Cllr John Holdich, Peterborough City Council leader:
Using the internet and accessing services online is now a big part of many people’s everyday lives, but not everyone can use computers and smartphones as confidently as they would like.
You might not know, but many of our services including council tax, business rates, blue badges, parking permits, as well as school and community transport, can now be accessed via our council website www.peterborough.gov.uk.
And to make sure as many people as possible can use these we have set up new Digital Inclusion sessions.
On Friday I visited Werrington Library to see one of these workshops take place.
The free sessions are being held at various community centres and libraries and are open to all city residents.
The digital inclusion officers delivering the training are friendly, knowledgeable and very patient, so everyone can learn at their own pace.
The feedback we’ve received about them from former students has been hugely positive and hundreds of residents have benefited already. For more information about accessing free digital training and advice please visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/digital.
You may have seen in the news last week that 18 people caught cycling down Bridge Street appeared before the courts and were each ordered to pay more than £400.
The city centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) has had a positive effect and you generally see less people cycling in Bridge Street than you did before it was introduced.
It was set up because cycling had become a real problem in Bridge Street and several near misses involving pedestrians had been reported to us.
Most cyclists when stopped by officers will pay the £80 Fixed Penalty Notice straight away, but these 18 offenders didn’t and the financial difference in penalty they received was huge.
We don’t like taking people to the courts, but it wouldn’t be fair on those who paid their fines on time to let those who didn’t off the hook.
The simplest thing to do to however, is to get off your bike and walk the short distance before pedalling again.
With council and parish elections just around the corner, residents should ensure that they are on the electoral register.
Registered voters will elect 18 city ward councillors on Thursday 3 May 2018 in the following wards: Bretton, Central, Dogsthorpe, East, Eye, Thorney and Newborough, Fletton and Stanground, Fletton and Woodston, Gunthorpe, Hampton Vale, Hargate and Hempsted, North, Orton Longueville, Orton Waterville, Park, Paston and Walton, Ravensthorpe, Stanground South, Werrington.
Parish council elections will also be held in Ailsworth, Castor, Glinton, Marholm, Newborough and Borough Fen, Peakirk, Sutton, Thorney, Thornhaugh, Wansford and Wittering.
Residents have until Tuesday, 17 April to make sure they are registered. Anyone not on the register by then will not be able to vote. People often think they’re automatically registered if they pay council tax, but that isn’t the case. The fastest way to register to vote is online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Yesterday I attended the launch of a City Fibre initiative at the Town Hall which will see the city benefit from a roll-out of full fibre infrastructure. Put simply this will mean ultrafast and reliable broadband services based on fibre optic cables, delivering fibre to each premises with no copper telephone wire to slow down connections.
We are the third city to benefit from this and will soon be a truly Gigabit city.
This has become a platform for our Smart City initiatives, helps us to attract businesses and develop our emerging tech sector. With this extension of the project, the full benefits will soon be felt by everyone who lives and works in the city.