Town Hall View: Reasons to be cheerful in 2015

Peterborough City Council leader, Marco Cereste in 2013. Photo: Alan Storer/Peterborough Telegraph

Peterborough City Council leader, Marco Cereste in 2013. Photo: Alan Storer/Peterborough Telegraph

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As this is my first column of 2015, I’d like to wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.

After the obligatory Christmas indulgence, it’s always good to get back to normal and look ahead to the coming year.

Pearl Izumi Tour Series round 3 at Peterborough in 2014. Photo: David Lowndes

Pearl Izumi Tour Series round 3 at Peterborough in 2014. Photo: David Lowndes

As I said in last week’s column, 2014 was a great but challenging year for our city, with lots to celebrate despite huge funding pressures.

If we can achieve as much in 2015 then I will be very happy.

In particular, I’m looking forward to seeing the new Bourges Boulevard completed.

It’s really starting to take shape with the new paving and crossing in place and the new Waitrose store has really boosted the vibrancy of the area.

I know the work has caused a few problems for motorists in the past few months, but I’d like to thank them for their patience.

It’s difficult to appreciate when you’re sat queuing in traffic, but it really will look fantastic once completed.

Next week the regeneration of Long Causeway will continue, now that the busy shopping season is drawing to a close.

The renovated shopping street will include a new square and meeting place outside the Queensgate entrance, new paving and seating and uplighting in the trees to create the same brighter, lighter atmosphere that we now have in Bridge Street.

The city centre public realm works have transformed our city centre which has attracted new shops and businesses and encouraged residents and visitors to spend time here. We’ve seen a whole host of new businesses arrive in the city and there are more to come in the New Year too.

You might recall that just before Christmas we agreed to trial a new scheme which will offer owners of residential homes in Peterborough the chance to have solar panels installed on their properties for free and to benefit from some of the energy they generate.

In the next few weeks we will be asking homeowners in the trial area to sign up to the scheme.

If the trial is a success, then we’ll look to roll it out across the wider city so that as many residents as possible can benefit. I’d like to fast forward a year and see how the scheme has unfolded for some of our residents.

One of the things I’ve loved about our city in recent years is the growth in our events calendar. Every year we see more and more events hosted and I’m told we could see even more taking place this year.

You might be pleased to know that the Tour Series cycle race will be returning once again this year, as will many of the cultural festivals. The car show proved so popular last September that we’ve decided to host it again.

A highlight for many is the Perkins Great Eastern Run, which will return in October for its 10th year since being resurrected in 2006. We’ve seen a surge in people applying for the race in the past week or so - maybe it’s a result of the Christmas over indulgence and the New Year’s resolutions to get fit!

Now is the perfect time to sign up as you have just over nine months to train. To find out more visit www.perkinsgreateasternrun.co.uk.

That’s just a few of my highlights for the year ahead. In addition I’d like to see the job creation that we have seen in the past year continue. The more jobs there are available in the city, the more people we can support to gain employment and raise their aspirations. For those people who cannot work, we will continue to make sure they are supported.

I can’t deny it will be another challenging year for the city with even greater pressures on our finances.

However, we will continue to strive to provide the services that our residents want with the money we have available.

Council business aside, perhaps my most important wish for this year is that each and every resident has a good year which is happy, healthy and fulfilled.

- Peterborough City Council leader gives his view on the council and news and issues affecting you...