Town hall leaders: Shape up or go
Many MPs would back their local council however useless and inefficient it was. Sorry - my loyalty it to my constituents: hardworking, decent and increasingly irritated taxpayers.
And I tell it like it is. Credit where it’s due. Brickbats where needed.
I just happen to have a Conservative Council but it’s no consolation that Labour would be even (a lot) worse.
The decision of the Peterborough City Council Planning Committee this week, on the basis of a flawed and inaccurate report, to inflict a completely unsuitable traveller encampment on Eye Green residents, was appalling, if not surprising.
That is to dignify the charade - it was a knobbled jury - as the decision had already been taken in a pre meeting to push it through, by the council officers and the ubiquitous Cllr Hiller, irrespective of the “debate” and in complete disregard of local people, using the dubious and deeply dodgy rationale of the “human rights” Act.
Human rights apparently only applies to gypsy and traveller applications, not to the settled community it seems. The area is awash with traveller sites already but really, “Who cares? It’s not in my ward” was the message.
In a way, it’s really a microcosm of Peterborough City Council: Overpaid and complacent officers running the show, substandard councillors not up to the job, no real political leadership, poor policy development, little imagination and next to no vision.
Can you hear me Cllr Holdich?
Whining about the government doesn’t cover up your administration’s record of cock ups - the Energy Park (goodbye £3.2 million of public money), the worst SATs in England (Holdich blames EU migrants but campaigned for a Remain vote in the EU referendum - figure that one out), flailing around trying to develop a travellers policy (unsuccessfully), Children’s Services frequently on the brink of chaos (though mercifully improved now), annual budget deficits and contract cost overruns, unnecessarily delaying selective licensing to tackle slum landlords, only after allowing a chunk of the city to descend into slum status over the last few years and presiding over a shambolic housing benefit crisis, blaming Universal Credit changes and the so-called bedroom tax (even when praising it to me for releasing 200 plus new homes for needy people a few days before!) but without any evidence to prove it.
Still Team Holdich are quick to pray in aid falling joblessness and NEETs, rising employment, new private sector jobs and homes and transport infrastructure like Peterborough railway station.
Who do they think helped deliver these wider economic benefits? Clue: They’re in government.
My message is clear to both senior officers and councillors: Shape up, raise your game, quit the whinging and show some leadership or make way for people who can.