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OPINION: Why we are launching a week-long clean-up campaign

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Littering and fly-tipping are real bugbears of mine and I know that many people share my frustrations.

We all want Peterborough to be a clean, welcoming place and despite much active work to tackle these problems, a minority of people continue to spoil things.

However, we remain fully committed to tackling the problem and are about to launch a week-long clean-up campaign, which everyone is invited to take part in.

Litter Action Week will be launched at Peterborough Town Hall on Saturday 25 March with a special event from 10am until 4pm featuring stalls from groups including our waste team highlighting the work they do to clean up litter and catch fly-tippers.

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Anyone who would like to get involved can come along to the event where litter-picking equipment will be provided. Residents can then carry out litter picks throughout the week and all bags collected will be counted by ward, with certificates awarded for the largest haul. The council will arrange collection of all litter.

To show we’re serious about this subject we are investing in new initiatives – we will soon be recruiting new waste and recycling officers who will specifically target underperforming recycling areas, waste contamination and tackling fly- tipping.

We will also be spending an additional £120,000 on a Spring Clean from April 1, like those the council used to run before Covid. This will see areas targeted that are not normally cleansed through our normal routes such as shelter belts for example.

Full details will be announced shortly, and we are keen to hear from residents about the areas of the city you would like to see cleaned up.

Just to be clear, we cannot target everywhere, but any requests will be considered. Please contact me by emailing asktheleader@peterborough.gov.uk

A resident wrote to me recently, probably on the back of media coverage, and asked a question about a lack of progress in redeveloping North Westgate. They were due to attend the Ask the Leader session last night (Wednesday) to get my response, which you’ll be able to watch back on our social media channels from today.

I too am frustrated with the lack of action to redevelop this important city centre site, and I can assure readers that the council is committed to doing whatever is needed to bring forward the regeneration of North Westgate.

This saga has gone on for too long, so the only way to progress it is for us to take control and make it happen.

I shall be writing to all the landowners at North Westgate, inviting them to reach a satisfactory sale of the land to us, if that is the best way to see positive progression.

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However, the Council will consider all legal steps available to them which may include the use of compulsory purchase powers, if necessary to be able to see this through. I hope that we can reach a solution where everyone is happy, but I am determined to make this happen.

We now have a new senior officer team in place and access to the expertise and unrivalled experience of delivering complex, high profile regeneration schemes.

We have been ‘soft market testing’ a number of sites across the city centre, to attract the best investors who will deliver our £1billion regeneration programme, and it will not surprise you to learn North Westgate is one of the strategic sites which we have been showing to investors.

We are now turning our attention to selecting the best development partners, and the right sequence of sites to bring forward, as well as looking at innovative use of our statutory powers to help achieve the best possible outcomes.

People sometimes ask me what the council is doing to help people in need and I’m always happy to share details of the support schemes we have available.

On this note, I’m delighted to say that our Household Support Scheme, which includes the popular school holiday voucher initiative, has been extended for a further year.

The council has been given £3.65million for this latest phase and will continue helping low-income households including families with children, pensioners, carers, care leavers and people with disabilities.

This is proof that we are continuing to support people, especially those most in need, through these difficult times. You can find out more by visiting our website www.peterborough.gov.uk

Finally, I’m delighted to report that work to improve a busy parkway junction and several highway enhancements in the Fengate area are set to get under way later this year, benefitting motorists, cyclists and pedestrians with improved traffic flow that will also decrease pollution and journey times.

The projects, at Junction 3 of the Nene Parkway and near the future Red Brick Farm development, will take place after council Cabinet members approved plans to award contracts for both schemes to Milestone Infrastructure Limited.

Both projects will play a key role in driving growth by enhancing and adding capacity to strategic sections of the city’s highway network and we will make further announcements about them soon.

 

Wayne Fitzgerald is a Conservative councillor and leader of Peterborough City Council

 

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