Bridging the gap to city university

Cllr John Holdich
Cllr John Holdich

We are building a vibrant and thriving city and we want to make sure everyone can benefit from these enhancements, writes Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich.

Therefore, the campaign spearheaded by the Peterborough Telegraph to ‘Build the Bridge’ connecting the new Fletton Quays development to the Embankment is a matter the council supports in principle.

In fact, the potential for a footbridge was originally, and still is, an element of this landmark development and will be considered as part of the council’s budget setting process in the coming years.

As with issues that councils face throughout the country these days, the crux of the matter comes down to funding. The cost to build a bridge would be around £3 million, which the council would need to borrow and therefore pay interest on, and at present we don’t have these funds. Over recent years our budget from the Government has been drastically reduced and we have had to be savvy with our cost savings and efficiencies in order to ensure we pay for our residents’ necessities, such as schools, adult social care and supporting the vulnerable.

We’ve also had to ask everyone to pay more in council tax given the demand on our services. We do, however, continue to grow as a city and in recent months we’ve seen a huge amount of progress with our project to create a fully-fledged University of Peterborough. This included £6.5million funding from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Well, one of the sites we are considering for the campus is the Embankment - and the footbridge will be a foremost consideration should the university be positioned there in years to come. I can’t knock those who want the bridge now - however I can’t promise that. Therefore I would welcome those backing the campaign to come forward with ideas as to how we could raise these funds and, of course, we would look at any grant funding that may be available to us.

I’m proud of our work to make Fletton Quays a reality and am delighted at how many of you are excited by it.

The site’s regeneration also has to be commercially viable or, like many of the previous ideas for the site, it would not have been delivered.

A share of a new government fund which aims to reduce the impact of recent migration on established communities has been awarded to the council.

Migration has brought a number of benefits to our city, particularly with regard to our diverse culture and employment, however it has placed pressures on public services. This first allocation from the Controlling Migration Fund includes financial grants to help our work with translation services, targeted alcohol misuse education and how we provide accessible information for all residents on the best ways to use key public services.

This funding will help to reduce the pressure and cost placed on services including doctors’ surgeries, hospitals, the police and council for the benefit of all our residents.

It’s the era of the selfie, and this summer you could win some fantastic prizes if you take a photo of yourself at a whole host of city attractions.

The team at the Visitor Information Centre is looking for your best selfie photos, pictured with the city’s attractions and then submitted online using the hashtag #PboroSummerSelfie

There will be prizes each week for the best selfie, including free entry to attractions, hotel stays, gift vouchers and signed Peterborough United merchandise.

It runs over the school summer holiday period and all the information you need to enter is available at www.visitpeterborough.com

The summer holidays have begun and children across the city are looking for ways to keep themselves entertained. The weather is unpredictable to say the least at the moment, but when things do heat up we need to make sure they keep safe around the rivers and waterways.

On warmer days young people sometimes risk their lives by jumping into canals and rivers to cool down. The consequences can be devastating, as so many young people have found out previously.

There are lots of events taking place across the city this summer and attractions offering fun things to do.

You can find out more by visiting our Visitor Information Centre on Bridge Street.