Opinion: ‘Peterborough’s time is now’

Peterborough City Council Leader John Holdich writes:

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 31st October 2020, 3:39 am
Work has started on the Government Hub on Fletton Quays.
Work has started on the Government Hub on Fletton Quays.

Our regeneration plans for Peterborough are the most ambitious we’ve had for decades and this week they’ve been given a huge boost.

On Monday it was confirmed that our bid to the government’s Towns Fund has been successful, granting us £22.9 million, almost all of the £25 million we bid for.

We are absolutely delighted and as one of the first seven towns and cities to receive this, it clearly demonstrates that the government is prioritising our city and has great faith in what we want to achieve.

An artist's impression of how the new Government Hub will look.

The funds are earmarked for five key projects and as we have received nearly the full amount we will be able to progress with most of these. We will now draw up business plans and consult on how to divide the money between the projects.

Projects include the redevelopment of our riverside and embankment to create plenty of green space that’s accessible 12 months a year and a footbridge over the river.

New and improved visitor and cultural attractions, including a new library and cultural facilities for the city, as well as improved visitor attractions.

Developing the Station Quarter by creating a welcoming route from the train station into the city centre and opening up space for new homes and offices.

Building a new enterprise training and business incubation hub to support new city businesses and start-ups, and a training centre for green technology skills.

Creating safer, easily accessible routes for pedestrians and cyclists to the train station and city centre from key sites around the city.

These projects have been specifically designed to increase the wellbeing of residents, boost visitor numbers and adhere to the city’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030.

One regeneration project already up and running is Fletton Quays. It is one of our proudest achievements – we’ve transformed a long-term derelict site into an attractive and thriving area, featuring our council’s offices, hundreds of state-of-the-art apartments and work on the new Hilton hotel is progressing.

The next stage in its development is about to get under way with the creation of a government hub, housing over 1,000 civil servants from the HM Passport Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

This is set to be completed in 2022 and again highlights that our government has great faith in our work to make Peterborough an even greater place to live, work and visit.

Peterborough’s time really is now and we are fully committed to creating a city of growth, prosperity and opportunity.

We’ve taken the decision to open a new temporary car park, giving shoppers, businesses and residents a timely boost.

The short stay car park will open next month replacing the former Northminster multi storey car park, which has been demolished. It will provide space for over 100 vehicles, including disabled parking bays.

We want to ensure there is sufficient parking space in the city centre following the recent closure of the Regional Pool and Wirrina car parks, which have shut as progress on the new university site gathers pace.

The long-term future for Northminster is still to be decided, but I’m sure this short-term solution will be welcome. Our city centre is performing well and has already bounced back to 97 per cent of its footfall (end of August 2020) – well above the national average and we’re determined to help keep it this way.

The issue of free school meals has been in the headlines this week and I want to reiterate our pledge that no family or child will go hungry in Peterborough.

As a council and as an administration, we care deeply about our residents and take seriously our responsibilities to make sure everyone is looked after, particularly families with children.

All those struggling to cope with basic essentials can contact the Peterborough City hub for help and advice on 01733 747474.

With winter approaching, it is becoming increasingly crucial for everyone to follow health and safety advice to control the spread of Covid-19.

Although Peterborough currently remains in the lowest tier level, we would urge everyone to limit household mixing and self-isolate if you have virus symptoms. We don’t want to move up a tier level or risk another lockdown.

As ever you can rest assured that we will continue to work hard to keep you safe and to keep the city moving forward.

The pandemic has affected many celebrations this year and with Halloween approaching, we are asking people to consider doing things a bit differently.

We’ve launched a campaign on social media called #DoHalloweenDifferently giving residents fun ideas they can enjoy safely outdoors or at home, rather than going out trick or treating.

The fewer people you come into contact with the lesser the chance of you catching and spreading the virus, so follow the #DoHalloweenDifferently campaign for ideas throughout the week.