“Something that I believe will make a noticeable difference to our city over the coming years is the introduction of a selective licensing scheme. As you know we went out to consultation on new proposals in October and it came to an end this week,” writes John Holdich, leader of Peterborough CVity Council.
“Designed to protect vulnerable tenants in our city and support good landlords, the scheme will require property landlords in a number of city wards to apply for a licence.
“As part of the consultation we held a number of public events to hear people’s thoughts on the proposals and listen to any ideas they might have had. We also sent letters to around 40,000 residents, landlords and businesses. In total we’ve heard from well over 1,000 people.
“The next stage is for one of our scrutiny committees to give their comments and recommendations on the changes we’ve made to our proposed scheme following the consultation.
“This is an important initiative which will tackle poor living conditions, overcrowding and rogue landlords that operate in our city. We have also been working with the many good landlords in the city to ensure they have the support they need to tackle anti-social tenants.
“Under the scheme, landlords would have to buy a licence to rent out their property in certain areas of the city. If the landlord has been professionally accredited the fee would be £50 for five years. If they aren’t accredited the fee would rise to £600 for the same period, the equivalent of £10 per month.
“The scheme will last for five years and a new one would have to be proposed if we needed to continue it beyond this.
“In total, if approved over the coming months, the scheme will cover over 6,000 properties in 356 city streets across Peterborough. Or around 38 per cent of the city’s private rented stock.
“All areas proposed had a certain level of private rented accommodation and met at least five or all six of the criteria set out within The Housing Act – that included high levels of migration, anti-social behaviour and poor property conditions.
“I am determined to drive up living standards in areas of the city and, if approved, we will prosecute landlords who do not meet the standards set out in our selective licensing scheme.
* “Are you looking for a fresh start this year? Have you thought about learning a new skill, or improving your employability? There are more options than ever on offer at colleges in Peterborough.
“In fact, the Minister of State for Skills and Equalities, Nick Boles MP, will be visiting City College Peterborough this week to gain an insight into its Adult Skills and Employability classes.
“So if you’re looking for ways to be more attractive to employers or change direction with your career, City College Peterborough is a great place to start. There are a vast range of courses on offer, from technology skills to languages and from apprenticeships to leadership and management. Find out more at www.citycollegepeterborough.ac.uk
* “If you have a touch of the January blues, I can thoroughly recommend a trip to The Broadway Theatre. There are some great West End shows on this month, including Blood Brothers and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
“If you like mystery, there’s also A Rehearsal for Murder, a thriller from the writers of Murder, She Wrote. To find out more and book tickets visit www.thebroadwaypeterborough.co.uk or call 01733 822225.”