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Leader Mohammed Farooq's column March 7

07 March 2024

The achievements of women globally are being celebrated this month and here in Peterborough we have many ladies making a positive difference who we are proudly showcasing.

One such person is the new Bishop of Peterborough, Debbie Sellin, who was installed into her role at a special service at the Cathedral on Sunday, which I was honoured to attend.

It was an inspiring occasion attended by dignitaries and ecclesiastical representatives from far and wide. Bishop Debbie was installed in her Cathedra, or Bishop’s seat, by the Archdeacon of Canterbury on behalf of the Archbishop, and formally began her public ministry in the Diocese.

I would like to wish Debbie all the very best in her new role. Judging by her impressive first sermon where she spoke about hope for a bright future and the crowd’s enthusiastic applause to it, I’m sure she will be brilliant.

Tomorrow (Friday) sees International Women’s Day take place and to help celebrate, the council has reached out to women from across the city from different backgrounds, ethnicities and experiences and will be highlighting their work in specially filmed interviews.

This includes ladies from Peterborough Phantoms, journalists, singers, influencers and faith leaders, including Bishop Debbie, that are living and working in the city.

We will also be showcasing women from the city's history that may not be well recognised but have something we want people to know about. This includes Oliver Cromwell’s wife, a Suffragette, the UK’s first female professor of physics, a balloonist and a world record holder.

So make sure you are watching our social media accounts over next few days to find out some fascinating facts about women who have helped to shape, and are currently shaping life, in our historic city.

Peterborough’s continued growth is a real success story, but our increasing population creates many challenges too.

Making sure we have sufficient school places to meet rising demand is one such key issue and I’m delighted to say that plans for extra school provision in Hampton are moving forward.

At next week’s Cabinet meeting, councillors will be asked to give the green light to proposals to build a new primary school at the city’s newest township - Great Haddon.

The 420-place school will serve the new families moving into Great Haddon, which once finished, is expected to provide 5,350 homes, 9,000 jobs, four schools, three shopping centres and sports facilities.

I’m looking forward to seeing these exciting plans progress, helping to ensure that children who move to, or who are born in Great Haddon, have the opportunity to learn in a first-class educational environment in which they can thrive.

We are always looking at ways to enhance our waste collection services and a new scheme launched this week is already attracting positive feedback.

Residents can now have used batteries and disposable vapes collected by placing them on top of bin lids or food caddies in clear plastic bags, when they leave these out for collection.

Last year Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service attended a spate of bin lorry fires caused by batteries, so there is a real need for people to dispose of such items correctly.

I would urge residents to make use of this scheme and give us their general feedback, so we can continue to work to offer collections which meet residents’ needs.

We have experienced difficulties with providing food waste bin liners recently, but I’m delighted to say that a new delivery service will resolve these issues and help our residents.

From next week, we will be delivering two rolls (80 liners) across a two-week period to all households using the food waste service - so just leave your caddy out for collection to get these.

With the prices of liners having trebled over the past few years we are conscious of the cost of supplying them and the volumes being used. However, we also understand residents see them as an essential part of the service and want to supply them free of charge.

For full information about the waste liners rollout and more details on the batteries and vapes collection service visit

Our administration is dealing with the big issues that matter to Peterborough residents and is making the best decisions in the circumstances for the city.

This will be demonstrated at Monday’s cabinet meeting where major topics will be discussed, including plans to permanently close the city’s Regional Pool and kick start proposals for a new swimming and leisure facility in the city.

The future of the Hilton Hotel at Fletton Quays will also be deliberated, with councillors asked to authorise the council submitting a credit bid for the freehold of the development, safeguarding the authority’s investment and ensuring it is completed as quickly as possible.

The meeting will be held in public at the Town Hall at 4pm – you can attend in person or watch it on the council’s YouTube account.