Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich:
Last week we launched a consultation on the second part of our budget for the next financial year, outlining how we plan to deliver savings against a severely challenging backdrop.
Continued reductions to the council’s revenue support grant from central government, inflation and huge demand pressures mean we are being asked to do much more, with much less money.
I know people have been astounded by the sums we currently spend on adult social care (£67.7 million) but that’s because the demand for this is rising due to an ageing population, and protecting vulnerable people is a priority for us.
We make no bones about it, the challenges facing us are substantial. But, as the budget proposals outline, we are actively working to make savings whilst focusing on what really matters - protecting vulnerable people and prioritising spending on areas that will ensure Peterborough continues to be a place to be proud of. We plan to make savings through closer working with Cambridgeshire County Council and other local authorities, transferring more assets into community ownership and making changes to the support we provide to city residents.
Please don’t miss the chance to have your say on our proposals. You can do this by reading the Tranche Two budget document and completing an online consultation questionnaire.
Hard copies of the budget proposals document and questionnaire will be available at Town Hall and Bayard Place receptions, and in each of the city’s libraries. The deadline for responses is 5pm on November 30.
Earlier this year we announced our initial plans to redevelop North Westgate, with a concept scheme developed by Norr Architects.
I’m pleased to report that progress is continuing at pace, with local firms LDA Design and Barker Storey Matthews offering their expertise to help us move forward. The next stage of the process will see a council-led design workshop take place in November, to which all major landowners will be invited. We will work together to reach an agreement on the site’s key components and draw up a development programme.
Street homelessness is an issue that has increased in recent years and something we are actively working to address. Yesterday we launched a new campaign called ‘Safer Off the Streets’ aimed at ending street homelessness in the city once and for all.
The scheme features a number of initiatives, including a new contactless card window which will be placed outside the Argo Lounge in St Peter’s Arcade, allowing people to make instant £3 donations. A website will be set up (www.saferoffthestreets.co.uk) where donations can also be made, and collection boxes will be placed in city centre locations. We do not want people to suffer on our streets, we want to help them rebuild their lives, and gain homes and jobs.
We also realise that members of the public want to help too, but may have been unsure how to go about this. That’s why I think this campaign is a fantastic idea - it gives people clear and practical ways to help, and I’m confident it will make a positive difference.
On Saturday I enjoyed a trip to Meadow Lane football stadium in Nottingham as a special guest of the Football Association, to watch the Women’s International friendly between England and Brazil. It was a cracking game, and I dare say the entertainment was better than Posh produced that day!
I was invited as part of our city’s bid to host Women’s European Championship matches at the ABAX Stadium in 2021.
Peterborough has already been successful in its bid with the FA to be one of the eight host cities for the championships, we are now waiting on the bid that UEFA have received from the FA to be the host country and will find out the result in December. This would be a tremendous achievement for the city.