Opinion: Look around you - our city really is on the up

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Peterborough City Council leader, Wayne Fitzgerald, gives a Town Hall view in his latest column.

Regular readers will know how excited I am about Peterborough’s rapid ongoing development, which will create an even better city with opportunities for all.

We’re already a place on the up - people want to live, work and play here with data from the 2021 Census showing we’re one of the fastest growing cities in the UK.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When you walk around our city centre you see progress actively happening with Fletton Quays, the new Hilton Hotel and University buildings dramatically changing our skyline.

The ARU  Peterborough University  site at Bishop's Road - part of Peterborough changing skylineThe ARU  Peterborough University  site at Bishop's Road - part of Peterborough changing skyline
The ARU Peterborough University site at Bishop's Road - part of Peterborough changing skyline

These developments are creating opportunities for businesses, and unemployment has been low for some time.

I’m particularly proud that new companies want to start up here - whenever I look at the business pages of the Peterborough Telegraph there’s always news about a new firm or jobs being created.

However, with expansion comes challenges and we must make sure that the right support is in place to help companies develop and grow.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On that note, I’m delighted that our partners Opportunity Peterborough are making the case for setting up a digital incubator to help support small digital businesses and grow the city’s digital economy.

A business incubator provides specialist support such as coaching, networking, and access to investment, that can help start-ups and entrepreneurs build their businesses faster and better, increasing competitiveness and supporting greater job creation.

This is something we will look to move forward and ties in with our plans for several city centre regeneration sites have included support for digital businesses.

Buoyant night time economy

Peterborough already has a resilient and growing economy and a digital incubator would boost our future growth, so watch this space.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Footfall and spending levels in our city centre have recovered well from Covid and we’re confident this will continue with our regeneration and the opening of the new market in Bridge Street very soon.

Our night time economy also remains buoyant, with a recent study showing that our bars, clubs and restaurants are bucking national trends and attracting higher footfall than before Covid and above average figures compared to other UK cities.

A few years ago people used to say that our city centre shut down at 6pm, but these days it’s thriving and a great place for a night out.

When you consider the number of new homes being built in the city centre along with the opening of the new university bringing hundreds of students to the city, you can see that there are plenty of reasons for this growth to continue.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Shape university development

Not only will the university bring new people to our city when it opens next month, but it will also create a whole host of opportunities for everyone for years to come.

You can play a part in shaping the university’s development, with a consultation on plans for a second building at the site featuring a ‘Living Lab’ science centre currently under way.

The proposed development would form a third phase at the ARU Peterborough University campus, next to the first teaching building which opens in September. The ‘Living Lab’ will offer an interactive science centre and education space to actively engage people in science and technology. It’s also planned to host events, exhibitions and flexible learning.

The consultation runs until August 22 ahead of submission for a planning application next month.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Families are invited to a special fun day at ARU Peterborough on Saturday August 20 from 10am to 1pm, featuring activities, food, live music and tours of the new university.

Nominate unsung hero for Civic Award

Do you know an unsung hero who doesn’t always get the recognition they deserve? If so, why not enter them for a Peterborough Civic Award.

There are seven award categories - Young Person (18 and under), Lifetime Achievement, Community Involvement, Business, Outstanding Commitment to the Environment, Contribution to Art and Culture and Contribution to Sport.

The forms are also available from the Civic Office - please ask for an officer at the Town Hall Reception in Bridge Street. Nominations can be made until 5pm on 31 October.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I’ve been enjoying the prolonged warm weather of late, although many lawns, parks and open spaces could do with some rain.

However, on a serious note the next few days look like a return to the heatwave conditions of a few weeks ago so once again (although not quite as extreme), so we’re urging people to be cautious.

The top ways for staying safe are to close curtains and windows during the day, drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol and try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest. If you need to go outside, walk in the shade, use sunscreen, cover up with clothing and wear a wide-brimmed hat.

Going for a swim can provide a bit of welcome relief from the heat, so don’t forget that the Lido is open all summer.