Challenge of catering for growth

A view of what the school may look likeA view of what the school may look like
A view of what the school may look like
As you will no doubt be aware, Peterborough is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK and the fact that people and businesses want to move here is something I’m very proud of, writes Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich.

From a council point of view, catering for growth sets us big challenges, none more so than planning for much-needed future school places. We have to think ahead and that’s why I’m delighted to announce progress with plans for new schools in the city.

Proposals for two new free schools - Manor Drive Primary and Secondary - on land at Paston Reserve are moving forwards and we want you to get involved by having your say.

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We have now appointed Wates to oversee the construction of the schools, subject to planning permission being granted. Wates has launched an online public consultation into the plans, prior to submission of the full planning application on 3 July and we welcome your views.

If the application is approved, it is anticipated that construction will begin in February 2021 and the schools will open in September 2022 providing 420 primary places, 26 nursery places and 900 secondary places.

The consultation can be viewed at: But be quick, as the deadline is the end of tomorrow.

Meanwhile, plans for a new three form entry primary school and nursery on land at Hampton East are also progressing.

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Earlier this year, the council approved proposals submitted by the Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia (RCDEA) to open a new Roman Catholic Primary School at Hampton Water.

Following the approval of a business case, the school will be known as St John Henry Newman Catholic Primary School and construction is set to start in July next year. The school is anticipated to open to reception and year 1 and 2 children in September 2022, accommodating 630 primary age children and 26 nursery places.

This week the Countywide Coordination Hub run by the city council and Cambridgeshire County Council marked its 100-day anniversary.

The hub launched in March to support residents identified as shielding and being of the highest risk to coronavirus. Soon after, the Peterborough hub launched, providing help and assistance to all others who don’t have support from elsewhere.

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Together they provide practical support for hundreds of people across Peterborough, providing food, essential supplies and access to medicines, as well as helping resolve issues or carry out simple tasks that would otherwise prevent people from being able to protect themselves from the risks associated with coronavirus.

The COVID-19 support hubs are a shining example of what can be achieved when councils work together with their partners and residents for the good of communities. Everyone involved in their work, or has helped people struggling during the pandemic, deserves a huge pat on the back.

Although the Government announced this week a pausing of the shielding programme, we know there will be many people who will need assistance to transition out of shielding and to move towards a new way of life. For those people, the Countywide Hub will be there to provide that support.

The Peterborough hub will continue to provide support for all others who don't have help and assistance from friends, family or neighbours.

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If you need support, please visit or call 01733 747474.

Last week Vivacity announced that it would be terminating its contract with the council to provide cultural and leisure services on our behalf. It was a mutual agreement but nonetheless a sad one.

Unfortunately, it is one more casualty of the global pandemic, but I want to reassure you that we are committed to continuing and even building upon the excellent services Vivacity has provided for the city.

It is vitally important that the city has a strong arts, leisure and cultural offer especially as we come out of lockdown and head towards economic and social recovery.

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We are excited by the opportunity to possibly even change and develop what that offer might look like for a new, post COVID world and have already begun a review of the services to consider how they might be delivered in the future –either by the council alone, or in partnership with others.

You can rest assured the council will continue to work hard to keep services going, its residents safe and well and to keep the city moving.