Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich:
Regular readers of this column will know that fly-tipping is a big bugbear of mine.
Fly-tipping blights our communities, impacts on the environment and is completely unnecessary. Waste can be easily collected or disposed of in our city at our household recycling centre.
One aspect of the law which is causing problems when it comes to fly-tipping is the fact that if someone fly-tips on private land, it is currently the landowner’s responsibility to clear up the mess left behind.
This has always seemed unfair - obviously it’s not their fault and they may not have the means or the time to remove it themselves.
In many cases the land owner ends up forking out for someone to remove the fly-tip for them, and if they don’t they’re left facing a heavy fine.
The Community Land Association (CLA) is campaigning to get this law changed and propose removing this liability for land owners and allowing them to dispose of fly-tips for free at a waste disposal site. We fully support this campaign and will do everything we can to help local people keep Peterborough clean.
We are committed to tackling fly-tipping locally and have set up a cross-party working group to review all of our fly-tipping policies and look at new solutions. The group will hold its first meeting in September and I’ll keep you updated on progress.
As the fourth fastest growing city in the country, the need to build new homes is an urgent one. Over the past few months the council along with the combined authority, have been looking at effective ways of providing affordable homes in terms of cost, quality and speed of construction.
Our research has taken us all over Europe and should prove invaluable as we look to continue to build new homes across the city.
Last week myself and Councillor Peter Hiller, who is a director of Medesham Homes, paid a visit to Lesko Modular Housing in Orton Southgate.
Modular homes are houses which are built off-site then transported to a location and assembled there. Our visit to Lesko Housing gave us much food for thought, modular homes are a potentially effective solution to new houses in the future. The added bonus is that the company is local and employs local people.
You may be aware that it’s National Allotment Week this week and as part of the celebration, allotments up and down the land are opening their gates to the public. Here in Peterborough, we have a unique project aimed at bringing the community together to grow produce. The Green Backyard scheme has been successfully running from a site in London Road since 2009.
The project sees people come together not only to grow produce but hold demonstrations, workshops and various events throughout the year. It’s well worth a visit and they are currently looking for volunteers. For more information visit www.thegreenbackyard.com.
Last week I had the pleasure of seeing an exhibition at Peterborough Cathedral which was out of this world - quite literally in fact!
The historic venue is currently playing host to the Soyuz spacecraft which transported British astronaut Tim Peake back to Earth following his mission to the International Space Station in 2016. This is a tremendous coup for Peterborough and I have no doubt will attract scores of visitors to the city. Tim Peake was at the Cathedral on Friday night for the exhibition launch and you can watch film footage of this on our social media channels.
The spacecraft is on display until November 5, and the exhibition also includes a virtual reality adventure experience, which is available to anyone aged 13 and over. Admission is free and I would thoroughly recommend a visit. For more information visit www.visitpeterborough.com.
Finally I am writing this column ahead of A-level results day, so I would like to wish every single student the very best of luck!