Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich: Ok, it's time to restore lawn order
An important part of my job as leader is to give credit where it's due and, when we've made a wrong move, to call it out and take steps to put things right. The last couple of weeks have seen us in that situation, because of our decision to reduce the frequency of grass cutting in the city. We are now reversing that decision.
As you know, ongoing reductions to local government budgets mean we’ve had to make difficult choices to save money. Occasionally, a decision on paper may seem like a good one, but later turns out not to work in practice.
That’s been the case with the grass cutting, but I’m pleased to say we have moved fast to put it right.
Over the weekend and past few days the grass in public spaces in Werrington, Paston, Orton Goldhay and Orton Malborne has been cut, and I have worked with Councillor Gavin Elsey to review our ongoing approach.
While recreational areas are still receiving eight cuts per year as before, it was originally decided to reduce other public spaces to three cuts a year. But it’s now clear that this is not enough, so we are reinstating more frequent grass cutting. While this will increase costs by around £13,000 annually, there is enough flexibility within the budget to absorb the difference.
I’m glad that residents felt empowered to voice their thoughts on this. I too prefer the city to look neat and tidy.
I hope you will see from this that we do listen to people’s views and act on their feedback. There are many good examples of where this works in everyone’s interests, not least the Prevention and Enforcement Service which has been doing a great job since its launch in April. Thank you for raising your concerns, and please do keep voicing them so that we can respond.
In the coming weeks you might receive a phone call from our partners at Ovo to tell you about the great gas and electricity deals on offer with Peterborough Energy. If you’re happy with your existing energy deal, you can of course politely decline.
But if you haven’t switched energy providers for a while, or are on a standard tariff, I really recommend that you spare them a minute or two to find out how much you could save. It’s not for the council’s benefit – we don’t gain any income from Peterborough Energy. It’s about reducing the number of households in our area that are paying way over the odds on their bills.
More than 3,500 households in Peterborough have switched so far, with average savings of around £285 a year. Wouldn’t that extra money come in handy on your summer holiday…?
As people gear up for the EU Referendum next week, I wanted to say a big thank you to the council’s election team. This small department did a fantastic job of co-ordinating the local election in May, only to move straight into planning for the referendum.
It’s no mean feat – the team has worked long hours to process 11,000 new registrations, issue poll cards and postal votes (almost 23,000 of them). When the Government extended the deadline for voter registrations, the election team processed 1,600 new applications to vote in just two days. We shouldn’t let their hard work go unnoticed.