If you read last week’s Peterborough Telegraph then you may have seen that online retailer Ocado is to open a distribution hub in the city creating up to 230 jobs.
The news is hot on the heels of high street giant House of Fraser receiving planning permission to build a distribution centre, generating up to 1,000 jobs.
We have a good track record in Peterborough for attracting new businesses and jobs. We’ve seen 373 per cent jobs growth during the past 100 years, ranking us second out of 57 cities in England and Wales.
In the past three years alone Peterborough businesses have added almost 7,000 jobs to our economy and our private sector jobs market is now one of the most buoyant nationally, helping to push unemployment rates to the lowest level since the early 1990s.
It’s certainly been a good few years, but this year is turning out to be exceptional, with 2,096 jobs announced so far. They’re from a real mix of industries too, including retail, food, healthcare and engineering.
Many of these jobs are a result of new businesses choosing to invest in the city, demonstrating confidence in our economy. What’s pleasing is that a good number are being generated by existing businesses.
Engineering firm Vogal Group, which established itself in the city in the 1980s, will be employing an extra 30 people at its site in Fletton. Webbs Motorcycles, which opened in the city in 2003, is also taking on new staff. Cereal producer Bokomo Foods has just moved to bigger premises in Orton Southgate, inevitably leading to more jobs.
Investors clearly have faith in our city, which is helping companies to establish and maintain a stable footprint in Peterborough and deliver exceptional growth.
We have to make sure this confidence in our economy continues and that we retain and attract new businesses from a variety of sectors. Our partners at Opportunity Peterborough continue to work hard nationally and internationally to attract new companies to the city and support those that are starting up or doing business here already.
I believe that we can see further growth across the business sector if we press ahead with our proposed devolution deal with government that I’ve told you about in recent weeks.
You can read more about the proposal on our website and in particular how it will support businesses and job growth.
We’re currently consulting on the proposals and residents have until Tuesday to take part. You can complete an online survey by visiting www.peterborough.gov.uk/devolution or pick up hard copies of the questionnaire at Town Hall and Bayard Place receptions and all libraries.
It’s not until you have a scare that you truly appreciate the fantastic work of our health services.
Last Wednesday I went for my regular eye check at the opticians and was told, to my surprise, that I had a hole in the retina of my left eye which if left untreated could have led to blindness.
They promptly made an appointment for me to attend Peterborough City Hospital the following day, which I attended and was asked to return at 8am the following day for keyhole surgery to repair what turned out to be three tears in my retina. I was home by 1.30pm on Friday and on the mend.
The service I received was fantastic and I would like to thank the health services for their professionalism and speed of service.
It goes to show how important it is to have regular eye checks. Without mine last week I would be walking around unaware that I could one day wake up blind.
I’d like to say a big well done to Louis Smith from Eye who impressed on the men’s pommel horse to take silver in Rio at the weekend. Well done too to windsurfer Nick Dempsey who won a silver medal. Nick grew up in Peterborough and learned to windsurf at Ferry Meadows.
They’re amazing achievements and we are already considering how we as a city can congratulate Louis and Nick.
If you’re looking for something for to do with the children on Saturday then the Celebration of Youth event in Cathedral Square could be just the thing. The free event has been organised by the YMCA and will give young people the chance to showcase their talents or have a go at art and sport activities, find out more about employment opportunities and much more.