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Peterborough: City council ‘failing in support of culture, arts and heritage’

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A group set up to promote civic pride and improve the quality of life in Peterborough says not only residents but some of its own staff believe the city council is failing in its support of culture, arts, and heritage.

Peterborough Civic Society has thrown down a four-point challenge to the city council to:

1: Once again find ways to promote and celebrate culture, arts, and heritage in Peterborough.

2:  Look again at spending priorities and to once again find ways to fund areas that enhance the wellbeing and quality of life for Peterborough residents.

3: Reassure residents that valuable facilities such as the museum and libraries will not be closed and will be adequately funded, now and into the medium and long term.

4: Seek to find ways to improve the morale of residents and council staff, “many of whom are at a low ebb, believing that Peterborough City Council has little or no interest in promoting and celebration of arts, culture and heritage in Peterborough”.

The civic society says it “continues to be concerned about the current situation concerning, and the future of, local authority expenditure on culture, heritage, and the arts in Peterborough.

A joint statement from chair David Turnock and vice-chair Toby Wood says: “We are aware of the city’s financial plight but believe that funding priorities and spending now needs to be reassessed.

“There are many indicators of this gradual decline and reduction in services.

“For example, Peterborough’s Heritage Festival was once a joyous and prestigious event, attracting residents and visitors to attend events promoting the city and its heritage.

“This no longer exists.”

Their statement adds: “Another example is the current inability of the council to provide planting in many of the city’s parks and gardens.

“This has resulted in local voluntary groups attempting to step in and rectify the situation.

“This decline in the provision and promotion of services for the arts, culture and heritage has become so severe that rumours have begun to circulate about the possible closure of Peterborough Museum in Priestgate and the closure of library facilities throughout the city.”

They conclude: “It is now up to Peterborough City Council to demonstrate to the society and Peterborough citizens that they care about culture, arts and heritage in Peterborough.”

 

FACT FILE

Peterborough Civic Society works to improve the quality of life and to foster pride of place in Peterborough.

The society seeks to safeguard Peterborough’s heritage, encourage good design, balance growth, and ensure sustainable development for the future.

Peterborough Civic Society campaigns to influence the public authorities and other agents of change to promote good design, encourage an imaginative approach to the City’s future, value, and care for the local heritage of buildings and other features, promote local knowledge and pride of place.

The Peterborough Society was formed in 1952, the inaugural meeting taking place in the Angel Hotel, which stood on the site of the Angel Inn, neither of which now exist but the existence of both have been commemorated by the society’s Angel Inn plaque.

From 1990 the society was renamed The Peterborough Civic Society which we felt more represented the purpose of the group.

 

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