In areas of the city that have Lib Dem councillors, people tell us that it is only the Liberal Democrats who work all the year round, keep people in touch with what the council is doing, and most importantly seek people’s views and act on what we are told, writes leader of the Lib Dem group on Peterborough City Council Cllr Nick Sandford.
With a few notable exceptions, the story we hear again and again is of Labour and Tory councillors who only contact their voters in April when there is a council election and they want their vote.
People also tell us about the way the council behaves towards its citizens. Consulting people but not listening to what they say, and wasting millions on grandiose Tory pet projects in the city centre. This was summed up for me a few weeks back whilst walking down Bridge Street when, in the space of half an hour, I saw a man from Kingdom (the enforcement firm the council employs on generous rates of commission) issuing fixed penalty notices to an elderly man who was cycling slowly along, and to a mother and small child, who presumably had been dropping a toffee paper.
My thoughts turned to my ward, in Paston, where in some areas furniture and other rubbish is left dumped in the streets for weeks: eventually we complain and the council clears it up, but I never hear of any enforcement action being taken against the culprits.
The fact is, most Peterborough people live in areas like Paston, Walton, Gunthorpe, Stanground, Fletton and the Hamptons and not in the city centre.
We want to see council enforcement officers working and based in areas like these where anti-social behaviour blights the lives of many hardworking local people.
People say that they are fed up of reading about the yah boo adversarial politics in the council chamber. We have proposed changes to the way the council works (bringing in committee based decision making) so that all councillors have a real role in decision making and are encouraged to work together, for the benefit of the people we all represent.
We need to get real about protecting our environment. For a low lying city like Peterborough, climate change is a real and imminent threat and needs to be tackled.
For a fast growing city like Peterborough, air pollution is going to get steadily worse unless we do more to reverse the growth in car usage, improve public transport and encourage more walking and cycling and more electric and hybrid vehicles.
This year, voting for the Liberal Democrats is a real option for everyone in Peterborough.
For the first time since the party was formed 30 years ago, Lib Dems have a candidate in every council ward in Peterborough. Even if we don’t win control of the city council, we could at least have a decisive influence in determining who does and how they run our city.
We really do want to do politics differently.
To find out more, and read our manifesto, please go to www.peterboroughlibdems.org.uk.