Peterborough residents go to the polls on May 2 to elect 20 city councillors.
The city council has 60 seats, with the Conservatives currently holding 31 of them.
The Peterborough Telegraph asked the five parties putting up candidates in multiple wards for 250 words on what the biggest issue in Peterborough is, and how their party would fix it.
We also asked parties putting up a single candidate, and the lone independent, if they would like to send in 80 words on the same issue.
Here are the responses.
Nick Sandford - leader of the Lib Dem group
A big issue in the city council elections is undoubtedly lack of trust in politics and politicians. And that disillusionment applies at both the national and the local level.
It’s about the type of councillors we have and how they work with local people.
This coming December the Conservatives will have run Peterborough for 20 years. That is too long for one party to have absolute power, power which is entrenched by the “leader and cabinet” system. We have a diverse and growing city but also one that, under Tory control, is over centralised and where people feel that the council does things to them rather than works for them.
People see a council which spends millions on ripping up and replacing paving slabs in the city centre, whilst neglecting other areas of the city. People see a council that builds on local green spaces against the wishes of local people, yet also fails woefully to provide enough affordable housing for a young and growing population.
Local children are put at risk as the council refuses to introduce 20mph limits to tackle speeding traffic and cuts investment in public transport, leading to even more cars on our roads.
Lib Dems have a candidate in every council ward, so everyone has a chance to vote for a council that does politics differently, empowering all councillors but empowering local people and communities too. See www.peterboroughlibdems.org.uk to find out more about our ideas.
Shaz Nawaz - leader of the Labour group
One of the biggest issues in Peterborough is housing. We are simply not building enough homes to keep up with demand; this has led to a visible increase in rough sleeping on our streets and young people finding it increasingly difficult to afford their first homes.
The Conservative administration has tried to hide some of the problem by shipping people in Travelodges far from our city and at great expense. The way forward is to commit our city to building more: Labour has a fully costed proposal to build 3,000 council-owned homes over the next five years. We want to build homes using modern construction methods such as modular housing; the expertise to do this already exists within our city.
Additionally, we should use our money to support the local economy: we spend far too much on companies which ship their earnings back to their head offices in London and elsewhere Our procurement policies must be focused on supporting local businesses and employment.
This policy has been implemented in other cities including Preston and has improved both public services and bolstered the local economy. When Labour is elected, we will make housing and boosting the city’s economic growth our top priorities.
Julie Howell- Green Party councillor
The greatest issue in Peterborough at the moment is undoubtedly the housing crisis as this has strong links through to employment, education, health and mental wellbeing.
Too many families live under the shadow of potential homelessness. They are unable to plant stable roots for themselves or their families when they don’t know for how long they will be living at their current address.
The Green Party calls for a living rent for all through rent controls and more secure tenancies for private renters, with an end to all letting fees and mandatory licensing for all landlords. We also want a major programme to build affordable, zero carbon homes, including 100,000 social rented homes nationally each year by 2022, a percentage of which could be built in Peterborough. Housing insecurity has a detrimental effect on the educational progress of primary-age children, another problem Peterborough is also presently wrestling with.
I would like to see more people housed in homes that meet their changing needs, for example, as families grow and as people age and become less mobile. Homes should be situated in communities well-served by reliable, affordable public transport with accessible local amenities, such as good quality schools and shops and with transport infrastructure that is safe and which discourages car use while encouraging cycling, walking and use of public transport.
I would also like to see more green spaces protected for local people and wildlife, including allotments that encourage people to grow their own food and compost their food waste.
John Holdich - Conservative leader of the council
The Conservatives have a sound memory of recent political history in Peterborough. We remember well the financial and administrative mess we inherited from the last Socialist Labour group, who were elected on false promises they couldn’t pay for and our city suffered hugely as a result.
Sound familiar? It should, because today we have a repeat scenario. A socialist Labour group making pie-in-the-sky promises based on a budget written on a single sheet of A4 paper. Please let’s not make the same mistake, suffer higher council tax bills and let all the work we’ve done together over the years be ruined by financial ineptitude and ideological hard-left dogma.
