Here’s ONE Council that’s NOTHING like Peterborough ….

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If you rarely leave the city of Peterborough, you might be mistaken to think that all Councils across the UK are the same as the one we have here?

The reality is, this simply is NOT the case.

For example, allow me to introduce you to Hammersmith & Fulham Council:

  • A place with a population of 185,426 (Peterborough’s population is about 202,000).
  • In 2011, foreign-born residents made up 43% of Hammersmith & Fulham’s population (source).
  • In 2016, H&F’s Council announced their councillors had frozen their allowances for the second year, and the salaries remained the same for 2017/2018 and for 2018/2019.
  • In H&F, a Band A property pays £721.68 a year in Council Tax, in Peterborough we pay £896. A Band B property in H&F pays £841.97 in Council Tax per year, while in Peterborough it’s £1044.
  • H&F have a resident-led Climate and Ecological Emergency commission, i.e. more action and less hot air, unlike Peterborough City Council!
  • Hammersmith & Fulham Council is offering local residents of all ages and levels of experience the chance to work as an apprentice. If you search the term “apprenticeship” on the PCC website, you get one link, to an old article, talking about the work of someone else!

Cuts are essential, right?

Remember how the local Tories in our city have been acting like a crazed hairdessers, by cutting services and staff in recent years, and announcing millions more in cuts for 2020/2021?

Well press the play button on the below video to listen to a Hammersmith & Fulham councillor talking about what they are up to!

Why is there a difference?

There is of course one very BIG difference, between Peterborough and Hammersmith & Fulham Councils …… Peterborough is controlled by the Conservatives (has been for 20 years) and H&F is run by Labour!

Will Werrington Brook money remain?

The work at Werrington Brook project, is one of the biggest improvement schemes in this area’s history.

Whilst the work is welcome, it is also important that the local community see improved standards remain.

A formal Council report, published last year, showed that tens of thousands of pounds had already been allocated towards the project and that another £40k had been planned into the Capital Programme Schemes for the 2023/24.

Given the stated of the finances of the Conservative controlled City Council, and given that I had received no recent updates, I thought it best to check and see whether this money is secure?

Therefore, I have now contacted the relevant Council Director at the Town Hall and requested clarity on what this money will be spent on and whether it is ring-fenced.

Once I have an update, I will of course share with you.

What about you?

What are your thoughts on the Werrington Brook, are you happy with what the project has so far achieved? Do you think more needs to be? What would you like to see?

Please drop me a comment below!

 

Guess how many £s PCC got when they flogged their Ferrero Rocher Xmas Tree?

Christmas Tree

When the Tories at the Town Hall in Peterborough, introduced their “fancy” Christmas Tree, which cost £40,000, it ended up being listed by the BBC as one of the most “hopeless” trees in the country!

And now it’s been sold!

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So, from now on, if you “were” a fan of the silver tree you will need to pop along to the Wisbech Town Council events.

You see, because the tree was so lovely, no other Councils wanted it!

But, the Tories in Peterborough were lucky. Their Tory colleagues in Wisbech held “discussions” with them, and agreed to take the tree off their hands.

And the amount they paid? Well, despite the tree costing £40,000 in the first instance, Wisbech Town Council managed to agree a fee of £0 with PCC!

The Wisbech Tories even went to the local media to boast about their coup!!

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When Pboro Conservatives claim to be good with managing taxpayers money!

Two other things …

Tory backtrack on Housing Allowance rate freeze – A bit too late!

Housing Allowance rate

The Conservative government recently announced plans to end Local Housing Allowance rate freeze.

Thing is ….. recent research from the National Housing Federation (NHF) showed that just 0.96% of the total properties advertised for private rent in Peterborough, were “actually” affordable!

If you search for private accommodation in this area, under £450 a month, you’re lucky if you get 1 option, often you get none!

Instead, what we are seeing, is more and more properties like this one in Troutbeck Close, being converted into a house share.

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What does Darren think?

Despite this long-overdue move, many people’s housing benefit will still fall far short of covering their rent.

The Conservatives’ four-year freeze followed a series of cuts and together they have cruelly pushed many of Peterborough’s private tenants into poverty.

Often people face impossible choices between paying the rent and meeting other essential bills.

Nationally, Labour is calling on this government to increase the level of Housing Benefit to ensure that people on low incomes are not put at risk of homelessness and destitution.

What about Werrington Centre, how would YOU improve it?

Werrington Centre

At a previous meeting of Full Council, it was noted that within the local authority’s Local Plan, it was identified that there were “regeneration opportunities” at the Werrington Centre.

Sadly, there was not a great deal of detail, and so I have now contacted the CEO at Peterborough City Council to see about securing an update.

I’m especially keen to find out what the Council’s role is, as I was under the impression that the Werrington Centre was privately owned, and therefore, I would have thought responsibility for any improvement would lay at the company’s feet rather than then Councils’?

That said, I would be interested in finding out what you’d LIKE to see done to the centre in order to improve it. Especially, as a good number of people from Walton, Paston and Gunthorpe use it, not just residents of Werrington.

Plz let me know your thoughts below!

Spike in vehicle crime in this area and a sophisticated electronic kit …

Nissan Juke
Not the ACTUAL Nissan Juke stolen!

I was pleased to read the other week about the crook who stole eight cars from driveways using sophisticated electronic kit and that he has now been jailed.

One of the vehicles taken was a Nissan Juke, from Sunnymead in Werrington. The car was never found.

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I was reminded ….

That we had seen a spike in vehicle crime in this area, in November last year.

For example, the number of recorded vehicle crime for July 2019 was 5, in August 2019 it was 2, in September 2019 it was 2, in October it was 7, but in November it was 12 …..!

