'A disappointing programme from a disappointing administration' - opposition leaders have say on Conservatives council agenda

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A "disappointing programme from a disappointing administration" was the verdict of the Liberal Democrat leader on Peterborough City Council to the agenda of the ruling Conservatives.

Cllr Nick Sandford accused the Tories of focusing on the city centre and neglecting other parts of Peterborough which he said are "literally falling apart."

Nick Sandford (left)

Nick Sandford (left)

The agenda at Monday's Full Council included new actions to tackle fly-tipping and to bring down homelessness, with Cllr Sandford saying: "I hope they are successful, but let's remember who has been running the council for the last 18 years."

Addressing council leader Cllr John Holdich, he added: "If there are problems that need sorting out, you and your party are at least partly responsible for them."

Cllr Shaz Nawaz, the new Labour group leader, made a lengthy response where he called on councillors to be "more respectful and adopt professional behaviour in this Council Chamber."

He said: "The Labour group will strive to be credible, trusted, progressive and forward looking.

"We will offer an alternative, positive vision for Peterborough in the future. We promise to leave no-one behind."

Cllr Nawaz called on the council to hand contracts out to small and medium sized businesses, and he announced he would form a shadow cabinet with an extra portfolio holder specifically for the new University of Peterborough which it is hoped will launch in 2022.

Cllr Stephen Lane, Werrington First group leader, gave a brief statement, wishing Cllr Holdich well before adding: "Let's get on with it."

This was the first meeting since the local elections earlier this month which saw the Conservatives take control of the council, with 31 of the 60 seats.

It also saw much improved behaviour from previous meetings, and in a sign of a greater relationship between councillors Cllr Holdich was unanimously approved as the council leader for at least the next year.

Evidence of how local politics has changed in the past few years was also highlighted by the seating of the Green Party's first ever councillor Julie Howell next to UKIP's now sole councillor John Whitby.