Are you ready for the big switch-on?

Christmas lights switch-on in the City Centre 2017 EMN-171118-191154009
Christmas lights switch-on in the City Centre 2017 EMN-171118-191154009

With the clocks going back, temperatures dipping and being greeted by frozen car windscreens in the mornings, this week has certainly felt a lot like winter, writes Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich.

However, one of the best things about this time of year is the build up to Christmas beginning, which leads me nicely on to a big event coming up soon.

Our annual Christmas lights switch-on always attracts huge crowds to the city centre and I’m sure this year’s occasion will be no different.

The event takes place on Friday, November 16, with a fun-filled lineup of entertainment from 4pm until 8pm which all the family can come and enjoy.

This is the first time it has been held on a Friday, so make a date in your diary and why not combine it with some Christmas shopping or a nice meal out?

The big switch-on is happening at 7.30pm when myself and the city Mayor will be joined by Father Christmas (how does he find the time right now?) to press the button.

Once the city centre is beautifully lit up, the evening will be rounded off with a burst of fireworks.

As well as looking forward, this time of year brings a poignant opportunity to look back and remember those who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.

This year’s Remembrance Day is especially significant because it is exactly one hundred years since the signing of the Armistice which led to the end of the First World War.

Here in Peterborough, we will be remembering the fallen with a couple of events that I urge everyone to attend.

‘Naming the Men’ takes place on Friday November 9 and Saturday November 10 in Cathedral Square from 10am until 4pm both days.

This event will see artist Charron Pugsley-Hill reading out the names of the 1,177 men and one woman from Peterborough who died during the First World War, ensuring that each is remembered as an individual who had connections to the city.

Members of the public will be encouraged to read out the names and fascinating stories from the time will also be shared.

This year’s Civic Armistice and Remembrance event takes place on Sunday November 11, starting with a military parade along Bridge Street from 10.45am, a two minute silence at 11am and followed by a service in Peterborough Cathedral from 11.45am.

Our Trading Standards team is dedicated to protecting the public from rogue traders and work tirelessly to ensure that those who break the law are suitably punished.

I was pleased to hear that one rogue trader who sold counterfeit goods at a city car boot sale was ordered by a judge to pay back almost £100,000.

Mohammed Malik was discovered selling counterfeit items including perfumes, trainers, clothes and boots at the Bizzy Boots car boot sale on the Wellington Street car park.

He had already pleaded guilty to selling the items and served a community sentence, but the team wanted to ensure that the money he had made from his crimes was recovered.

They undertook a Proceeds of Crime investigation against Malik and last week a judge at Cambridge Crown Court concluded that he must pay back £92,566 within three months or face prison.

Finally, the Daily Telegraph featured an interesting article recently which was rather snappily titled ‘The commuter towns 60 minutes from central London where homes are 60 per cent cheaper’.

As sky high prices continue to force Londoners to look further afield to buy homes, the relatively low house prices in Peterborough are becoming more and more attractive.

Peterborough is listed as No.17 in the list with a rail journey of 51 minutes and an average house price of £218,713, according to the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It’s just a shame the reporter failed to notice the fact we have one of the best Cathedral’s in the country 
and Peterborough is in fact, a city.