Peterborough’s post-election priorities

Last week’s local elections saw the Conservative Party remain as the largest overall party on the council.

I would like to say a big thank you to those who voted and everybody involved in the organisation of the elections.

The council’s elections team has worked tirelessly in recent weeks and they were helped by hundreds of dedicated folk who staffed polling stations and counted votes on the night, so a big well done to you all.

Our focus now turns to the year ahead and delivering the services that residents told us were important to them when we were knocking on doors in the run up to the elections.

election count

Top of our agenda will be those residents who need our help the most – so keeping children and young people safe and allowing them to reach their potential and supporting adults and older people who need our help to remain living independent and happy lives.

We will continue to work closely with our schools to support them to attract good quality teachers and raise attainment levels. Plans for a university continue to progress and within a year I would expect to see planning permission in place for the university campus building on the embankment.

People who are in housing difficulty remain our priority and we will be working with them to prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place and where this is not possible, supporting them to find suitable accommodation. We will also continue to support new house building projects so that we have a good supply of housing of all tenures coming forward to meet the needs of our growing city.

I know that the cleanliness of the city is a priority for our residents and that’s why we launched our own trading company to provide waste collection, street cleansing and other services. Doing so has given us more control over the way these services are provided.

We will continue to invest in our roads and cycleways, particularly in areas of the city where we are experiencing high levels of growth, so that people can continue to travel around our city with ease.

I also want us to work more closely with our residents so that they can help us to improve our communities. We are seeing good examples of this across the city, such as the Good Neighbours Scheme in Castor which supports the elderly. I believe we can help encourage many more initiatives like this, therefore putting our communities at the heart of everything we do.

There is much work to be done over the next 12 months to ensure we can continue providing the services that our residents need, against a backdrop of ever decreasing government funding and the need to make millions of pounds of savings.

As the largest party on the council, with support from our fellow opposition members, I believe that we can meet the challenge. (more…)

Now to tackle root cause of problem

On Monday evening it’s our annual full council meeting at the town hall and as usual this will be a significant event.

Not only will we be confirming new appointments, including a new Cabinet member and Mayor, but I’m going to be outlining some exciting new policies which we’ve been busy putting together.

Whilst we were out canvassing ahead of the elections one of the major issues that kept cropping up on the doorsteps was fly-tipping and more specifically what the council is doing to tackle it.

Fly-tipping is a nationwide problem, it happens for a multitude of reasons and it is difficult to tackle as many authorities, not just ourselves, are finding out.

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Christmas lights switch-on marks the start of the festive season

Saturday signals the beginning of the festive season in Peterborough with our Christmas lights switch-on taking place.

It’s always a great event and a real treat to see the faces of the children on Cathedral Square when Father Christmas appears on stage and the lights are switched on.

This year’s event will be our biggest yet because we’ve teamed up with Queensgate so that both switch-ons take place on the same night. The city centre lights will be turned on at 5pm with the build-up starting from 1pm with a line-up of local acts to get everyone in the Christmas spirit on the square.

Proceedings will then move to Queensgate for the centre’s festive celebrations. Starting at 5.30pm, crowds can expect plenty of entertainment including the official opening of Father Christmas’ grotto and the switch-on at around 7pm.  

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Council publishes first phase budget proposals

If you’d told me ten years ago that the money we get from government to provide services for our residents would be cut in half I’d have laughed at you.

Surely rising birth rates, people living longer and the inevitable greater pressure these factors place on our services would mean that our funding would go up and not down.

In an ideal world yes, but the reality is that in the past six years we’ve seen our government funding cut by £54million, which equates to nearly 50 per cent of our grant.   

Last Friday we published our first phase budget proposals which detail how we will close a £19million gap in our budget in 2017/18. Once again we’re ensuring that services for our most vulnerable residents are protected.

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