Spend now to ward off problems

Labour group leader Cllr Shaz Nawaz
Labour group leader Cllr Shaz Nawaz
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By the time this article is published, I hope that the heatwave has subsided. I have nothing against warm, sunny days: however, there can be too much of a good thing.

The Met Office warning people to remain indoors is as good a signal as any that this milestone has been reached, writes Labour group leader cllr Shaz Nawaz.

On a hot, sunny afternoon, stuck in traffic due to road works, some of the glaring inefficiencies in how our city is run become apparent.

It seems that every summer there are road projects that hinder transportation.

Some of the biggest issues that have come up in the Orton Longueville by-election have been the lack of parking spaces in the area and poor road maintenance.

Driving slowly in Peterborough as the heat shimmers off of streets pockmarked with broken tarmac, it’s difficult to believe that this is as good as it gets.

The Park Ward Labour Team operates in two modes: reactive and preventative (or proactive).

We react when issues are pointed out to us, such as when an incident of fly tipping occurs. However, we have worked hard to move more into a preventative mode.

Examples of our preventative measures include street surgeries; we actively go out and ask residents what their issues are, rather than wait for them to present their issues to us, usually at the point at which they have escalated into crisis.

An old saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”; preventative measures are generally cheaper.

It is much cheaper to deter a fly-tipper than to clear up the mess they leave behind: after all, if they get away with depositing their junk, they are likely to do it again.

Perversely, however, the council appears to be more in a reactive mode: if sufficient public pressure is brought to bear, they will respond. When asked to be better or more comprehensive in their policies, they will plead poverty. While it’s true that any administration would deal with the consequences of cuts coming from Westminster, surely part of the answer to constrained resources is to shift our emphasis onto taking positive forward steps rather than running to catch up with events. This means having councillors who adopt the approaches that have worked so well in Park Ward; these are being adopted by the entire Labour Group. It constitutes the bedrock of our model for running the city.

Our approach also involves asking tough questions and thinking comprehensively about the future: for example, how can we better prepare our infrastructure for extreme weather?

What do we need to do to ensure there are fewer potholes in 2019 than there are in 2018?

How can we keep traffic moving? If that involves spending a bit of extra money now, rather than paying a lot more in the future, we should have the confidence to do so. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”: in many cases, it’s pennies on the pound.