Opinion: 'Seek out the city’s hidden treasures' writes council leader Wayne Fitzgerald

Regular readers will be aware of how excited I am about the many appealing activities happening in Peterborough this summer, writes city council leader Wayne Fitzgerald.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 30th July 2022, 5:00 am
Holywell Ponds Spring
Holywell Ponds Spring

As well as a busy summer of events, don’t forget that Peterborough is also home to some real hidden treasures which we sometimes take for granted.

One such example is Holywell Ponds in Longthorpe which I visited recently. The site is steeped in history and has the best remaining examples of medieval fish ponds in the local area.

The seven ponds used to form part of the estate of Thorpe Hall and provided the Lord and his family with a constant supply of fresh fish. Inside a small grotto in the corner of the site there is a natural spring that feeds the first pond then the water flows from one pond to another around the site.

The ponds are set in several acres of grassland and in one corner of the site, a group of wildlife enthusiasts – The Friends of Holywell Ponds - are attempting to establish a wildflower meadow. It’s well worth a visit especially at this time of year with everything in full in bloom.

The Friends of Holywell Ponds have applied for funding from the councils’ Community Leadership Fund which enables city councillors to support projects which will have positive impacts within their wards.

You can find out more about the Community Leadership Fund and how to apply for funding here.

Green Flag Award

On the subject of local beauty spots, I was delighted to hear that three of Peterborough’s parks have retained the prestigious Green Flag Award.

Central Park, Itter Park and Manor Farm Park in Eye have all secured the much sought-after accolade once again, marking them out as some of the best open spaces in the country.

For Central Park, it is the 20 the consecutive year that the park has held the award, which is some achievement although I’m not really surprised considering it’s such a lovely place to visit.

The awards are testament to the hard work of the teams at Aragon, who despite severe budget challenges have maintained these vital and award-winning spaces – so a big thanks to everyone involved.

Helping homeless people in Peterborough is something that the council is fully committed to doing.

For many low-income homeless families, the cost of moving to private rented accommodation prevents them from moving into a more long-term home. This is because the gap between local housing allowance grants and market rents has widened both locally and nationally in recent years.

We’re currently looking for landlords with three and four bedroom properties to help us house homeless families. We already work successfully with over 40 different landlords in the city since we started our Landlord Incentive Scheme back in 2019 to give homeowners the peace of mind they need.

By working with us you can put your property to good use to help our city’s community, by offering a home for a homeless family – while getting a steady market rent and support from the city council.

To find out more about the landlord incentive scheme and how to get involved email [email protected]

All out elections

Finally, we’re inviting residents to have your say on plans to hold “all out” city council elections every four years instead of the current system of elections by thirds.

We’ve launched a public consultation over the proposals, which runs until Monday 19 September and would like to hear from as many people as possible.

Further information about the consultation is available on our website where you can also access the online form.

Hard copies of the consultation paper will be available from Town Hall and SMH receptions and all libraries.