Some more good news for Peterborough has been served up since my last column.
The past week has seen planning applications go in from two exceptional restaurant brands, looking to set up new premises in the city.
Côte offers a well-loved French bistro experience potentially to be located on Church Street, while Wagamama is a very popular Japanese-inspired restaurant, interested in a spot on Long Causeway.
This is great for the city. Since we began the redevelopment of the city centre it has changed beyond recognition. It has rapidly become a gourmet centre thanks a number of national brands and local independents opening up.
The secret to success for a city centre today is to offer great days and evenings out. Good shops are no longer enough; people are now looking for more, so that means coffee bars, restaurants and entertainment as well. Things you can’t do online.
The improved look and feel of the city centre is just one of a number of reasons why more companies want to move to Peterborough. They are also excited about the city’s successful growth, its strong economy and rising employment.
And as the number of city centre apartments continues to increase, thanks to developments like Hereward Tower and the proposed Fletton Quays, our city centre stands to become even more vibrant.
I’m sure you, like me, are looking forward to welcoming these new brands to Peterborough and sampling what they have to offer.
But we have to ensure that we offer the best experience for residents and visitors that come to the city.
That’s why I’m pleased that plans to greatly improve our powers to tackle anti-social behaviour throughout Peterborough will be discussed by Cabinet next week.
We currently carry out a wide range of enforcement activity across the city as part of the council’s statutory duties. That includes parking, CCTV and community safety officers as well as neighbourhood and housing enforcement.
However at the moment we don’t have the powers to deal with some aspects of anti-social behaviour such as illegal street trading, begging and street drinking; meanwhile the police’s resources are increasingly stretched.
Therefore our plan is to merge a range of our enforcement activity into one dedicated city-wide service. Officers working in the team would cover all areas of work formerly managed by a number of separate services.
Officers from the service would complete specialist training to give them the statutory enforcement powers that currently reside with the police.
This new team would then have the necessary authority to deal with anti-social behaviour throughout the city as well as issues including parking violations, fly-tipping and graffiti.
It will also give us an increased presence across city neighbourhoods, parks and central areas; working alongside police officers.
I am committed to improving our powers to deal with anti-social behaviour in the city and look forward to discussing this innovative new proposal with my fellow councillors.
I know from my correspondence with residents that this issue is particularly important to you and hope you are reassured that we are taking decisive action.