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 ……

Pennine Way dog poo problems persist!


Pennine Way, in Gunthorpe, has a footpath access to the John Clare Rec. Sadly, it also seems to have an ongoing issue with certain dog owners not cleaning up after themselves.

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What Daren has to say:

I’m fully aware that 99% of local dog owners do clear up after themselves, and therefore I am hopeful that the recent problems relate to one or two people, who may be passing through the area.

I have now contacted one of the senior council officers and asked them if they can look to provide a solution or two.

  • To start with I would appreciate some of the temporary “clean up” spray messages along the footpath.
  • I also think a dog/general waste bin could be attached to the railing outside the footpath entrance.
  • Plus, the introduction of dog/waste bins at either end of Pennine Way, on the corner of the junctions of with Gunthorpe Road and Hallfields Lane.

What do YOU think?

If you’ve got a view, then please do let me know by posting below!

3 things in the Tory budget, that WILL affect people like YOU in this area!

Peterborough City Council Officer Pay Rises
The other year, senior Council Staff received bumper pay rises. One of them got a £30,000 pay rise!

The latest budget proposals have now been passed by the Tory controlled City Council, despite opposition from the Labour Group, and will see millions of pounds worth of cuts to services for this area.

  • If you’ve not read the Budget Document yet, then you can do so NOW by visiting here!
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The Tories have been running the Council for 20 years ……….!

What Darren Thinks:

There are a large number of cuts and hikes proposed, but here’s the 3 that I think most people in this area will notice:

  1. YOUR COUNCIL TAX WILL INCREASE: The Tories intend to increase YOUR council tax bill by 4% over the next 3 years i.e. 12% between now and 2023. Don’t forget, on top of that you have the Police and Fire Service charges.
  2. DIMMING STREET LIGHTS: Conservatives have agreed to dim street lights in residential areas by 20% between 9.30pm and 5am, on traffic routes by 20% between 9pm and midnight, and by 40% between midnight and 5am.
  3. STREET CLEANING BUDGET CUT: Cons have agreed to cut the street cleaning budget, which will also see a “reduction in city-wide stain washing” and in the response time to a majority of Fly-tipping – People could have to wait a week for its removal.

Is that all?

No! There’s also the cuts to; Disability Peterborough, youth services, heating grants to most vulnerable, budget for road safety, school transport service, anti-social behaviour team etc

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Don’t forget …

That the same Tories at the Town Hall moaning about not having enough money, are:

  • The same Tories who have increased your Council Tax to the max, over each of the last few years.
  • The same Tories, as the ones in Government, who have made the cuts to local authority grants.
  • The same Tories, who, over the last ten years, have been urging and campaigning for people to vote Conservative, despite knowing full well of the party’s policies of austerity.
  • The same Tories, who now get paid more in allowances than ever before in Peterborough’s history. For example; Council Leader, Cllr John Holdich received £22,739.54 in 2010/11 and in 2018/19 pocketed £42,756.85 (an 85% increase during the period of austerity), Tory Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Cllr Peter Hiller got paid £22,293.98 in 2010/11 and received £25,755.00 in 2018/19 (a 16% increase, PLUS his wife got a job at the Council the other year, which I’m sure is above board, but its extra £’s into the household, plus pension etc) and then there’s Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, who in 2010/11 got £7,962.08 in allowances and then in 2018/19 got £30,907.08 in his bank account (that’s a 288% increase in his Council pay).

Here’s why Councillors get a 96% car parking pass discount⁉️

It was recently reported that “some Peterborough city councillors are using their parking allowance to park for free when they are not on council business…

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Previous message sent out to City Councillors!

Despite this, at the latest meeting of Full Council, the Conservatives at Peterborough City Council voted to keep the cost to elected members at £44 a year.

  • According to the Councils’ website, residents of Peterborough who want a 7-day annual parking pass, must pay £1,176.21 a year.

“The Tory leaders of the council are quite happy to cut £516,000 from youth services and cut back on funding to vital things like the Citizens Advice Bureau, but they want to keep their precious parking allowance that simply adds another £4,000 to the annual budget.” – Cllr Ed Murphy

What does Darren Think?

