Peterborough’s people’s company is progressing 

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.

bin lorry

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…)

Free bulky waste trial set to be launched across the city

As leader of the council, it’s my role to listen to what residents want and where possible, to deliver initiatives that will benefit us all.

So, it was a pleasure last week to be able to announce a trial for free bulky waste collections around the city.

The three-month trial will begin later this autumn and during this period every home will be entitled to one free residential bulky waste collection of up to ten items free of charge.

It’s being launched in direct response to public concern about fly-tipping around the city. Households will be able to book a collection to be picked up by the council and disposed of to prevent it from becoming an eyesore on our streets.

Fly-tipping is a particular bug bear of mine, as it immediately detracts from the positive look and feel of an area, as well as causing a potential fire risk for nearby residents.

Flytipping in the street

More information on the trial, including the start date, will be issued in the coming weeks so stay tuned.

Running alongside the trial will be a scheme where households can take additional waste to large freighter lorries positioned at different sites around the city.

These collections will be advertised locally and I hope that both initiatives will have a positive impact in keeping our streets clean and improving the environment of the areas in which we live.


Working with police and fire service to tackle anti-social behaviour

If you’re a regular reader of this blog then you’ll know I am incredibly proud of how our city is evolving.

We have new shops and restaurants opening in our city centre, development is springing up across the wider city creating housing, retail and leisure opportunities and we have lots of new businesses creating jobs for residents.

All of this is helping position Peterborough as a desirable place to live, visit and do business, but equally important is making sure our city is clean, tidy and attractive.

This is why we launched our prevention and enforcement service in April, to tackle issues such as littering, flytipping, illegal parking and other forms of anti-social behaviour that impact on how the city looks and feels.

The new team sees council, police, fire and private sector staff working in one team, sharing powers and information. The idea is that together they can offer a quicker, more visible response to the issues that you have told us matter to you and impact on your quality of life.

Already the team is seeing some fantastic results and so far officers have dealt with 675 incidents of flytipping, evicted 12 unauthorised traveller encampments and tackled 315 cases of anti-social behaviour. They’ve also arranged the removal of 131 abandoned vehicles, cleared 264 rubbish accumulations and issued 2,103 parking penalty charge notices.

These figures are impressive and illustrate that by working together with our partners we are a stronger force.


Let’s have a fully informed debate about devolution

I wrote last week about devolution, and have been reflecting on my comments – particularly as some councils and councillors have become distracted by the notion of a directly elected Mayor,  rather than whether the offer presents a good deal for the city.

You might remember the Regional Development Agencies, set up under Labour, that were later abolished by the coalition government. Those agencies had no democratic control, and appointments were made by government to key roles within them, including Chairman. Many of the Councillors now complaining about a directly elected Mayor also complained about the lack of democracy in those agencies.

In the current scenario, a Mayor of a Combined Authority would be elected by residents in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. This Council keeps its sovereignty intact and has to consent to any of its powers being given to the Mayor. In the government’s offer, most of the Mayor’s proposed powers will come from government, as the term devolution implies.

Some have called for an extraordinary meeting. That is in the hands of the Mayor and our legal officer, as proper advice must be sought on whether a meeting can be held during the pre-election period known as purdah.

My plea is this. Let’s have a proper and fully informed debate about the offer from government, based on the facts.  Even more importantly, let’s allow Peterborough residents, business and all other vital Peterborough organisations to be consulted and have a say on whether or not this offer is right for the city.