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One other thing …

If you have any concerns or information that you think Cambs Police might be interested in, then please contact them!

Is Peterborough still Britain’s number one debt hotspot?

household debt

Earlier this year, it was reported, household debt had reached a new peak, with UK homes now owing an average of £15,385 to credit card firms, banks and other lenders.

The TUC, said household debt rose sharply in 2018 as years of austerity and wage stagnation forced households to increase their borrowing.

Did YOU know?

In 2014, Peterborough was named, as one of the cities with HIGHEST levels of personal debt of anyone in the country.

What does Darren think?

These recent findings show the true cost of a lost decade of earnings under the Tories.

Workers should not have to pay for the Tories’ failed economic ideology by taking on unsustainable debt, and deserve a wage that covers the essentials.

Labour Party Manifesto 2019 pledged to tackle the problem of spiralling debt and end the crisis of low pay, raising the minimum wage to at least £10 an hour and making sure it applies to all workers over 16. It’s a shame they did not get the chance to enact it.

3 things RE: planned Uni of Peterborough, that no-one seems to care about?

University of Peterborough
Q: Will someone you know be one of the first students to attend?

The City Council recently announced some further details on the planned University of Peterborough.

“Skills growth, however, has not kept up and skills levels in Peterborough are currently in the bottom 10% of the country.” – Mayor James Palmer (Cons)

Snippets to be aware of:

  • There aren’t enough workers in Peterborough with the right skills for businesses in Peterborough to thrive and, as a result, the affluence of the area has declined.
  • University of Peterborough aims to open its doors to its first 2,000 students in 2022. By 2030, it is expected to offer courses for up to 12,500 students.
  • The first three faculties of the University are set to include business, innovation entrepreneurship and professional services; information technology, digital and creative services and Agri-tech and environmental services.
  • Planned future faculties include health and social care, engineering, manufacturing and advanced manufacturing.

Got a question

What Darren has to say:

  1. In 2 years time, the Council says that the new Uni will accommodate 2000 students. I presume that Peterborough has more than 2000 students each year leaving for Uni, and given that there may be some students applying from outside the city, who and how will allocation of spaces be determined?
  2. Given the thousands of extra bods planned to live in our city, where will they live and what assurances can the Council secure, to ensure that private rental prices do not rise even further than they have in recent years?
  3. There’s zero way that the present planned space on the embankment, can house 12,500 students. Therefore, where else in the city, will the campus be and will money be made available to improve community/transport infrastructure?

Are YOU free?

Proposals for the new University of Peterborough will be “revealed” to the public in the coming days, please see below.

University of Peterborough

Tories have no solution to Peterborough City Hospital’s ‘unacceptable’ A&E performance

A&E Waiting times

You may have read recently that less than 60% of patients at Peterborough City Hospital’s A&E are seen within the four hour target time.

Hospitals are expected to admit, treat or discharge 95 per cent of patients within four hours of arrival.

According to media reports, the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital in Bretton, said it had seen “significant demand” with a 4.3% increase in emergency admissions year on year.

What does Darren think?

Well, since this news came to light, the Conservative Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has suggested that A&E targets might be scrapped.

In my opinion, changing the A&E target won’t magic away the problems in Peterborough, with patients left for hours and hours.

Any review of targets must be transparent and based on watertight clinical evidence, otherwise patients will think Matt Hancock is trying to move the goalposts to avoid scrutiny of the government’s record.

After years of austerity under the Tories, the government’s first priority must be to give the NHS the funding and staff it needs to end the waiting time crisis.

Plz let me know your thoughts below!

Lights in Gunthorpe and Werrington, set to be dimmed!

Gunthorpe Community Centre

The Councils scheme to save £100k a year, over the next 3 years, by dimming street lights in this area, is now underway.

The idea from the Tories at the Town Hall, will see street lights in residential areas reduced by 20% between 9.30pm and 5am.

Street lights on traffic routes will be dimmed by 20% between 9pm and midnight, and by 40% between midnight and 5am.

The Council say, “street lighting in subways would not be dimmed at all,” – Although having the lights actually working on underpasses is a bonus!

The Tories claim, that this move will save the council money and reduce the energy used.

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Do YOU trust the #ToriesAtTheTownHall?

Thing is ……..

  • In the latest Council Press Release, they state, upgrading its street lights (25,000 in total) to LED bulbs, “will save the council £10million over 20 years.” BUT, in 2016, in the official Skanska statement on the works, it claimed, the council hoped “to be able to make financial savings of £25 million over 20 years.” – So the money saved, has somehow declined by £15m over the last couple of years???
  • Also, in the Skanska LED Lighting brochure, it pointed out several benefits to the LED lights, none of which related to turning them down?
  • A few years ago, the Conservative controlled Council, turned off one in three lights on the parkways. Then when they tried to turn them back on, they were all knackered and needed replacing, resulting in thousands and thousands of pounds in repair costs.
Skanska LED Lighting
None of the benefits of LED lighting, previously mentioned anything about dimming the actual lights?

What does Daren think?

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Whilst, I am well up for the idea of saving energy, protecting the environment etc I’m not well up for Tories at the Town Hall, putting hard working local residents in this area at risk!

Decent street lighting is a well known crime deterrent, in this area, we have a good number of posties, care workers, dog walkers and parents/children who actually make use of cycle paths and foot-ways. So the idea that these routes will be less lit, does give me some worries.

If the local Tories are serious about the environment, I’d like to see them moving to 100% renewable energy, investing in buses, cycling and electric cars, and making all housing energy efficient to reduce fuel poverty and excess winter deaths.

What do you think? Let me know below ……