Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich: Devolution and demolition

Yesterday our region was mentioned as part of the Chancellor's budget speech.

Saturday, 19th March 2016, 10:00 am
Cllr John Holdich ENGEMN00120131211162123

As some of you will be aware discussions between councils covering Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk and Suffolk have been taking place with government recently.

These talks have now resulted in a devolution deal for East Anglia from the government.

The offer is to transfer a number of powers and funding from central government so they can be decided locally. The government wants councils to form an East Anglia Combined Authority which would cover the areas just mentioned.

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My decision to agree to debate this offer from government now allows every city councillor the opportunity to have their say on whether the proposed deal benefits the city and our residents.

It can only be right that a deal of this magnitude and importance is open to extensive public scrutiny so that we can listen to views from across our city before councillors decide if this is the right deal for Peterborough.

A public consultation will therefore be held and a final decision on whether we become part of a combined authority will be decided by Full Council – this is when every city councillor votes on the issue.

The government’s deal is worth more than one billion pounds of new money to support economic growth in East Anglia over the next 30 years. As well as new decision making powers for the region on issues such as investment in infrastructure, growth, house building, jobs and skills.

For Peterborough, the deal includes commitments from government to develop an independent university in Peterborough. You can read more by visiting our website.

Peterborough City Council would keep its sovereignty and continue to deliver a vast range of services as we do currently – even if we are part of a combined authority.

I’m keen to hear as many views as possible from residents and businesses. So when we launch the consultation I would encourage you to take part and have your say.

Demolition work started on Aqua House this week signalling the first construction activity for Fletton Quays.

Skanska is taking down the roadside building that used to be offices for Anglian Water and, more recently, the Environment Agency.

The Fletton Quays development will transform this area of Peterborough and we have had substantial interest from developers keen to develop the hotel and residential homes planned for the site, with further announcements imminent.

A project that has now reached completion is the Energy Recovery Facility in Fengate.

Lord Brian Mawhinney officially opened the facility this week marking the end of the four-year planning and construction phase.

Operated by Viridor, the facility is able to process up to 85,000 tonnes of residual (black bag) waste per year and gives Peterborough a much-needed alternative to landfill.

The waste is being turned into electricity, thus saving the city £1 million per year for the next three decades.

This is a pioneering move for the city but we must remember to keep playing our individual roles in looking after the environment by recycling as much of our household waste as we can.

The new multi-agency prevention and enforcement team for Peterborough will launch next month.

The staff will be able to issue tickets to people for a number of anti-social matters such as fly-tipping, although there will be no powers of arrest.

I’ll be attending a briefing session with the new team this week and will be tweeting a photo from @peterboroughcc so you can meet the new