Go ahead for 5,000 home in Peterborough ‘welcome news’

Cllr John Holdich
Cllr John Holdich
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Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich:

The news that our Children’s Services department has been rated as ‘Good’ by Ofsted inspectors comes as music to my ears.

The latest rating, following a three week inspection last month, represents significant progress on its previous ranking in 2015 when it was deemed to be ‘Requiring Improvement’.

The inspectors said services for children who need help and protection, children in care and those leaving care was good, that leadership was good and they gave an overall rating of Good for the effectiveness of children’s services.

They also praised the ‘stable and effective senior leadership team which has driven improvement at pace,’ with a ‘strong learning culture’.

Every single member of the department should be feeling proud of themselves right now because they have worked their socks off over the past three years to improve.

In fact, if you go further back to 2011, the department was rated as ‘Inadequate’ so the change in fortunes has been dramatic in a relatively short space of time.

I know that the team are already continuing to strive for better, so I’m confident that come the next Ofsted inspection we’ll be looking at an ‘Outstanding’ rating.

Safeguarding vulnerable children is one of the council’s priorities and rest assured we are fully committed to doing this.

I regularly champion the need to build new homes in the city, so the news that planning permission has been issued for the Great Haddon development was welcome indeed.

It means that 5,350 homes, new schools and community facilities will be built over the coming years.

While it’s too early to say when Great Haddon will be complete, we can now look forward to the developers drawing up detailed plans for the site, which has been earmarked for housing for several years.

To cut a very long story short, two of the three landowners have now agreed to a section 106 agreement requiring them to deliver specific community and highways infrastructure at set times throughout the development programme.

As the fourth fastest growing city in the country we are actively working to meet high housing demand and consistently completing around 1,000 homes a year.

This level of building enhances our city, as it allows it to grow and develop. But only if we receive contributions from developers to ensure we have enough infrastructure, like schools, roads and community buildings to support these homes. That is why it was so important that we achieved this section 106 agreement.

Our classic car and vintage vehicle festival is now only a few weeks away - where does the time go?

Visitors from all over the region are expected to flock to the city’s Embankment on September 1 and 2 to admire the many wheeled wonders on display.

Event organisers would now like to hear from anyone interested in having a stall there.

Ideally this would suit car enthusiasts with any car-related items or merchandise, but stalls selling general items with a vintage or retro theme are also welcome.

There is also still time for anyone interested in registering a car for display at the event to sign up.

If you’re interested in exhibiting or trading at the event please contact Melissa Butcher by emailing melissa.butcher@peterborough.gov.uk

Late on Thursday night our party candidate Gavin Elsey was elected as a councillor for Orton Longueville following a by-election.

I would like to thank Gavin for his efforts campaigning for the seat and I know he will work tirelessly for the ward’s residents.

Thanks also to everyone who administered the election and, of course, to those who voted.

Our administration will continue to work hard to deliver services for the city’s residents.

I love a good statistic, especially one that comes as a pleasant surprise.

Figures we recently submitted to the Department of Transport show that the total number of bus pass holders in the city during 2017/18 was 26,854, which is split between 23,182 senior passes and 3,672 for disabled and partially sighted residents.

More interesting is the total number of concessionary bus pass journeys for that year - 2,619,444 - which is a huge amount for a relatively small sized city.

It goes to show how well-valued our buses are and ties in with our commitment to be an environmentally friendly city.

On the subject of which, we are working with PECT to plant a tree for every resident in Peterborough. The Forest for Peterborough project aims to plant 230,000 trees, the expected population of Peterborough by 2030.

To date the charity has planted over 106,000 trees and are now giving away free trees for residents to plant in their gardens.

Free Trees are being given away at a number of events across the city over the coming months including the PECT Green Festival, which is taking place at Nene Park on Saturday.

For further details on how to get involved visit www.pect.org.uk