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Leader Mohammed Farooq's column March 14

14 March 2024

Fly-tipping and littering are issues that residents feel very strongly about and we are doing everything in our power to clean up our communities.

We are always looking at new ways to improve our work and raise awareness about littering problems which is why we’re inviting everyone to join a campaign of action.

As part of the Great British Spring Clean taking place between March 15 and 31, the council and the Peterborough Litter Wombles (PLW), are holding organised litter picks across the city, starting on Saturday.

It's hoped that the campaign will highlight the positive work carried out by the council and voluntary groups to tackle these problems, as well as encouraging more people to get rid of litter correctly.

If you visit www.peterborough.gov.uk you will see a list of litter picks taking place, led by members of the PLW, councillors and officers. Admission is free and all equipment including high-vis jackets and litter pickers will be provided.

This is a great opportunity for everyone to come together and clean up litter around the city, so if you can spare some time please come along and join in, either as an individual, a group or as a business or school.

Everyone has a part to play in tackling fly-tipping and littering which blights our communities and also results in the council spending significant funds which could be spent on other essential services and exciting projects.

We recently demonstrated our commitment to helping people dispose of waste properly by starting a batteries and vapes collection service, as well as commencing deliveries of food waste bin liners.

There is lots of helpful advice about litter disposal available at www.peterborough.gov.uk, as well as information on how to report littering and fly-tipping.

Our administration is tackling the big issues that matter in Peterborough and this was demonstrated at Monday’s cabinet meeting, where major topics were progressed.

One such issue is the future of the Regional Fitness and Swimming Centre which has been a subject we have prioritised since taking control of the council last November, knowing how important the facility is to residents.

With this in mind, we agreed to close the Regional permanently and instead invest in a brand-new facility which will serve the city well for decades to come and attract people from far and wide.

The centre has been closed since last September following works to remove asbestos and then the discovery of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC). Prior to that, the pool was closed on two occasions last year after Legionella was found in the water system.

It would cost in the region of £26m to be able to remove the RAAC and remedy several issues associated with the age of the building to ensure it could be operational for the next decade.

Given all these factors, I firmly believe that we have taken the right decision and I will keep you updated on our progress with plans for a new pool.

At Monday’s cabinet meeting we also gave the green light to delivering highways improvements and three major projects which will benefit motorists, pedestrians and residents.

The authority’s Transport Capital Programme for 2024/2025 was approved which will see Milestone Infrastructure, our highways partner, carry out works over the next 12 months totalling £6.8 million. This includes the enhancement of roads, bridges and street lighting as well as pothole repairs.

Members also agreed for Milestone to deliver three significant projects for a combined £8.1 million - Cygnet Bridge, city centre hostile mitigation and extreme weather highways improvements.

Our administration is fully committed to maintaining and improving the city’s highways network. By agreeing this positive programme, along with the three major schemes, we are delivering on our key aims of supporting active travel and passenger transport, as well as improving accessibility.

A report asking the Cabinet to approve a credit bid to take ownership of the Hilton Hotel was also deferred to the next Cabinet meeting on 22 March.

Officers recommended the cabinet deferred the decision about the hotel after the administrator advised that a third party has entered a bid for the hotel and the council needs more time to fully consider the details and implications of that new bid.

Continuing with the theme of major projects, I’m delighted to announce that our plans to transform Peterborough Train Station – known as Station Quarter – have received outline business case approval by government.

This enables a full business case to be developed for submission to government, later in the Autumn. A public consultation, asking people for their views on the plans will be also undertaken.

It’s a really exciting project for our city and this update, along with Cabinet’s approval on Monday to agree a formal contract to release the money to the council from the Levelling Up Fund, should give everyone confidence that this project is progressing as planned and at pace.

When I became Council leader, I wanted the authority to be open and transparent with residents.

You may not always agree with some of our decisions, but we should always explain why we are taking them and engage with members of the public where possible.

That is why Deputy Leader Councillor John Howard and I have started an ‘Ask the Cabinet’ online session where we answer questions from people on any subjects that affect their daily lives.

The first session was recorded last week and is now live on the council’s Youtube channel. We answered questions on subjects including the city’s bus station, parking, council tax and more.

We are planning another session soon – if you have a question you would like us to answer email it to askthecabinet@peterborough.gov.uk