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Leader Wayne Fitzgerald's blog - 21 July

21 July 2023

As the schools break up for summer again, parents in our city will be thinking about places to take children to keep them amused for the next six weeks (and off their phones and tablets!)

As council leader I’m always keen to emphasise that you don’t need to go too far, as there are plenty of open spaces, events and exhibitions for the whole family in Peterborough, both inside and outside.

There’s the Willow Festival this weekend, and the Unofficial Galaxies exhibition starts in Peterborough Cathedral, with 120 Star Wars exhibits including a full-size Landspeeder purchased from London’s Elstree Studios and the desk and chair of young Anakin Skywalker from the 1999 film The Phantom Menace.

The Kids Kingdom will open at Queensgate at the end of July, for those little ones dreaming of working in any one of six distinct professions and trades, including a doctor's surgery, florist, pizzeria, hairdressers, construction site, and supermarket. All monies raised from taking part in the six immersive worlds will go to Up The Garden Bath, the environmental Community Interest Company.

Our beautiful Lido will no doubt be a key attraction through to September, and last week we received the fantastic news that Bretton Water Park will reopen this Saturday (July 22), following plenty of hard work from our various teams to repair it following an arson attack.

We’re fortunate to have some excellent parks and open spaces in Peterborough which perhaps we appreciate even more following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Our maintenance teams do an excellent job keeping the city’s parks looking good and their efforts at three parks in particular have resulted in prestigious Green Flag awards. 

Central Park, Itter Park and Manor Farm Park in Eye have all been confirmed as having retained the sought-after accolade.  For Central Park, it is the 21st consecutive year that the park has held a Green Flag Award.

The international accolade, now in its 27th year, is a sign to the public that the parks, maintained on behalf of the council by Aragon Direct Services, boast the highest possible environmental standards, are excellently maintained and managed, and have high-quality visitor facilities.  

The parks are also supported by very proactive “Friends of” groups. These volunteer groups help promote the use and care of the parks’ facilities within their communities, seek funding and park improvements, and provide valuable feedback to the council and in turn, Aragon.   

I would like to thank everyone involved at these parks for all their hard work. We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and we will continue to maintain them to the highest standards. 

This week I’ve also been in London to talk to the Government with the rest of the leaders of Fast Growth Cities – a meeting to show how we can assist in accelerating the UK’s economic growth in return for more devolution and greater investment.

Peterborough can help with this, because we are spearheading a growth and regeneration revolution, and you’ll no doubt be aware of the significant development of key areas of our city like our Station Quarter and university.  

I made the point that our vision and ability to attract private investment into the city means that it is absolutely the right time to supercharge growth as we are working on our Local Plan which will form the city’s blueprint until 2036. 

I also made it clear that the Government can help us achieve our aims; we have the foundations in place, we have the appetite, and we are ready to grow.