Jobs-creating university on track

John Holdich
John Holdich
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You may have read in last week’s Peterborough Telegraph that I announced the four possible sites for a Peterborough University.

The news has been well received by people who are as excited and determined as me to see a dedicated university in our city.

I have had some good comments back from people which I’ll be using when deciding on a site. It’s fair to say progress has been slow, but is now travelling at a pace which is exciting.

A university is expected to create between 250 and 1,500 new jobs in the city depending on the size of the student population.

And for every 100 full time jobs, another 117 full time jobs would be generated in other sectors – this could mean hundreds of new jobs in our city.

But, most importantly, it’s about allowing our young people to train here, to avoid the drain of homegrown talent to other towns and cities that we currently see.

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Last week I had the privilege of being invited, and took great pleasure in attending, the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Nene Valley Railway. As a long-standing fan of this wonderful element of our city’s leisure landscape, I was very pleased to experience its many historic attractions again.

Home of children’s favourite engine Thomas, the NVR is a mecca for steam train enthusiasts of all ages and has featured regularly in television series’ and the big-screen blockbuster Bond films Goldeneye and Octopussy. Between 1974 and 1977 the line was upgraded to a passenger-carrying standard, before the first passenger train ran on 1 June 1977, hauled by the ‘Nord 3.628’ – a huge French 4-6-l locomotive.

The 15-mile return trip to our city centre is a unique experience and one I heartily recommend, especially for the younger generation who might perhaps relate to its ‘Trip Advisor’ standing at third out of all 70 recommended ‘things to do’ in Peterborough. The line was extended in the early 1980s, past the original Orton Mere station to a new station west of the East Coast Mainline which is adjacent to the Railworld Museum. Talking of local assets, I considered the other day just how local our procurement process is for our city’s schools, with 75% of all purchasing happening locally within Peterborough – to a maximum of within a 30-mile radius of our city.

I’m proud we can state that because I think it’s important to source within our local economy to help provide and protect jobs, invest in local firms and suppliers and share the City Council’s resources with firms who know who we are, and the standards we demand.

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Our high standards continue to be reinforced by the latest developments within the prestigious Fletton Quays,

quite literally, with the steelwork now arriving for the apartment buildings being created by Weston Homes.

Residents and visitors passing over the Town Bridge will now see the skyline being changed over the forthcoming weeks as these well-designed buildings by the river take initial shape and finally become homes of the future.

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Finally, I’d like to thank all the hard-working team members at the council for their efforts over the last weeks to ensure today’s election processes work as well as we’ve all come to expect. I hope everyone eligible and able to, will exercise their right to a vote, and in doing so feel they’ve contributed and helped make a difference to the local democracy we all live in. I know many officers and members of the council will be attending the count tonight and well into tomorrow morning to both check the validity of all the individual votes cast after they arrive from the many polling stations in and around Peterborough and to await the results of the two constituencies within which our great city sits. Good luck to all the candidates.