Opinion: Making our city more accessible

As Peterborough continues to grow and develop I want to make sure it’s accessible and welcoming for all – including those with disabilities, writes city council leader Wayne Fitzgerald.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 8th July 2022, 10:12 am
Updated Friday, 8th July 2022, 10:13 am
Peterborough City  Council leader Wayne Fitzgerald
Peterborough City Council leader Wayne Fitzgerald

It’s why last Autumn I set up an Equalities, Diversity, Disability and Inclusion working group on the council featuring members of different political parties to oversee our commitment to equality and diversity.

Councillor Oliver Sainsbury will be leading on this work and there are meetings being set up for the coming months. This week I have appointed a disabilities and older people’s adviser so we can do more to support residents who may feel underrepresented, or who struggle to get the information or support they need.

Councillor Bryan Tyler, Conservative member for Gunthorpe, has accepted the post and will be working alongside other city councillors in the role. Brian brings a long association in this city helping disabled and older people and offers a wealth of experience and contacts. Since the outbreak of Covid, older people and those with disabilities have lost a lot of support and advice just when it was needed the most. We want to make sure they have a place they can turn to for help, knowing it can be very difficult to know who to contact.

Councillor Tyler will be looking to build a new network of organisations who work with disabled and older residents and their carers and family members and hosting quarterly meetings with guest speakers. Get in touch with him at [email protected]

There is so much happening across our city to make it bigger and better for everyone. This week’s example is the redevelopment of the Millfield area of Lincoln Road, between Searjeant Street and Windmill Street.

This area of Lincoln Road has a real sense of community and is buzzing and alive at all times of the day. It has a fantastic range of restaurants, café and shops ranging from Portuguese bars, Turkish and Greek restaurants and European supermarkets.

On Monday we’re launching a public consultation to ask members of the public for their opinion on our plans to improve the area.

Potential redevelopment opportunities include widened pavements on either side of the road, pedestrian crossings at the Lincoln Road/Alma Road junction, soft landscaping (such as trees and shrubs), electric vehicle charging points, new bins and a community art trail.

The street improvements proposed have the potential to further enhance this area, but what is more important is that the public have their say on what they want to see in this area. We are awaiting the final sign-off on the funding from Government, but before we spend it, we want to make sure this is what residents and the wider Peterborough public want.

You can make your views known via an online survey and paper versions are available too in a range of different languages. Alternatively, there will be face to face public consultation events on Lincoln Road – more details are on our website and social media pages.

In the past few months we’ve been handing out the £150 council tax rebate to eligible households. It’s just one of the ways we are trying to help people who are most affected by the cost of living crisis.

I’m pleased to say that 49,033 people have already been awarded their payment. A further 7,656 people have also made an application to the council to receive the payment, with the vast majority receiving a bank payment and more than 1,600 choosing to have the payment credited to their council tax account instead.

Everyone who pays their council tax by Direct Debit will have received their payment into their bank account automatically if they live in a property in bands A to D, but for everyone else they need to get in touch with us to claim the rebate.

If you've not had yours yet, please get in touch with us. The deadline for claiming the rebate is Sunday, 10 July. However, shortly after this date, we will apply the credit to the council tax account of anyone we believe is eligible who has not yet claimed. We know that for some people it will be more beneficial if the money is paid straight into their bank account, so do get in touch this week if you would like us to. For more information visit the council’s website or call 01733 747474.

On Monday morning we have our next cabinet meeting where we will be discussing a number of important items and issues. Items to be discussed include a report from our Improvement and Assurance Panel on how we are progressing towards becoming a financially stable council, an update to our Flood Risk Management Strategy, a review of our parking policy, the future of the hydrotherapy pool at St George’s and a report on how our finances are looking this year and in future years.

All our Cabinet meetings are open to the public, so please attend if you are able to or watch online via our YouTube account – the meeting starts at 10am.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​