Local Elections: Politics does not have to be divisive

Peterborough First is in a unique and privileged position, having led the city council administration since November with the support of cross-party colleagues in the chamber, writes cllr Mohammed Farooq.
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​This proves politics does not have to be divisive. It can be collaborative, and sensible, when it comes to dealing with the issues we all have at heart… the needs of the city.

One of our key principles as a group is to build a collaborative council, which has already resulted in strong cross-party relationships and an ability to work with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and other vital partners. We have done this by casting politics aside and focussing first on the needs of the city.

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Through our leadership, we are a compassionate council as evidenced through our priorities; protecting the vulnerable and caring for our children, a cornerstone of everything we do.

Council leader Mohammed Farooq, Peterborough FirstCouncil leader Mohammed Farooq, Peterborough First
Council leader Mohammed Farooq, Peterborough First

We are a transparent council breaking down the mystique and secrecy of the city’s community asset review. We are dealing with this in an open way, ensuring no community group is left out. We are a financially responsible council…everyone agrees our level of borrowing is too high. We must bring down the level of debt, so we don’t pass this burden to our local taxpayers. It’s not right, it’s not responsible and it’s not fair on you.

We support growth and prosperity, in the right way. Not just growth for growth’s sake, but growth that contributes to the city and helps our local economy and subsequent prosperity.

And it won’t be growth that favours a select group of investors. We will listen and talk to anyone who wishes to make a positive contribution to our city and that is why we are putting so much effort into preparing for the UK Real Estate and Infrastructure Forum (UKREIF) exhibition to showcase Peterborough to a wide range of investors. Peterborough is no longer a club for a chosen few, we are open for business.

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As Peterborough First, we are a collective group of independents without a whip. We share the same core values, and we work on consensus politics, which is also our approach to working across the council chamber, with a majority of the 60 councillors.

We are standing Peterborough First independent candidates in several wards across the city to build on the achievements of the past six months. Our wish is to see a larger group of open-minded councillors working together, and this can only be achieved with your vote. It has never been more important for you to say ‘Peterborough needs to continue the positive change in direction’ that has only just begun.

So, when you vote Peterborough First what do you get? Firstly, you will get a dedicated ward representative in the place where you live. In Eye, Thorney and Newborough ward, we have a very credible local alternative to endorsing another out of area Conservative candidate, the same Conservative group that voted to dispose of the Eye Library and Community Centre. We hope voters tell them it’s time for change.

In Werrington, we see the audacity of Conservatives arguing for Werrington Fields when they had five years to resolve this issue and spent approximately £100,000 of taxpayers’ money along the way of their indecision. Why should they be given a day longer? The sudden interest in Werrington will not fool the residents after 20 years of service from John Fox and his team, including Sarah Hillier. John has helped secure new bridges for Cuckoos Hollow working with Cllr Bond, proving we can rise above politics to help residents.

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Hampton is mine and John Howard’s heartland where we have a track record of delivering locally for six years. We’d love to strengthen our work and achieve even more locally with a united team.

In Wittering we have an established representative who has broken the Conservative blockage with the combined authority to finally deliver a much-needed bus connection for Wittering and other rural villages. Plus, we have a hugely capable candidate for Glinton and Castor ward, a stalwart of local community action for 20 years through his chairmanship of the Parish Liaison Committee, Good Neighbours and Protect Rural Peterborough. It is an exciting time to put an X in the box for your Peterborough First independent candidates.

Together, we will protect the vulnerable who are at the core of our decision-making and provide higher standards of education, offering more quality of choice so vital for our next generations. Growth must come in line with our environmental priorities. More quality in transport choices, more green tech jobs and training, and a focus on having an environment fit for the future.

Children’s services and provision are key, and we will continue our work for better services locally. Investment in essential services, better transport connectivity, a new regional pool… we are a group that is thinking decades ahead for what this city needs and how we can get there.

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All our priorities are designed to provide the best service to our residents and best value for money for taxpayers. This city has given me the opportunity to be successful in life and I want to create those same opportunities for others. Coming from a deprived background, combined with my business experience puts me in a good place to achieve these priorities.

We embrace Peterborough as the city of opportunity and please use your vote on May 2nd to put Peterborough First.