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Leader Wayne Fitzgerald's blog - 12 May

12 May 2023

It’s been a busy time of late, what with the local elections and the King’s Coronation events taking place, granting us all an extra Bank Holiday.

My colleagues and I have spent the past few weeks out and about on the campaign trail – it's something I always enjoy doing and we had some great feedback from residents.

That hard campaign work culminated in a positive election night for the Conservatives where we gained two extra seats, which shows the confidence that the public has in our administration.

I was sad, however, to see Chris Burbage lose his seat in Bretton but I would like to welcome newly elected councillors to the authority and I look forward to working with them.

As stated, it was a good election for us and I would like to thank everyone who voted Conservative.

I would also like to give my thanks to the dedicated council staff who administered the election count and polling stations across the city on the day.

The Conservative party remains very much in charge of the council with the largest numbers of councillors (30), but I will continue to work collaboratively with all members and all parties to ensure the authority continues to make progress.

Not only that, but we will remain fully committed to our ultimate goal of making the city of Peterborough an even better place to live, work and play.

As much as I enjoy the elections process, the so-called ‘silly season’ is now over, and we can get back to doing the job at hand.

And make no mistake, there’s lots to be done - we’re not out of the woods financially just yet, but we’ve made great strides in the last couple of years and there is so much for everyone to look forward to.

One of many exciting developments in the pipeline is the The Vine culture and community hub which are working with partners to progress.

The latest proposals are to deliver the facility across two sites – which would see a refurbished Central Library city centre hub created, along with a communal food and beverage hall.

This will allow for the sale of the former TK Maxx and New Look buildings in Bridge Street, which could see private investors transform the building into a city centre landmark – with proposals including a conference and banqueting centre with a rooftop bar.

At the Central Library, a full refurbishment will take place, transforming the 1980s building into a light and airy modern library, complete with a thriving community hub which will also deliver a business/education offering.

This will be complemented by a second building at another city centre site, which will be home to a multitude of food and beverage takeaway restaurants and bars, with a communal dining area in the centre.

The change of approach to deliver The Vine across two sites was proposed at the Peterborough Towns Fund Board meeting this week and gives us a win-win situation. We can still deliver The Vine and we could see a derelict city centre building transformed into something special.

As I always say, Peterborough’s time is now and we will continue to keep you updated with this and our other ongoing redevelopment projects.

History was made over the weekend, with the Coronation of King Charles III taking place and here in Peterborough the occasion was certainly celebrated with style and dignity.

It was fantastic to see so many people coming out to celebrate at events and street parties across the city – seeing Bridge Street and other places decked out in Union Jack bunting was a lovely sight which will stay with me for some time.

Community events of all kinds, including picnics, concerts and communal ‘big lunches’, offered many residents the unique chance to join together and I’m sure that many new friendships have been formed as a result.

I was privileged to speak to crowds gathered at Peterborough Cathedral on Saturday for a special concert to mark the Coronation and returned there on Sunday for a civic service.

I feel proud to be British every day, but never more so than at these events which were a fitting way to mark the start of the King’s reign and I would like to thank those who organised and attended events.

Finally, Bridge Street will be full of exciting sights, sounds and smells over the next few days as a popular Continental Market returns with a range of tasty street food, sweet treats and craft items on offer.

From Caribbean food to pick and mix fudge, as well as Mexican food, a noodle bar and more, there will be something for everyone. The market runs from today (Thursday) until Sunday so if you’re town on any of those days why not pop along?