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Leader Wayne Fitzgerald's blog - 6 October

06 October 2023

The Key Theatre has long been a jewel in the city’s crown and the pantomime is a real highlight of the festive season for many of our residents.

So, it was with great sadness last month that we had to close the main auditorium upon the discovery of RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete). However, I’m pleased to report that the show will go on and pantomime season is expected to go ahead as planned this Christmas.

We’ve been working hard behind the scenes with Landmark Theatres, the Key’s management company, and structural engineers to find a way to reopen the theatre as quickly as possible – with the first panto performance on 2 December.

The structure will be built on the interior of the main auditorium to ensure the safety of the public, staff and visiting companies. Other buildings and venues across the country have also used similar interim measures to be able to reopen as quickly as possible.

We will continue to agree on a timeframe for full roof replacement that will be scheduled at a time that will minimise the impact on the theatre’s schedule.

The majority of the theatre’s programme has been rescheduled or moved to other spaces and all customers will be contacted in the coming days with further information. The Chalkboard tearoom and bistro remains open throughout, as well as other spaces.

Tickets for the panto are still available – find out more here https://keytheatre-peterborough.com/event/aladdin/

In terms of the Regional Fitness and Swimming Centre, a full structural survey is ongoing and I will be able to say more once that has been completed and the report has been considered.

In the meantime, Peterborough Lido remains open allowing residents to enjoy heated outdoor swimming. Looking at the weather forecast in the next week, it should prove popular!

Our housing team works tirelessly to help ensure that people in need of accommodation can find suitable homes across the city.

This isn’t an easy task and in recent years the team has often had to use local bed and breakfast facilities at rising costs. This is something we urgently want to avoid in future and that’s why we’re looking for private landlords who are willing to rent their properties to the council.

We’re on the search for family-sized properties to support households who have become homeless and require temporary accommodation while suitable permanent accommodation is secured.

There are several incentives for doing this, mainly that by allowing us to rent your property, you’ll be guaranteed payment on your rental for as long as the time-period is contracted for.

The council will also take responsibility for all repairs and statutory compliance whilst leased to us, taking a lot of the hassle out of being a landlord.

Allowing us to rent your property is an avenue that many landlords don’t know about but is a safe and secure opportunity for you to gain consistent income without the potential stress.

We will ask for requirements from landlords in return, namely that all properties must have vacant possession and of a good standard, with valid gas safety and electrical testing certificates.

We’re looking to encourage as many private landlords to get in contact as possible, as this will allow us to help more people that are in a tricky situation and need accommodation.

In terms of the types of the properties we are looking for, we’re targeting housing that covers the full breadth of the city, from two-bedroom homes to much larger properties.

We understand that there are several options for landlords when it comes to letting out properties, but I must reiterate that the council will take care of all matters and simply hand you the keys back at the end of your contract.

If you are interested in learning more about renting your property to Peterborough City Council, please visit https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/residents/housing/private-sector-leasing-scheme

October sees Black History Month take place and there is plenty happening in Peterborough to help celebrate the occasion.

A special event featuring live music and food stalls will take place in Cathedral Square on Saturday 14 October from 12 – 7pm with everyone invited to celebrate black heritage, accomplishments and culture.

We will also be promoting Black History Month over the coming weeks on our social media channels so keep an eye on these for updates on what’s happening and how you can get involved.

I’ve spent an enjoyable four days in Manchester this week at the Conservative Party conference, catching up with friends and colleagues on the latest political goings on. I met up with the Prime Minister and other senior cabinet ministers who were all positive about what is going on in the country.

It was great to see some action from the Prime Minister on reducing smoking rates and to hear plans for the A1 which is very relevant for Peterborough. I also had very positive discussions with Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities Minister Michael Gove MP, and Minister for Local Government Lee Rowley MP, about our ambitions for Peterborough. They were pleased to hear we are making good progress in transforming the city into the place it deserves to be.