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I’ve long called for the abolition of parking permits for Councillors. I handed mine back a decade ago when austerity started. Since then, I have also handed back my council laptop and mobile phone.

At a time when thousands of our most vulnerable people in the city are being affected by increased costs and council cuts, there is simply no justification for elected members getting perks that Peterborough people have no way of receiving themselves.

Next time you speak to your councillor, why not ask them if they have one and why the feel they should get such a massive discount?

Worth noting:

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  • Staff at Peterborough City Council, who actually DO the real work, don’t enjoy this perk.
  • Some councillors get paid an extra allowance (on top of their basic) of just under £1000 a meeting (meetings last about 2 hours and happen 8 times a year), so they can afford to pay they fair share.
  • The Tories at the Town Hall have been crowing on about becoming the Environment Capital for years. What sort of message does it send, when they themselves can’t be asked to get on their bikes, uses buses or walk to meetings etc?
  • Over the last few years, the Conservative controlled City Council have increased the cost of residential parking permits, so double standards?

Manor Drive school already 4 years behind schedule!

Manor Drive/Paston Reserve

There are now hundreds and hundreds of houses at the commonly known area of Manor Drive, and with even more planned, it was disappointing to read the latest Executive Decision from the Tory controlled City Council, which showed the planned primary school will now be open in 2022, NOT, 2018 as I was originally promised.

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Whats the latest?

According to the recently published Manor Drive Schools Decision:

  • Manor Drive Primary will be located adjacent to Norwood Lane and will be built to
    accommodate 420 children at capacity and will open to one form of entry for reception children in September 2022.
  • A 26 place nursery provision will also be built as part of the new school site.
  • Manor Drive Secondary Academy will be built to accommodate 900 children (six forms of entry) and will open to four forms year 7 children in September 2022.
  • 4C’s Multi Academies Trust (4C’s) will run the schools, they currently run Arthur Mellows Village College located in Glinton, Fulbridge Academy located in the city centre and Hampton Vale Primary in Hampton West.
  • The Council will design and construct an access road from Newborough Road into the secondary school site and it will be completed in readiness for the school contractor to start on site in January 2021.
  • A public consultation event will be held (venue to be determined) for the new school designs to be on display.
  • Upon expiry of the 12 month defects liability period, the Council will enter into a 125 year lease with 4C’s Multi Academies Trust.

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What does Darren think?

I think the City Council have failed local residents of this area of Peterborough for years, no bus service, terrible crossing over the Paston Parkway, a generally piss-poor footpath leading to the bridge, a back track on a convenience store, roads remaining un-adopted, speeding vehicles, I could go on!

As you will see form the properties presently for sale at this location, the fact that the prices range from £200,000 and £300,000 a house, shows in my opinion, that the priorities for the Conservative controlled City Council are, money making FIRST and residential issues second!

The harsh reality is, that things simply will not change for local taxpayers in this area, until we get a change of administration at the Town Hall.

People who vote Conservative in this area, really should take a second to think about changing this habit, come the local elections in May.

Please let me know YOUR thoughts below!

Council back-tracks on Serco contract worth millions of £’s

Serco in Peterborough
Cllr David Seaton (Tory), who is standing down in May 2020, celebrating PCC’s 5th anniversary with SERCO in 2015!

Under a 10 year contract started on November 28, 2011, Serco took on the responsibility for a range of frontline and back-office services for Peterborough City Council (PCC), including customer services, business services, HR and payroll, shared transactional services, ICT, procurement and business transformation.

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So what’s happened now?

The contract for Serco to deliver IT services to Peterborough City Council, is due to come to an end in September 2020.

The Tory controlled City Council have now announced they will NOT be renewing it and instead will be moving IT services back to the local authority when the contract ends.

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It seems strange, when ….

At the end of 2018, SERCO announced they’d agreed a 10 year contract extension with PCC, worth £105,000,000, to continue providing Customer Services, Business Support Services, Shared Transactional Services (including Revenues and Benefits), Transactional HR and Payroll, Procurement and Business Transformation services until 2031!

