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Peterborough City Council admits blunder over Tory logo on MP’s video

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Red faced officials in the PR department of Peterborough City Council have been forced to pull a promotional video that prominently featured a Conservative Party logo.

A council spokesperson admitted that that failed to spot the logo on the video they released on social media yesterday – despite the word Conservatives printed right across the novelty £48m cheque.

CambsNews was the first to pick up the political gesturing by the council on behalf of its Conservative leader Wayne Fitzgerald and the Conservative MP for Peterborough Paul Bristow.

All change: Both Paul Bristow and Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald did a ‘re shoot’ of the video today which included this new photo

It was a clear breach of the divide between party politics and the council’s executive, which has now been acknowledged.

“We made a mistake yesterday in the video we posted with our council leader and MP about the £48m coming to Peterborough for the Station Quarter – we’re sorry about that,” said a statement issued this afternoon by the city council.

“We have now removed the political reference and the video is again here for those who want to view it.”

The original photo, now deleted from the council’s social media., remains prominent, however, on the MP’s Facebook page.

CambsNews was the first to pick up the political gesturing by the council on behalf of its Conservative leader Wayne Fitzgerald and the Conservative MP for Peterborough Paul Bristow, who retains this photo on his Facebook page

City council officials say in their “excitement” to publicise the £48m levelling up cash awarded to Peterborough, they failed to spot the reference to the Conservative Party.

The manner in which the city council handled news of the £48m award has been widely criticised.

“I have a question,” said Huntingdonshire District councillor Michael Burke.

“If the money for the station came from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, why is the city council promoting this with a Conservative branded cheque?

“If it is Tory money then put it back in the pot and start paying nurses etc what they’re worth!”

On Twitter, David Whiles pointed out: “There’s even the PCC logo on the image.

CambsNews was the first to pick up the political gesturing by the council on behalf of its Conservative leader Wayne Fitzgerald and the Conservative MP for Peterborough Paul Bristow.

“I’ve submitted a formal complaint to PCC and will submit a Code of Conduct complaint against the Leader of the Council. Totally inappropriate to claim £48 million Levelling Up money came from their party.”

The social media surrounding the issue has clouded the good news that £48million is on its way to Peterborough, following a successful Levelling Up Fund bid for the first phase of regeneration of the area around Peterborough Rail Station – known as Station Quarter.

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Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority received the official confirmation from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) on Thursday.

The Deputy Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is Cllr Anna Smith, also Labour leader of Cambridge City Council.

She said: “This is fantastic news. Regenerating the Station Quarter has the power to uplift not just the city but the whole region of Cambridgeshire and beyond.

“It’s a great addition to what we are going to be able to offer in the East of England and will make Peterborough itself greener and ever more welcoming to visitors, investors, and businesses. I want to thank everyone, both in Peterborough and at the Combined Authority, who has helped to make this happen.”

The funding is ring-fenced and can only be spent on the Station Quarter regeneration. It will now be released by the Government to allow the Peterborough Station Enhancements and Connectivity project to move forward.

Additional match funding to bring the total funds up to around £65million is expected to come from Peterborough City Council and other partners, enabling future private investment in commercial and residential development as a further phase of the Station Quarter programme.

The project involves creating a new western entrance to the station with a car park – to create a double-sided station – with a new wider footbridge over the train lines.

This will alleviate pressure on city centre roads, making it easier and safer to travel around the city by bicycle. Green areas with biodiversity, community spaces and better connections to the city centre will make it safer and more attractive for bikes and pedestrians.

The enhancement of Peterborough Rail Station will improve rail passenger journeys and encourage more rail travel, which will have a positive economic impact on the city and regionally, as the city is already well connected to key areas of Eastern England and the rest of the UK. In addition, it will support Peterborough in attracting more knowledge-intensive and high-level employers through its transport links.

Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “We have just achieved the funding for a once in a lifetime opportunity for our city centre.

“This redevelopment of our city centre train station and the land surrounding it will cut carbon emissions and make our city easier and safer to walk around, while stimulating business and providing economic benefit to our city – both during and after construction.”

Paul Bristow, MP for Peterborough, said: “Peterborough is the gateway to the East of England and the Station Quarter is the gateway to the city – It is vitally important that the Station Quarter and the station itself is fit for purpose.

“This is a chance to use this prime asset to bring jobs, retail, and other visitors to our city. If we get this right, I can see new businesses and even another government hub coming to Peterborough.”

Stephen Hind, Head of Business Development at Network Rail, said: “This brilliant investment will allow us to deliver a revamped and revitalised entrance to Peterborough. The major transformation would unlock opportunities for the city to thrive economically, as well as recognising the need for a cleaner, greener transport network in the future.”

An outline business case and planning application will be submitted for the Peterborough Station Enhancements and Connectivity project next year. Construction work on the first phase could take place between 2024 and 2026, with wider development of the Station Quarter continuing up to 2028.

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