Opinion: ‘Work starts to fulfil my promises’

Peterborough City Council leader Wayne Fitzgerald gives his view on the council and news and issues affecting you...

Sunday, 6th June 2021, 12:00 pm
St Peter's Arcade off Bridge Street.
St Peter's Arcade off Bridge Street.

It’s been a busy first week in my new role as council leader and I am already making good on the first of my election promises.

By this weekend, St Peter’s Arcade in the city centre should be open once again.

I had promised that, subject to all the necessary health and safety checks, this would be done as soon as possible.

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So, barring any last-minute hitches, this will be done and the benefits to everyone will be obvious, particularly for people with limited mobility who told us how difficult it was for them when we had to close it during the pandemic.

One of our main priorities is getting us all back to a more normal way of life as quickly as possible, but whilst it is vitally important that we open up our great city, we mustn’t forget that we are still fighting this pandemic. I am fully committed to making sure that our actions do not set the city back, and I would urge you to remember that getting back to a normal and prosperous life still depends on us all doing the right things; remembering hands, face and space.

It’s still safer to meet outdoors, and in a city with so many outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues that can still be a pleasure.

As part of the council’s fantastic response to keeping people safe during the last 16 months or so, we have actively worked to support individuals and employers in our communities. I am immensely proud of this work and we will continue to do what we can to help.

We’ve also been at the forefront of identifying and drawing down additional support from government. Only last week, our ‘Enduring transmission’ pilot was announced by national government, which will help reduce virus transmissions in areas of our city where Covid rates remain stubbornly high.

We fought for this scheme, alongside colleagues in Fenland and South Holland, who share with us an employ-ment profile which makes it very difficult for some people to self-isolate properly if they come into contact with the virus.

Another much-heralded promise that I made when coming into office was to do everything in my power to make Peterborough a cleaner, brighter environment.

On that note, I am delighted to say that we are making good progress to reintroduce free bulky waste collections.

This is just one of several measures we plan to introduce to get on top of fly-tipping, which I know is a big concern for many residents.

We are currently working on setting up an easy and convenient booking system which will be in place hopefully by early autumn.

Everything I am aiming to do as council leader is focussed on improving things for residents, local businesses and visitors.

With that in mind, I want to hear more directly from you about your concerns and to give people a more direct route to talk to me and my cabinet team on a regular basis.

So, later this month I am beginning a regular ‘Ask the Leader’ online meeting, 
where people can put questions directly to me, tell me their concerns or ask questions about things happening where they live, and I will in-
vite other people to come along to directly answer.

This is planned to happen on the last Tuesday of every month, taking place in the early evening to give people time to get home from work and have their tea. We’ll announce full details in due course, but you can send your questions, if you’d like to take part, to [email protected] and we will send you a link to the meeting.

If you can’t make it, I can still answer your questions and the meeting will be recorded and posted on the council’s website.

This session is firmly for residents or local businesses. We hold other meetings throughout the year where the council’s politics are debated, and if your question is political in nature and if you want to hold politicians of any party to account, I invite and welcome you putting your questions to full council.

Ask the Leader is intended to be more informal and welcoming to those who’ve possibly never attended a council meeting but want to en-
gage in issues that affect their everyday lives.

I look forward to hearing from you.