Helping Peterborough join the Premier League

What’s the difference between a Premier League team and one languishing in Division One? Writes leader of the Labour group on Peterborough City Council Shaz Nawaz.

Saturday, 26th January 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:16 pm
Cllr Nawaz

Is it the sponsorship? The brand awareness? The size of its budgets? The flamboyance and skill of its leadership? The enthusiasm of its supporters? Or is it something as simple as the assets it possesses?

The Labour Group believes that Peterborough should aspire to join the Premier League of English cities, mentioned in the same breath as Manchester, London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Newcastle and Leeds. It should be on the list of places that people will come to build their dreams.

In order to get there, the Labour Group and I believe we need the following:

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. A proper conference centre – our geographical location and proximity to fast rail links should enable this to be successful.

. A sizeable theatre – Yes, theatres in our area have had difficulties, but we should learn from the experience of vastly smaller towns like Chichester to lure major celebrities.

. Better leisure facilities – The Labour Group will work with Vivacity’s new management to improve the current offering. We will maximise future opportunities to ensure the city offers people better options.

. An upgraded museum – one which reflects the size of our growing city and celebrates its history.

. A leading university which has a clear mission to simultaneously support local students and attract scholars from all over the country.

We will develop a niche for the city which will transform our prospects: this will be unveiled in our manifesto in the coming months. We must build on our local strengths and build key assets which will help us accelerate growth. One of our aims also is to make Peterborough renowned for an industry: just as Sheffield is associated with steel, and London is thought of as a centre of finance, so too Peterborough should be recognised for a particular strength.

The attempt to make us a “green capital” has been half-hearted at best; it’s proven that words are nothing without continued commitment.

Furthermore, in order to facilitate growth, we will unlock strategic development sites. We will also explore ways to ensure that Peterborough’s infrastructure is fit for purpose, specifically, so it is prepared to accommodate the city’s continued expansion. Our economic plans are primarily focussed on supporting local businesses and ensuring there is a suitable economic climate for new local firms to develop and grow.

Developing our assets and building recognisable institutions will help us to instil pride. Few things are more concerning when I encounter people who are from Peterborough who find it easier to tell people that they either come from Cambridgeshire or use another frame of reference which is better known than the city itself. The name of Peterborough should bring to mind more landmarks than the usual suspects; it should be recognised throughout the world for an industry and its institutions. With a vision and coherent plans, we can do better: Peterborough can and will join the Premier League.