Local Elections: Together we can achieve even more

Council leader Mohammed Farooq, Peterborough FirstCouncil leader Mohammed Farooq, Peterborough First
Council leader Mohammed Farooq, Peterborough First
Someone considerably better than me once said: “It is not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” I find this as relevant today as at any other time, writes council leader Mohammed Farooq (Peterborough First).

With increased service demands, limited income, and funding cuts by the national Conservative government, it is becoming more and more difficult for our council to deliver essential services to residents.

We must come together and find new ways of delivering these services, with the support and participation of individuals and organisations. The city council alone cannot manage this burden.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

From the start, my leadership was based on collaboration and partnership within the council. This is how the new administration was formed, and the partnership goes from strength to strength. Putting party politics aside, we have overcome many challenges and achieved a lot in a short space of time. For the council to be successful in future, I believe we should take this partnership to the wider city.

The previous administration were never able to forge such partnerships for the benefit of our residents. To the extent that some of our vital partners such as the Combined Authority and the Civic Society were cast aside or had an administration that worked against them.

We have some incredible organisations that are the backbone of our city, and under my Peterborough First-led administration we have strengthened our partnerships and relationships.

I will work very closely with partners such as the NHS, where co-working will help strengthen our service provision for adult social care, children services, and mental health. The Cathedral is the beating heart of our city, and the last few years has opened its doors to some incredible exhibitions and performances, and there is much more to come this year too. I want to credit the team who’ve brought the Cathedral to life for so many of our residents. They have some exciting plans for the future and they will have my full support.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We can bring new companies to Peterborough with new jobs and upskill our workforce, but we can only do this by supporting our further education partners Inspire Education Group, City College and our university. After many years of collective political will, we now have Anglia Ruskin University and it’s exciting for our city to see how this develops in the years ahead. A close relationship with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has already delivered major investment on transport, education and housing.

The Combined Authority have been a victim of political football before, but not under my leadership. As a vital contributor to some of the major infrastructure projects in our city, we now have a positive and ambitious relationship without the combative behaviour we saw previously.

The Civic Society are now a valued and respected voice, and the work on the Guild Hall is just the start of a more engaged relationship.

Queensgate need new retailers and improvements to the Bus Station must come forward. I will challenge where needed and also support Queensgate.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We are fortunate to have partners with the Lighthouse Project, faith groups, Business Improvement District, Peterborough Litter Wombles and many more across the city.

These organisations already deliver wonderful services to our residents across Peterborough. I have met many of the great people who run these services and I look forward to further strengthening our relationships after the May election. By aligning our objectives and making a co-ordinated effort, we can achieve even more.

In a short space of time, I have already set the priorities for our city (Protecting the Vulnerable, Growth and Prosperity, Environment and Education) and work is well under way. Together with these partners and by supporting each other, we will be able to deliver residents’ priorities in the most efficient and timely manner. Input from each, and every one of us will enable us to best deliver the Station Quarter, new phases of the university, a new regional swimming pool, youth zone and more.

Through partnership and co-operation not only can we make Peterborough a city of opportunity, we also show clearly we are open for business to investors nationally and internationally.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I can’t finish without adding my heartfelt congratulations to POSH for winning the EFL trophy at Wembley at the weekend. Many of us watched the live match broadcast or travelled to London… a proud moment for all residents and supporters.

I would also like to congratulate our Muslim community for completing the month of Ramadan (fasting) and wish them Happy Eid. For many it has been a month of giving and helping those in most need. I witnessed all faiths and organisations coming together to celebrate and practice the month of Ramadan, a true picture of community cohesion.

I have always believed the best results for residents can be achieved away from party politics, bringing together the skills and talents that undoubtedly exist in our city. You have seen my clear vision for collaborative politics and working with all the vital partners in our city for the benefit of residents. I ask you to vote wisely. If you are a postal voter, you will receive your vote in the next few days; please consider voting for your Independent Peterborough First candidate.