PETERBOROUGH’S population is set to rise by nearly 10 per cent in the next decade, new figures have shown.
Projections by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that the city’s population could increase from 173,100 to 190,700 by 2020.
Factors influencing this increase in population include birth and death rates as well as immigration where around 400 people from outside the UK are expected to move to Peterborough every year until 2012 with the figure dropping down to 200 people by 2020.
Key figures in the city have differing views about how to handle the increase and housing requirements.
City MP Stewart Jackson called on Peterborough City Council to put a brake on house building and concentrate on improving infrastructure such as schools and health services for the people already living in the city.
He said many of those causing the rise in the city’s population were migrants who are on poor wages who would not be able to afford the homes. Mr Jackson said: “My main concern is that we shouldn’t be building new housing in the city just based on these figures.
“We need to step back and look at infrastructure, community facilities, provision for schools, libraries and health centres.
“It just seems we are just basing this on these figures.
“But a lot of these people are low skilled, low wage foreign migrants. It is not a basis for us as a city to compete with other cities with a broader economic base.”
He added: “We need to raise our game by building better quality housing, consolidate the university centre and improve secondary schools and we need to tackle some areas of the city which have fallen into decline.
“My concern is that the city council has not addressed this.”
The council has ambitious growth targets to deliver 25,000 new houses in Peterborough by 2031.
Council leader Councillor Marco Cereste said the main bulk of the increase was down to births in the city and they had a duty to accommodate them.
He said: “If we take the difference between the birth and death rate in Peterborough, over 10 years, we will have 15,000 of our own children and grandchildren living here.
“We have a duty, as council, to provide housing for people who live in our city.”
He refused to be drawn into a “debate on immigration” and said the council would make decisions based on what they believed the true picture was.
Cllr Cereste added: “We don’t want anyone who doesn’t want to work here or pay their own way.
“If people are here and working and contributing to the city and paying their rates, the city council has a duty to provide them with services, including housing. Otherwise, where will we be putting these people?”
The ONS figures project the population of the East of England region to be the fastest growing in England between 2008 and 2018, rising by more than 0.5 million to 6.3 million.