Ensuring we can all enjoy our city

John Holdich
John Holdich
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Peterborough City Council leader cllr John Holdich

I am proud of the way our city centre looks with many areas surrounding Cathedral Square having recently undergone upgrades and renovation.

With this inviting city centre it is important that we make it a place that everyone is able to enjoy, setting a good impression to residents and visitors alike, and this means ensuring any anti-social behaviour is at an absolute minimum.

This week we announced that an order to give our enforcement officers additional powers to deal with anti-social behaviour is likely to be implemented next month.

It will be an area for the SaferPeterborough Prevention and Enforcement Service team to take forward and the order will give officers the ability to issue a fixed penalty notice to perpetrators of unacceptable behaviour such as littering, begging and unauthorised cycling on Bridge Street.

Other offences under this Public Spaces Protection Order will include spitting, dangerous cycling and drinking in public, and fines will be set at £80 with an early repayment option of £60.

Spending most of my week in and out of the Town Hall I know that these offences do occur, and though caused by a minority of inconsiderate people, they can be an annoyance, dangerous and unsightly.

It has taken a little longer than we hoped for this order to come to fruition, following a robust public consultation, but we hope it has the impact to deter people from carrying out these offences in future and improve people’s quality of life.

When the order is implemented and new signage in place, no fines will be issued for the first six weeks but officers will be out talking to the public about the new order and the penalties.

Some of Peterborough’s greatest ever sporting achievers were honoured at a special reception held at the Town Hall this week to present the Freedom of the City to the city’s Olympic and Paralympic medallists. Those to receive this prestigious accolade were multi Olympic medal winning gymnast Louis Smith MBE, gold medal winning Paralympic rower James Fox, and Paralympic basketball star Lee Manning.

The achievements of these athletes have been an inspiration to many and it is only right that they are honoured in this way. It wasn’t just sportspeople celebrated at the event, but also some of the city’s most committed former councillors.

Charles Swift OBE, Shelia Scott OBE and Adrian Miners were presented with scrolls bestowing them with the status of Honorary Alderman. In the case of Charles Swift, he served as councillor for 62 years after first being elected in 1954.

A truly magnificent dedication to Peterborough and its people.

You may have seen that we have been showcasing the work of Peterborough’s Care and Repair Service this week in a series of videos that you can view on the council’s website and social media channels.

They feature Doris Neal (93), who talks about how her home has been completely insulated, rewired and a platform and lift have been installed to allow easier access.

Her life has been transformed, as will have many others.

Praise must go to the team from Peterborough’s Care and Repair Service who continue to make life easier for thousands of people across the city.

The work that they undertake on people’s homes helps vulnerable, older and disabled people to live independently and keep warm and safe, which in turn is drastically easing the burden on social care and the NHS.

Keeping children safe from harm is our top priority which is why I was delighted this week to hear that we have been awarded £2.8million by the Department for Education to create a new family safeguarding service. Staff from a number of agencies who work with children under 13 and their families will come together in one team to tackle domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health issues that place children at risk of harm. The aim is to avoid children coming into care wherever possible.

Hertfordshire County Council introduced a similar service as a pilot which achieved a 40 per cent reduction in child protection numbers and a 6.5 per cent reduction in children coming into care as a result of significant harm.

We want to take that a step further and see how it might work in Peterborough to improve the lives of our children and families.