Park is flying the flag for the city

John Holdich
John Holdich

A t Monday’s council cabinet meeting members took the innovative decision to set up a new Local Authority Trading Company, writes Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich.

As mentioned in last week’s column, our plan is for this new company to take control of important services like waste and recycling, street cleaning, and our parks and open spaces from February next year.

By bringing these services in house it will give the council far greater control over the performance and quality of waste services. It will save us money and deliver better services.

So what will this mean for you?

Well, residents will notice an improvement in the look and feel of the communities around you - services such as grass cutting, waste, flytipping and our open spaces will be enhanced, which is positive news indeed.

On the subject of open spaces, I was absolutely delighted to hear that Central Park has been awarded a prestigious Green Flag award for the 16th year in a row.

The international award is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.

We are committed to creating a greener city and becoming the UK’s first Environment Capital, so this is an achievement that we are extremely proud of.

I’d like to give our maintenance teams a good pat on the back for their hard work to ensure that this much-loved facility is among the very best in the country.

I was also pleased to hear how well Peterborough performed in a national report comparing local authority health services.

Public Health England recently published the 2016/17 ‘Public Health Dashboard’ which rates councils on how they deliver preventative local health services for 0-5 year olds, child obesity, drug and alcohol misuse treatment, tobacco control, NHS health checks, sexual health services and air quality.

The dashboard gives authorities a ranking for each service area and shows how it compares nationally and with similar local authorities, based on information from 2016/17. Similar local authorities to Peterborough include Thurrock, Milton Keynes, Swindon, Bolton and Oldham.

We were rated in the “best” category nationally for drug treatments, sexual and reproductive health services and air pollution, ranking fourth and first and first out of 16 similar councils respectively.

The council is also ‘better than average’ for childhood obesity (fifth), NHS health checks (seventh) and tobacco control (sixth) out of 16 similar councils.

The report recognises that we do have work to do when it comes to ‘best start in life’ services, however, progress is already being made in this area.

Work to revamp Bourges Boulevard in the city centre will shortly be at end, music to the ears of many motorists I am sure!

The final phase of work will see the road re-surfaced over the next two weeks, with overnight road closures taking place.

This is being done to avoid inconvenience, however some disruption is expected, so please plan your journeys accordingly and check for 
travel updates where possible.

The project has seen ramped access to the Network Rail car park created, as well as a right turn lane and a pedestrian crossing.

The car park has also been enhanced, with new parking spaces created, along with a footpath and verge.

This work was always a case of short-term pain for long-term gain and our maintenance teams should be congratulated for keeping this vital project on schedule.

Another big thank you to everyone who organised the Food and Music Festival at the City Market on Saturday.

Everyone who I know that attended had a wonderful time, so hopefully it will become a regular fixture.