“As you know, the council is focused on the city’s continued growth, which means making continual improvements so that Peterborough is a great place to live, work and visit,” writes Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich.
“One of the most obvious ways to do that is to keep the city looking its best. That’s why we’ve invested in new street cleaning equipment which you’ll see in operation right across the city.
“Five new ‘Glutton’ waste collection machines are now in use, which can do five times more cleaning than an operative with a waste cart and broom.
“These will be based in places such as Central ward, Bretton and city parks as well as the city centre. We have also funded six new compact sweepers, which use much less fuel than standard sweepers.
“We look to recycle as much of the litter that is picked up off the street or that is emptied from pavement bins as possible. In total about 80 per cent is recycled – and all the rest is turned into electricity at recovery facilities.
“Another part of this commitment is the ongoing investment in the city centre, and it was a real pleasure to be part of the formal opening of Green Square on Long Causeway this week.
“The new square features a granite floor design celebrating the poetry of John Clare, with benches engraved with poems written by local schoolchildren.
“Green Square is already doing what it was intended for – encouraging people to stop for a break in this part of the city centre. The more we make our city a pleasant place to spend some time in, the more it will attract new businesses and visitors.
“The fact that we’ve already attracted a large number of national brands to the city just goes to show that our approach is working. In fact our current shop vacancy rate is around 7 per cent compared to the national average of 13 per cent.
“With the likes of Wagamama and Côte now looking at Peterborough for their latest restaurants, we hope that rate will drop further.
“So Peterborough is increasingly becoming a smart city… in more ways than one. We’re not just looking good; we’re leading the way from a technology perspective. That’s why we were selected last month as Smart City of the Year 2015 – competing with cities across the globe!
“The city has a huge opportunity to become a UK centre for digital technology. We already have some major brands in this space based here, including Kelway, Bauer Media, comparethemarket.com, ABAX and Mondago.
“That’s not to mention the hundreds of digital micro and start-up companies based here.
“You may have seen the news that we are outperforming Cambridge on salary growth, thanks to the rise in technology roles in the city.
“Peterborough is already focused on growing its own technology experts through events like this weekend’s student ‘hackathon’ at the Future Business Centre, and encouraging innovation within schools and colleges.
“If we can build up a community of future technology leaders, we can attract more businesses to take advantage of our superfast fibre network, fantastic business location and excellent people.
“This is the thinking behind our Digital City programme, which launched this month. By highlighting our strengths to companies across the UK – and beyond – we plan to attract new businesses and investment to support our dynamic and vibrant city.”