As Conservatives our balanced budgets are approved by professional auditors and government. Peterborough has the eighth lowest council tax rate in the UK and, despite huge budget pressures, we have maintained and improved our city’s front-line services. We don’t write cheques we can’t cash, and we certainly don’t want to return to the dark, bankrupt days of a Labour administration.
Of course, we can still improve on what we’re already doing and have, despite financial pressure, created a far more efficient council for residents. We’ve combined services with other authorities and streamlined how we operate to allow us to make Peterborough an even better place to live, work, play and grow. So, on May the 2nd let’s all ignore what is going on in Westminster and vote Conservative in your ward to keep up the good work being undertaken here in Peterborough.
John Whitby - UKIP councillor
For UKIP this election is about two main issues, one national and one local, but they all boil down to one thing - trust. Can you trust your current representatives to deliver on what they have promised?
Peterborough voted to leave the European Union in 2016 but as we all know nationally that has failed to happen. Nationally, UKIP, the party of Brexit, is campaigning to Make Brexit Happen, to ensure your democratically expressed wishes are delivered on. Voting for UKIP will send a signal to Westminster that its betrayal of the promise made to you won’t wash.
Locally, the city council is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy because of the mismanagement of the city council’s finances by the Conservative administration. Something needs to change, and it needs to change soon or else the alternative is unbearable to think about.
UKIP is the party that you can trust to turn things around and we will not raid your wallet demanding ever more of your hard-earned money to put a band-aid over the gaping hole in the city council’s budget. Once again, this is an issue of trust. Can you really trust the people who put us in this hole to haul us out of it?
We will represent and serve you, the people of Peterborough, as our first democratic duty and put Peterborough first. A vote for UKIP is a vote for the nation and for Peterborough and, finally, for a better future for us all.
Mary Herdman - SDP candidate in Eye, Thorney & Newborough
Far too often council funding fails to reach our villages, with the city taking precedence.
The Bedford Hall, Thorney, is a historic building which has been neglected by councillors.
Eye has been overdeveloped with houses - this needs to stop. Speeding and parking in Eyebury Road and Peterborough Road needs to be addressed.
Newborough has had its bus services cut severely and all three villages have appallingly slow broadband.
Vote for me and I’ll fight to get the funding we deserve.
Judy Fox - Werrington First candidate in Werrington
This is a local election about local issues, and with party politics appearing to be in a bit of a pickle these days I am happy to be free of all that.
Following my first election to Peterborough City Council in 2004 as an Independent, I have been able to represent my community without a political master telling me how to vote. Ever since then it has, and will always be about, putting “Werrington First”, without any hidden political agenda.
Alex Savage - Veterans’ and People’s Party candidate in Dogsthorpe
My name is Alex Savage, I live with my wife of 35 years in the Dogsthorpe area and I am 65 years old, manage a public house and am a military veteran.
Unlike the mainstream parties I will focus on what the residents in the area really want and not what they are told to want. Parking and refuse collection issues along with anti-social behaviour seem to be top of people’s wish lists.
Jack Penny - Our Nation candidate in Fletton & Woodston
I believe that crime is by far one of the biggest issues affecting Peterborough and I believe how to cut it down has a fairly simple answer.
Get more funding for the police services so they can bring in more recruits and get their numbers back up. Peterborough suffers from a wide variety of crime from drug dealing to fly-tipping. By having more officers and resources available hopefully crime rates will be lowered and people could see the difference.
Colin Hargreaves - independent candidate in Dogsthorpe
There is no democratic balance to our Council Chamber.
These local political groups have become an extension of the Westminster circus and seem to have completely lost sight of their remit.
As a result, they’ve lost my trust and faith to put us above their petty ideological agendas.
If people want change in Peterborough’s City Council they need to seriously consider the individuals standing and vote for those that can carry a voice for the community over divisive rhetoric peddlers.