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BREAKING: ‘I am resigning from my position as the leader of Peterborough City Council’

‘There remain some very tough and embarrassing decisions to be made’

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Cllr Mohammed Farooq announced today he has resigned as leader of Peterborough City Council. Here is his full statement issued ahead of tonight’s council meeting when it is expected Labour will seek to form a minority led administration.

It has been my privilege to lead the minority administration of Peterborough City Council since November, working hard to ensure we had support across the council Chamber.

Passing the budget unanimously was an historic achievement for my administration.

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I thank all our political colleagues for their support, my cabinet and group members for working tirelessly for the residents of Peterborough. I am also immensely thankful to the officer team for their support of my administration.

After taking over in November, we hit the ground running, trying to resolve problems related to legacy projects, strengthening the council’s partnerships with others, and streamlining council functions to ensure the taxpayer gets best value for money. 

We have made good progress in many areas. Our children services had been inspected by OFSTED and judged as inadequate.

Council leader Mohammed Farooq urged residents to “have a read of our budget consultation document and give us your views so that councillors can take these into account when making the final decisions”.

Cllr Mohammed Farooq Picture by Terry Harris.

My administration has been working hard to put a system in place to ensure vulnerable children in our city are protected. I wanted to make Peterborough a ‘child friendly’ city.

We inherited an asset disposal list from the previous administration, which put all our community centres at risk.

We are passionate about our community groups and believe they are the heart and soul of our communities… they protect our vulnerable, they eliminate isolation and give our communities an identity.

We pledged that no community group would be made ‘homeless’ and where possible we will modernise the buildings they work in.

There remain some very tough and embarrassing decisions to be made on matters that are a legacy of the previous administration. 

Any incoming administration will find it needs heavy and broad shoulders to carry the legacy burden that still affects decision making in this council.

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Cllr Mohammed Farooq Picture by Terry Harris.

Going forward our vision includes a push for a 50m Olympic-size swimming pool, to attract a national audience and a business case for revitalising Cathedral Square and Guildhall, as part of a wider visitor strategy.

Our ambition to build a youth zone is taking shape. Supporting our university as it goes from strength to strength.

Our transport and connectivity plan delivering more buses and more routes, and we are working towards a new bus depot and electrification of busses to reduce our carbon footprint.

In a short period of time, we have delivered a new housing strategy, and we have begun work on a new Local Plan. Regeneration of key sites and Station Quarter are at the second stage (more detailed) of business planning.

Achieving these ambitions not only requires vision, but an ability to form partnerships across the city and nationwide with all stakeholders.

My administration has clearly demonstrated to every individual, organisation, and investor that Peterborough is a city of opportunities and is open for business for all.

Cllr Farooq believes he couldn’t have made it clearer that road charging is not an option now, or at any time in the foreseeable future, and remains puzzled by Mr Bristow’s repeated assertions.

Cllr Mohammed Farooq Picture by Terry Harris.

In light of recent elections, where every party is a minority, I am resigning from my position as the leader of Peterborough City Council, and I would like members in the Chamber tonight to choose a leader who commands a majority of 31 or more.

This is vital for the stability of the council and the challenges it faces.

Peterborough First will continue to work hard in the best interests of our residents and will support policies which deliver value to our residents and in opposition, will hold the new administration to account.

Cllr Mohammed Farooq was elected leader of Peterborough City Council last November and replaced Conservative leader Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald

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