Hangover from election night

John Holdich
John Holdich

When you’ve been a councillor for as long as I have, there are few things in the world of politics that shock you.

Even though I wasn’t surprised by last week’s election results, it’s fair to say it has caused me a few headaches.

No doubt the same can be said for our Prime Minister!

Losing the East ward by-election means the Conservatives do not have a majority on the Council.

We still have more seats than any other party, but collectively all those other members added together outnumber my group by one.

This means that there will have to be a special meeting of the council next Tuesday, called an extraordinary meeting because it’s outside of the usual schedule.

This will be to discuss the number of councillors from each political party that sit on our committees, so that they are proportionate to the balance of councillors.

As I said in my speech to annual council last month, I want to do all of this working collaboratively across the council with all political groups.

This is something I have done throughout my political career and something that comes naturally to me to get the best result for the city and our residents.

There was also another big change that came out of last week’s election - Stewart Jackson losing his Peterborough seat after 12 years to Labour candidate Fiona Onasanya.

It’s no secret that Stewart and I did not agree on everything but much more importantly we both share a passion for Peterborough and he did a lot of good constituency work, the secret of a good MP.

I believe that he will be a real loss and would like to thank him for his years of service to the city.

I look forward to meeting our new MP in the coming weeks and discussing with her how we can work together for the benefit of our city.

On Tuesday I was down at the Fletton Quays site to see the progress being made.

Recent weeks have seen the demolition of the former buildings on site and now the ground is cleared the new buildings can be constructed, first of which will be the new offices.

If you pass by the site you will see the structural steel frame for the building as well as the lift shaft going up.

The offices will continue to take shape over the summer.

The Grade II Listed Engine Shed on the site is also currently being restored to its original condition.

In addition to the offices, the completed Fletton Quays scheme will see new high-quality homes, a hotel, restaurant, leisure and retail facilities, improved cycle and pedestrian links along the south bank, newly created public open space and a dedicated wildlife area. Once complete, this will be a fantastic addition to Peterborough and an important part of our vision for a vibrant city centre.

Last week I had the privilege of visiting Foggia in the Puglia region of Italy with some of our young people who attend City College Peterborough.

The college has partnered with an organisation in Italy called ENAC which runs an exchange programme designed to raise aspirations and explore possibilities for some of our young people that may have experienced barriers to education.

The Italian students visited Peterborough in April and this was our return visit.

The students, many of whom have never been out of the UK, did the college and the city proud. It was heart-warming to see the young people grow in confidence and realise that they have the opportunity to benefit from the same educational opportunities as every other young person, thus giving them the best possible chance of progressing into employment or training and making the best of their lives.