Let’s stand up for Peterborough

Cllr John Holdich
Cllr John Holdich
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Last week I launched a campaign calling for the support of as many people in the city as possible as we lobby the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for fairer funding in order to protect frontline services, writes Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich.

It’s early days, but I am really impressed with the support we have received so far from city leaders and residents who have said they want to Stand Up For Peterborough and protect our vital services.

As of yesterday, we had received more than 75 pledges of support which included comments such as ‘I am supporting this campaign as I know how stretched services are in Peterborough’, ‘Help save Peterborough before it goes under - such a lot to be proud of but it’s now really buckling under the huge strain of such a growing population’ and ‘Peterborough is a great city and we need more funding to keep it that way’.

Many of the comments are heartening to read, as they demonstrate how proud people are of our city. However they all recognise, like me, that we cannot get by with the same level of funding that we currently receive and that if we don’t receive a fairer share the city will suffer. We’ve also had some great support from city leaders - MP Shailesh Vara will be taking the campaign to the highest level possible, whilst MP Fiona Onasanya has said she will do all she can to achieve fairer funding.

Their links with those who hold the purse strings in Westminster are crucial if our campaign is to be a success. A highlight of last week was taking the campaign to a national audience, when I was interviewed as part of the budget coverage on BBC News. It was a great opportunity for me to explain the impact that ever reducing government funding could have on our city and the services we are able to provide.

We’ve also had good support from the local media, including the Peterborough Telegraph. I agree with the editor’s comment from last week, that we are not the only council with its cap in hand. But as he says, we all need to bang the drum for the city and work hard to make DCLG look again at its funding levels. If you’ve not done so already, you can support Stand Up For Peterborough by posting a comment on our website at www.peterborough.gov.uk/StandUpForPeterborough or by writing to me at the Town Hall, Bridge Street, Peterborough, PE1 1HL. You can also keep up to date with the campaign by following @PeterboroughCC on Twitter and on Facebook.

From December we’ll be offering free bulky waste collections to see if doing so reduces fly-tipping and encourages people to dispose of their waste responsibly.

The three month trial begins on 11 December, with people being able to book collections from Monday (4 December). The trial is limited to one free collection per household, of up to 10 items, on a first come first served basis.

Fly-tipping ruins the look of our city, poses a fire risk and costs the council and city money that could be much better spent on providing services. Offering free bulky waste collections may be a solution, so we have to give it a go. To book a collection call 01733 747474 from Monday. Please call us too if you spot flytipping, in particular if you catch people in the act, providing as much information as possible.

It’s certainly been colder than previous Novembers on record. Public Health England has issued its usual advice around keeping safe and well this winter, particularly for those who are elderly or have a long-term health condition. There are a number of things these groups can do to protect themselves, including heating their home to at least 18°C, getting medicine at the first sign of a cough or cold, and taking advantage of the free flu vaccination. I think we all have a part to play too in keeping an eye out for people who might be more at risk. If you live next door to someone who is elderly or unwell, or have a relative or friend who is, keep a close eye on them. You might just save their life this winter.