Taking control of vital services

At Monday's council cabinet meeting I will ask members to take an innovative step and set up a new Local Authority Trading Company. Our plan is for this new company to take control of important services like waste and recycling, street cleaning, and our parks and open spaces, writes Peterborough City Council leader cllr John Holdich.

Sunday, 22nd July 2018, 1:00 pm
Cllr John Holdich

These services - currently provided by Amey - are so key to the quality of our streets and communities that we believe now is the time to try a new approach to drive up quality. We will be able to quickly deliver changes on the ground, and drive forward improvements.

The company is free to operate as a commercial company but will remain wholly owned by the local authority, giving us control over the way it delivers services that matter most to you while avoiding paying profits to contractors.

A successful growing company will also be able to compete for more business, and generate much needed income for the council that can be spent locally.

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I am committed to this new approach - it will give the council far greater control over the performance and quality of waste services. It will save us money, deliver better services and improve the look and feel of our communities.

Turning attention specifically to waste, recycling and the blight on our landscape which is flytipping. This is an important issue and why we are proposing to set up a cross party group at next week’s meeting of full council.

There is much more that needs to be done to encourage all people to really care about their environment and to tackle the minority who dump fridge freezers, sofas and garden waste on our streets.

I think we need to be more ambitious than just this.

We know there is scope to use technology and innovative methods to give flytipped materials a new lease of life. We also know our city already has a strong reputation for recycling and upcycling.

As a city we already have firm foundations in this area. Just last year the city was ranked as the ninth best and received a Star Award for innovation and sustainability for waste in the UK’s Smart City list.

We were also singled out for the Future Peterborough project, run by Opportunity Peterborough, for its work with individuals and businesses to create a Circular Economy which promotes using resources effectively and boosting recycling.

This is sterling work which ties together our commitment to make Peterborough an attractive place for people to live and businesses to flourish.

I’m excited to find out the recommendations from the working group after they meet in the autumn. This is a group that could really put Peterborough on the map for creating a ‘green’ opportunity from an environmental eyesore.

Work to transform Peterborough into one of the world’s most digitally connected cities kicked off last week, with £30m of private investment by CityFibre and Vodafone, to bring us Gigafast Broadband.

Soon Peterborough will be able to access new, ultrafast, reliable, full fibre broadband. This has the potential to transform life in the home. From smart kitchens and lighting systems, to improved speeds for home workers and better capability to handle the whole households wifi needs, this has the potential to truly transform family life in the city.

I am delighted Peterborough is one of the first cities to benefit from this national roll-out connecting one million UK homes. The new infrastructure of full fibre services are set to go live later this year, with the full roll out expected to last 24 months. I want us all to make the most of this new opportunity.

Finally, a reminder that a Youth Jam is being held in Cathedral Square on Saturday and also that day, a food and music festival takes place at the city market - both promise to be fantastic events.