In this case, the nearby neighbours had had to put up with terrible behaviour by the tenants in the homes for quite some time.
Our officers were able to gather evidence to show the tenants were up to no good, with their illegal activities including drug use and prostitution.
This is the week that devolution started to produce real, tangible benefits for the city and our residents.
An important reason for backing a devolution deal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough was to establish an independent university in the city.
Well, one of the first major funding announcements from the Combined Authority is set to be £6.5million to accelerate the establishment of the University of Peterborough.
I believe a university is vital for the prosperity of the city for a number of reasons including creating opportunities for our young people and developing a better skilled workforce for employers. It will also create jobs and provide the most important boost to the local economy for a generation.
I must stress that to develop a renowned university that attracts students from across the UK to the city, and eventually from around the world, will take time.
I am proud of the way our city centre looks with many areas surrounding Cathedral Square having recently undergone upgrades and renovation.
With this inviting city centre it is important that we make it a place that everyone is able to enjoy, setting a good impression to residents and visitors alike, and this means ensuring any anti-social behaviour is at an absolute minimum.
This week we announced that an order to give our enforcement officers additional powers to deal with anti-social behaviour is likely to be implemented next month.
It will be an area for the SaferPeterborough Prevention and Enforcement Service team to take forward and the order will give officers the ability to issue a fixed penalty notice to perpetrators of unacceptable behaviour such as littering, begging and unauthorised cycling on Bridge Street.
Other offences under this Public Spaces Protection Order will include spitting, dangerous cycling and drinking in public and fines will be set at £80 with an early repayment option of £60.