Last Wednesday night saw our budget for the next financial year and proposed 5.99 per cent council tax rise (including an Adult Social Care precept of three per cent) approved at full council following debate.
As I have previously stated, due to substantial cuts in funding from central government we are in a position where we have to make difficult decisions.
However, we have worked hard to ensure that vital frontline services such as adult and child social care, waste disposal, libraries, winter gritting, trading standards and prevention and enforcement are maintained.
The decisions that were made around the budget in this meeting will ensure we are in a good position to deal with the financial challenges that will come our way throughout 2018/19 and beyond.
I would like to thank everyone who made their views known during our budget consultation and those of you who attended in the temporary public gallery or watched online.
For those of you who watched the meeting, you may have observed some heated discussion between councillors.
Whilst I accept that emotions were running high I abhor bad behaviour and have asked for our Chief Executive to call all group leaders together to discuss ways to ensure this does not happen again.
I am delighted to announce that Fletton Quays has been shortlisted for three accolades at The Planning Awards, which take place in London on June 6.
It will be in the running for; Best Partnership Working, Best Mixed Use Development and Best Use of Brownfield Land.
I can also confirm that Peterborough’s rich rail and wildlife heritages are being celebrated in the names selected for buildings and roads on the site.
The new office accommodation for Peterborough City Council, previously revealed as Sand Martin House, will sit on Bittern Way, named after the bird and the A4 class No. 4464 Bittern steam locomotive which ran on the East Coast Main Line through Peterborough in the mid-20th century.
Additionally, there will be a Merlin Drive and The Mill, which will be an arts and culture hub, will be on Mayflower Close, named after the B1 class engine, which was frequently seen passing through the city in post war years.
I was also pleased to hear that Peterborough has been included in the World Economic Forum’s White Paper on Circular Economy in Cities.
The Circular Economy promotes making the most effective use of resources, reducing waste and building stronger businesses and communities as a result.
The Circular Peterborough Commitmen is recognised in the paper for bringing businesses together to develop ideas and encourage a more sustainable approach to business.
This comes off the back of the city being named as the second most innovative place in the country following a study by City AM.
On Tuesday the first bricks of 29 new homes being built in Midland Road were laid.
These properties are being built by Medesham Homes, a joint development company operated by the council and Cross Keys Homes, which will help reduce the number of homeless families in bed and breakfasts.
Finally, I am also delighted to announce that the council has been chosen to participate in an important national programme with the Government to help shape integration and community cohesion across the country.
We will be working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to pilot new ways of achieving genuine integration in support of the imminent publication of an Integrated Communities Green Paper.
This is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our own successful work such as our Syrian Refugee resettlement programme and also learn from national and international organisations to enhance our efforts.