United against the forces of hate - Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich

Cllr John Holdich
Cllr John Holdich
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There are times when I feel incredibly proud of our city and the way in which our many communities live side by side, for the most part, in harmony.

This week was one of those times. On Tuesday afternoon more than 100 people gathered in Cathedral Square to show unity and express sadness for those who lost their lives, or have been affected, by the tragic events in Manchester.

Those people are representative of the vast majority of residents in our city and across the country who condemn those who choose to use fear and force to make their point.

The speeches given by the community leaders were passionate and all called on people in our city to stand united in the face of terrorism and not to let the actions of a few change the way we live our lives.

Only by standing shoulder to shoulder can we triumph against those few who want to spread hate.

If you have not signed it already, a book of condolence remains open at the Town Hall for anyone who would like to leave a message.

This weekend is looking to be one of the hottest of the year so far, which is lucky as it’s the opening of our wonderful outdoor swimming pool.

Our Lido is unique, and one of the few survivors of its type still in use in the UK.

It’s a great place to visit on a hot day, with the main pool, two other heated outdoor pools (learner and paddling), a large sunbathing lawn and balcony.

If you’re a lover of facts, did you know the main pool holds about half a million gallons of water – weighing the equivalent of about 240 double-decker buses!

Our new Mayor Councillor John Fox will be launching the Lido’s 81st season on Saturday at 10am. There’s free entry on the opening day for all and under 5s swim free every day.

On the subject of our new Mayor, I wholeheartedly welcome Councillor John Fox as our first citizen, alongside the Mayoress his wife Councillor Judy Fox, Deputy Mayor Councillor Chris Ash and Deputy Mayoress Doreen Roberts.

A great year lies ahead for these long-standing well-respected members of our council and, as a former mayor myself, I know the commitment and hard work needed in the role is well placed. Ex-Royal Navy and former Peterborough-based policeman, John has represented his Werrington ward since 2002 and has dedicated much of his energies into charitable work over the years, especially helping ex-forces personnel to cope with some of the unique issues and problems they face.

I thank our departing Mayor, Councillor David Sanders for a fantastic year in office, helping to raise this very important role both in Peterborough and beyond, helped in no small part, by his Deputy Mayor Councillor Keith Sharp. David has been a terrific envoy for our great city and has shown boundless energy in the role.

I’ve been quite surprised by the amount of positive messages I’ve received following my radio interview about the new Public Spaces Protection Orders we’ve introduced.

For a long time now relatively few inconsiderate cyclists have endangered pedestrians along our busy Bridge Street shopping area.

I myself have had several narrow escapes from speeding two-wheelers as I’ve walked to and from the town hall.

The front page of last week’s PT was somewhat less positive and our actions were criticised as ineffective, counting 45 cyclists in an hour.

Well we have to start somewhere folks, and experience tells me word soon gets around.

I expect the amount of illegal, often dangerous cycling along Bridge Street to steadily decrease over the coming months.

I don’t suppose we’ll eradicate it completely. but we now have the tools to be able to reduce it considerably and prevent potentially serious incidents happening.