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Leader Wayne Fitzgerald's blog - 4 August

04 August 2023

I really believe that we are heading towards great times, with investment for our university and city centre and a new Station Quarter, and interest in many other sites across the city.

Our future is bright, and it is not just me who thinks that – the announcement by House of Fraser of their plans to move into the former John Lewis store in Queensgate is further proof.

I must be honest; I have known about this for some time but was sworn to secrecy until the announcement at the weekend. It’s great news for our city and I'm also pleased that I no longer need to travel to Rushden Lakes to be able to shop at the House of Fraser store there.

This announcement shows the real confidence that retailers have in our city and I am excited to see the new store open. What's more, there are other exciting projects in the pipeline too so watch this space.

I meet with many people who are invested in the future of the city as we look to do the best for Peterborough – and part of that is gathering as many views as possible. One route towards that is the city’s Local Plan public consultation which is now open for comments.

We’re trying something slightly new this year as the plan, which sets out where and how the city will grow over the coming decades, is also specifically asking young people and those on social media for their views.

A questionnaire for secondary schools and a ‘Local Plan Top 5 poll’ will take place alongside the usual formal public consultation, so we’re hoping for a really broad view of what the city wants in the next few decades.

The consultation will look at the things that should and shouldn’t be included in the plan, and also put out a call for sites that can be used for housing, employment and other uses.

Residents have until 15 September to have their say, so if you’d like to be included and help shape our fine city’s future, click here:

I know it is still summer – believe it or not going by the weather – but I have some Christmas news to share with you. The ice rink will be returning to Cathedral Square but it’s going to look a little different this year with no cover. We took on board comments from shoppers who said that while they enjoyed the experience, they thought it blocked the tree and Guildhall from certain angles.

More than 9,000 skaters took to the ice last year and we’ll be hoping for similar or better numbers for 2023 when the rink returns on 1 December. There will be Christmas Eve and New Year events too.

The organisers Dash Events Limited are looking for sponsors and advertisers, and this might be an ideal time to get in touch – email for more information.

There’s another return on Saturday when the football season kicks off.

Posh will be looking for a good start at Reading in League One, before their first home games against Swindon and Charlton. Many pre-season predictions have put Peterborough in the top ten and play-offs for 2023/24, so let’s hope they’re correct.

They’ve certainly been in the news recently, on and off the pitch, and fans will still be able to hear all the games through Posh+ on PCRfm – it’s Peterborough's only local radio station and it’s great to see the club supporting local radio – make sure you tune in on 103.2fm.

Peterborough Sports are also back against Scarborough Athletic, and then a trip to Scunthorpe – managed of course by Sports’ old coach Jimmy Dean. Good luck to all of our sports clubs this season.

Just a quick reminder as well about our careers fair at Sand Martin House on 17 August – more employers are signing up every day for this. It’s a free event and one with a difference, as there will be demonstrations of VR and AI, and even an interactive climbing wall.

If you know a young person who is looking for ideas or knowledge on their future career please attend; to find out more go to Eventbrite and search for Future You Careers Event.