£This week we announced that four of our parks and open spaces have been praised as amongst the best in the country,” writes leader of Peterborough City Council John Holdich.
“Central Park on Park Road, Itter Park in Walton, Manor Farm Park in Eye and Victoria Gardens in Millfield have all received Green Flags - a sign that they boast the highest possible standards, are beautifully maintained and have excellent facilities.
“It’s great news for Central Park in particular, which has now been flying the flag for 14 years. I’m not surprised - it’s home to a wonderful selection of plants and trees, a great play area and paddling pool for the children, the lovely Buttercross tearoom and of course the bowling green and tennis courts. Above all else it is tidy and attractive thanks to our colleagues at Amey who manage the park, and all our open spaces, on our behalf.
“Amey works hard to keep our city looking clean and tidy, but there is still a minority who choose to undo its good work and litter, graffiti or dump waste illegally.
“That’s why I have made it easier for residents to call and report issues, so that we can investigate and catch the perpetrators.
“If residents spot flytipping, or any other environmental crime, please report it by calling us on 01733 747474 and pressing option 5. The call centre staff will get as much information from you as possible, including the vehicle registration if applicable, location of the waste and other details that will help us identify those responsible.
“We have a zero-tolerance approach to flytipping in particular and will always seek to prosecute where there is enough evidence. So far this year we have sent 66 written warnings to people we suspect of flytipping and issued 169 fixed penalty notices for a variety of environmental crimes.
“Not only does flytipping ruin the look of our city, it also costs taxpayers in this city around £250,000 a year to clean-up which is unacceptable. In total last year, 10,369 incidents of flytipping were reported to us - we have to make a dent in that.
“The city’s new prevention and enforcement service which brings together officers from the council, police, fire and private sector, has increased the capacity to investigate environmental crimes across the city. It is this team which will pick up the issue once you call the details through to us.
“Under new regulations which came into force in May, anyone caught flytipping will now be fined £300, which is reduced to £180 if paid within 21 days. Prior to this date the fine was £75. Why would you risk a fine like that when you can pay just £23.50 for a bulky waste collection?
“The Green Flag awards show there is no shortage of beautifully landscaped green spaces, country parks and wild areas to explore in Peterborough. In fact, we enjoy one of the highest ratios of green space per head of population in the UK.
“Don’t let the rogue few blight it for the rest of us. If you spot someone flytipping, spraying graffiti or ruining our environment in any other way, please call 01733 747474.
“We’ve had some lovely comments this week from people who went to the Bryan Adams concert on the Embankment last Friday. Thousands of people watched him perform and it was fantastic to see the city centre so busy on a Friday night. I’d love to see more concerts like this taking place in the city and we will do all that we can to make this possible.
“In last week’s column I suggested ways to keep the children entertained over the summer holidays. I’ve been asked to mention a couple of other events taking place this month.
“The first is a Knights and Princesses event at Longthorpe Tower this weekend, 10am to 5pm both days. The tower will be populated by medieval characters and you’ll be able to learn how to be a knight or a princess. Visit www.vivacity-peterborough.com for more information.
“On August 25, there will be a swashbuckling adventure for all the family with a performance of The Scarlet Pimpernel in The Cloisters at Peterborough Cathedral from 7pm.
“For more information visit www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk”