What is the biggest issue facing Peterborough?

I believe the biggest issue facing Peterborough at the moment is housing.

Saturday, 23rd April 2016, 11:30 am
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Cllr Mohammed Jamil, Labour

The city of Peterborough faces many challenges in the coming year. One of the biggest is from the government who will force us to cut a further £20 million from our budget in the name of austerity. As a council we have seen similar cuts of this magnitude over the past six years.

As a result of these cuts the good folk of Peterborough will have noticed that their streets aren’t cleaned as often, grass isn’t cut three or four times a year, the roads are not resurfaced as often as they used to be, pot holes are given a quick fix that doesn’t last too long before they need treated again, and their bins are collected fortnightly instead of weekly.

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We as a Labour group wish to put the ordinary people at the heart of our policies. We will work to ensure that Peterborough maintains its position as one of the fastest growing cities in the UK. We will work with developers to ensure that more social housing is created as part of the various developments that are taking place.

As the Labour Group our commitment to the people of Peterborough includes having an active and visible group of councillors that will listen to the residents of Peterborough. We will make sure your voice is heard in the council.

We wish to create real opportunities in terms of housing, jobs, leisure. We will work to ensure that we have good transport links between the urban and rural areas of Peterborough and we will support the most vulnerable residents by making sure that their care is delivered correctly.

We want people to take more pride in the area they live in and as Labour councillors you will get honest and reliable individuals who will tell you the reality of the situation.

Therefore, I ask you to vote Labour on election day.

Cllr John Okonkowsi, UKIP

I believe the biggest issue facing Peterborough at the moment is housing.

In 2004, Mr Blair and his government opened the doors to immigration from the European Union on a scale that was unimaginable at the time.

Andrew Neather, adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett, said that the ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its core working class vote. So numbers of extra immigrants were set deliberately low, 13,000 approximately per year was the figure being used.

This of course was without making any efforts to change the infrastructure of the country to suit the influx, as this would have shown that more immigrants were coming than was announced. So the additional housing, school places, doctors and hospital beds were not allowed for, and according to the then government were not necessary.

We now have a situation where we need thousands and thousands of additional homes, especially affordable social homes. Nick Boles, Conservative Under Secretary of State for Planning, has said: “Vast swathes of the countryside will have to be sacrificed to build new homes for immigrants.”

The present government gives away around £11 billion per year in foreign aid, which is borrowed before it can be given away, so we pay interest on it as well as giving it away.

We can reduce the pressure on housing by ending open door immigration.

We oppose the bedroom tax, but need to provide incentives to re-use empty homes.

We need to ensure that local people and veterans are prioritised first for social housing.

We need to protect our countryside by developing brown field sites for new housing and businesses. Stop the mass house builders riding rough shod over local people’s wishes by the government allowing it to become a ‘Developers Charter’ without new services and the infrastructure that are needed.

Cllr John Holdich, Conservative

Every householder knows the importance of not spending beyond their income.

The biggest issue I feel we have faced and which is still facing our council is the prudent management of our financial resources, given these unprecedented times of financial austerity.

Over the last six years your Conservative led administration has kept our front line services when other councils have failed. We have found innovative new ways of generating income to counter the massive cuts from central government and kept our annual budgets balanced, compassionate and demonstrably fair.

We will continue to protect our services, as we’ve already proven we can do, with a 40 per cent less government grant.

We will still continue to levy one of the lowest council tax rates in the country, protect our children’s services, adult services, care for the elderly, public health and schools improvement, and build much needed affordable housing for future generations.

The decisions I take as leader are, in the main, non-political, based upon my long experience and doing what is right for the residents of our city - keeping Peterborough the great city it has become over the last few years, improving the job prospects for our children and creating an environment that both welcomes investment and enterprise and underlines our successful drive for sustainable growth and employment.

Uncosted election time promises and manifestos are both commonplace and irresponsible. Opposition is easy when it is not you having to take the sometimes very difficult decisions which must be taken when running a city council and balancing the books.

Local elections are about the decisions people are making about their areas and the aspirations we all have about our quality of life, our safety and our future and the future of our families.

Cllr Chris Ash, Peterborough Independent Forum

The group believes that there are several important issues facing people in Peterborough. There are so many things that need to come together to make our city a place people would be queuing to come to and make it extra special, a thriving centre, and a good place to be.

I and my group colleagues have little doubt that there are two closely linked issues that are paramount - social services and education.

Social services because we need to make sure we care for the elderly and vulnerable. Especially in times of austerity, they are the people who are going to struggle the most and find times hard. We also need to provide support for those who are going through a tough patch in their lives. Everyone deserves and should have a reasonable life .

Education is for all and we need to give everyone a good start in life’s journey through good education. Good education means that we can equip our children with the knowledge to be ready to meet challenges and make the most of the chances that come their way through life.

Education is ever changing within the local authority. We need to push for a more level playing field so all children get the best education for them. The shaping of their future is very important. We also need top quality adult education. The world is also ever changing and there is always much to learn and new things to discover.

Providing top quality social services and good education are challenges we must meet. This can only be achieved by all councillors working together

We want to show the residents of Peterborough that they are the most important thing in these elections.

Roger Proudfoot, Green

We believe one of the biggest problems that people all over Peterborough face is littering.

While our domestic waste services encourage householders to separate their waste so it can be disposed of in the right way, littering in the environment continues to be a menace to people and to our precious wildlife habitats.

The city council regularly organises the clearance of litter from our streets and shared public spaces. However, there is so much of it the council is only able to collect what is visible. This month, residents of Orton Southgate organised a group litter pick involving 20 residents.

The council had recently cleared the visible litter from the streets, so the volunteers focused on rubbish trapped in hedgerows and wooded areas. They managed to fill 20 rubbish sacks in an hour. This type of litter picking really makes the difference. What we collect from hedgerows is the type of rubbish that is suffocating our natural environment and preventing plants and smaller life forms from flourishing.

The Green Party wants zero litter on our streets. We also want more public litter bins and more frequent collections. Over-flowing public waste bins create as much litter in our environment as litter that is casually dropped. Fly tipping continues to happen far too often and more must be done to educate the public about why it is not acceptable, how to report it and where to dispose of unwanted possessions correctly.

We believe that when Peterborough City Council and local people work together our goal of zero litter will become our reality.

If elected, Peterborough Green Party would implement:

· More frequent and deeper litter-picks

· More public waste bins and dog bins, emptied more frequently

· Improved public education about the ways litter devastates the environment and the cost of clearing it up to the taxpayer.

Nick Sandford, Liberal Democrat

One big current issue is lack of faith in the council and politicians in Peterborough. Voter turnout in local elections is low, particularly in some of the less affluent areas of our city.

A council which consults but rarely listens, high on promise but low on delivery, Labour and Tory councillors who only contact voters once a year in April when they need their votes.

Liberal Democrats only have four councillors but we have this year secured £100,000 extra investment in bus services (reversing part of the 50 per cent cut in bus subsidies which the Tories imposed in 2013). We led the campaign for 20mph zones in housing areas across the city to save the lives of young children, until it was cynically blocked by Tory council leaders.

Liberal Democrats led opposition to the crackpot Tory scheme for an all-powerful mayor of East Anglia.

Across the city from Paston, Walton, South Werrington and Gunthorpe through to Hampton, we have kept in touch with residents through our regular Focus newsletters and residents’ surveys.

Empowering local people and communities is at the heart of what Lib Dems believe. Our councillors focus on what matters locally to people: basic issues like street lighting, pavement and road repairs and planting trees to prevent cars ploughing up our grass verges.

Peterborough is a growing city but growth should be a means to prosperity and not an end in itself. And it needs to be growth which is sustainable, both socially and environmentally. New communities need a range of facilities close to where people live and access to natural greenspace to improve health and quality of life.

With more Lib Dem councillors elected on May 5, we could do much, much more for your community. It’s time for change. It’s time for the Liberal Democrats.