Peterborough will bid to be UK’s Capital of Culture if Labour take over council

Labour Party campaign launch outside the Town Hall EMN-190203-174004009
Labour Party campaign launch outside the Town Hall EMN-190203-174004009
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Peterborough will bid to be the UK’s Capital of Culture in 2029 if Labour takes control of the city council.

The party’s manifesto for May’s local elections states that it wants to take advantage of the city’s Bronze Age history, “iconic” cathedral and engineering pioneers to follow cities such as Hull in holding the status.

The UK City of Culture is a position held every four years, with Coventry next up in 2021. Winning cities hope to raise their arts profile and boost their economy.

Other policies include attracting and retaining teachers with offers of low-cost housing, leisure passes and subsidised public transport, as well as setting up a teaching faculty at the new University of Peterborough which is due to open in 2022.

The party also wants to turn Peterborough into a leading digital city in the UK.

Labour group leader on the council Cllr Shaz Nawaz hailed the manifesto as a “bold and transformative agenda”.

He added: “Time after time, during both canvassing and street surgeries, we are hearing the same message: ‘this Conservative-run council can’t seem to get the basics right’. That is something we are going to do.

“We will start by getting the basics right before moving towards ambitious, fully-costed, longer term plans to meet the needs of our city and our children in the future.”

The Conservatives currently hold 31 of the 60 seats on the council. Labour hold 14 seats and the Liberal Democrats seven, with the other seats filled by: Werrington First (three), and the Green Party, UKIP and Liberal Party (one each).

Two seats are unfilled.

A third of the 60 seats are being contested on May 2. A strong result for the main opposition parties could see them try to take control of the council.

In its manifesto, Labour is also promising to build 3,000 council homes over five years and focus on boosting Peterborough’s digital profile.

Moreover, the party says it would create a £10 million investment fund to encourage growth locally, while it is pledging to “make it far easier to dispose of trade waste and to recognise and incentivise those individuals who are willing to dispose of their bulky waste responsibility and in an ecologically friendly way.”

This would include re-introducing community skips and reviewing the charge for bulky waste collections. The party is also promising to increase recycling rates and tackle fly-tipping.