It’s good to see Peterborough City Council putting homelessness high on its agenda.
The problem has been growing in the city and the council’s response has been haphazard to say the least.
Paying security guards to police St Peter’s Arcade and doing a deal that saw people evicted in St Michael’s Gate to provide homes for the homeless was not a coherent strategy.
Deputy leader of the council Wayne Fitzgerald has bent my ear (in a polite and friendly manner, I might add) about the issue.
He was keen to ensure that I appreciated the difference between ‘rough sleepers’ and families that find themselves homeless.
I do, but for me both are part of the same problem. Central to it is how we treat the most vulnerable members of our society.
The council has come up with a homelessness reduction strategy and it is to be applauded for that.
In Peterborough in the past two years there has been a 2oo per cent rise in homeless presentations. This has led to the council spending a vast amount of our money putting people up in Travelodges.
Behind these figures there is a story of human suffering. Sadly, where there’s misery, there’s money.
The city has too many unscrupulous landlords who are taking advantage of the lack of available homes.
As seen by recent cases reported by the PT some landlords are making money providing sub-standard homes.
Last week the PT reported on a landlord who had been fined for renting a family a dangerous, overcrowded and damp home.
A council spokesman said the landlord’s licence would be reviewed at a later date.
If the council is serious about tackling this problem that review needs to be sooner, not later.
Not on the map
Don’t sweat the small stuff is generally sound advice... however it doesn’t help get this column written!
So I’m going to share my outrage at something so trivial I probably ought to seek professional help.
It’s the weather map, or specifically, BBC Look East’s map.
As you would expect it has got all the region’s major cities and towns including Norwich, Cambridge, and Ipswich.
Others get a mention including Colchester, Corby and Kings Lynn.Even little old March is there.
BUT WHERE IS PETERBOROUGH?
Sorry for shouting but do the highly educated and knowledgeable bods at BBC Look East not know that on its patch only Milton Keynes has a bigger population than Peterborough.
That you might think would be enough to put the city on the map.
Miller’s sorry tale
Posh striker Ricky Miller is a very lucky boy. It might not seem that way to him at the moment after he appeared in court on a drink-driving charge (technically, he refuesed to give a sample).
He appears genuinely remorseful and I’m glad he’s seeking help for his alcohol problem.
But the fact remains, this is the third time he has been in court in similiar circumstances.
And if he’s only drunk and drove on three occasions, he’s been very unlucky to have been caught by the cops every time he transgressed. As Miller said outside court: “It’s lucky nobody’s been hurt.’’
It certainly is, but as the saying goes ‘once is a mistake, twice is a pattern, three times is a habit.’
Let’s hope Ricky breaks this habit.
He’s got a point
It takes a lot to smack my gob but former Peterborough Crown Court judge Nic Madge did just that.
Last week the PT reported on his call for the design of knives to be changed to have a rounded end instead of a point.
What a simple but brilliant idea. With the backdrop of the terrible increase in violent knife crime his idea, at the very least, is worth a try.
I popped along to the rowing lake at Thorpe Meadows for the dragon boat racing. Despite its Oriental roots, it struck me as a quintessential English event.
There were good -naturedvolunteers and community fund-raising, beer in plastic glasses, people in fancy dress, dogs sniffing you whether you wanted them to or not, and weather that went from being so hot it almost melted your eyeballs to making you wish you’d brought a cardy... all within the space of five minutes.