  • In the press release, SERCO boasted they’d “delivered £10m of savings to the Council.”

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What does Darren think?

Anyone with any common sense, has long since come to the view that handing over council services, is a shite idea.

Despite all the spin, press releases, self created awards ceremonies to give the impression the concept works, most people in Peterborough are fed up.

They realise, such actions by the Tories at the Town Hall have resulted in lesser services, job losses for local people and tens of millions of pounds leaking from public funds into the hands of private companies, and presumably the pockets of CEO’s and board members?

The Conservative controlled City Council has already announced plans to bring waste services back in house, now it’s the IT services and, I have no doubt, we can expect a lot more of these announcements, as the political pack of cards begins to collapse!

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Extra Bits:

  • Last year we discovered thousands of £’s a month was being spent by Peterborough City Council on mobile phones which were not being used. A report by Serco identified a “staggering 300 mobile phone numbers showing zero usage over the last two months”.
  • In 2019, we were told that an extra £3.687m had to be found for the deal between PCC and Serco! The reason? A: “… savings targets from Serco which had been included in the budget, but now show little likelihood of being achieved.”

Food bank use in Peterborough ‘up 50% in a year’

Jeremy Corbyn at Food Bank
Rise in food bank use due to “significant problems” with Tories Universal Credit.

What will Labour do?

🌹 Labour will ensure that everyone in the UK has a Right to Food by enshrining it in UK law, in a new Fair Food Act.
🌹 Labour will set a target of ending the need for food banks altogether.
🌹 A £6m Access to Food Fund will be established to kick start the development of local community food plans in the 50 most food deprived areas of the country.

👍🏽 Join the local LABOUR party for as little as £2.17 a month: https://join.labour.org.uk

Will Werrington Residents have to pay more Council tax?

The Green, Werrington, Peterbrough

You may have recently seen that the Peterborough City Council have been consulting on the idea of a Werrington Area Forum?

If not you might like to read:

The DEADLINE for having your say is Friday 18 January 2019.

Comments on the application can be submitted either:

  • via email: planningpolicy@peterborough.gov.uk
  • in writing to: Sustainable Growth Strategy, Peterborough City Council, Sand Martin House, Bittern Way, Fletton Quays, Peterborough PE2 8TY

Werrington Neighbourhood Area

Just from the map alone, I am a tad confused. In so much that Corfe Avenue seems to have bee included in the Werrington area map (above), yet most people know this as part of Walton?

While, several households along Fulbridge Road seem to have been omitted, despite their neighbours literally across the road being included?

I thought this was due to the waterway, but given Hythegate, Lakeside, Gildale and Thornemead have been included, so it can’t be that?

Also, any new tier of government surely needs to be representative? Given that the Werrington “area” has nearly 10,000 residents …. Presently, 96% of planned Werrington Forum Members identify as ethnically White, there are no Members of any Ethnic Minority who live in the area, 82% of members are aged 50+, only 1 member is aged below 40 and just 4.5% do not identify as a Homeowner.

Questions I have …

I have now sent in some queries and questions to those involved, some of which included:

  1. How many people actually make up the “Werrington Area Forum” and who are they?
  2. How many responses have you received to date, in regards the application?
  3. Will there be a legal requirement for a certain number of members of the Werrington Area Forum, and what would happen if, down the line there were only a couple of people (or maybe no one) who wanted to be involved with the Werrington Forum?
  4. It mentions that the minimum number of members will be 21, just wondered why this was the number?
  5. Who decides who will be a Full Member and how are they chosen?
  6. Will members be able to claim expenses?
  7. Will there be any plans to add a Council Tax precept?
  8. Will there be a minimum number of attendees at AGMs in order to make them legitimate?

You might like to know that in areas where they have a Parish Council, they also have to pay extra Council Tax. Whilst, this proposed new tier of local government will not be a Parish Council, I do think it is important that local residents know sooner rather than later if there are plans to add a precept.

As always, please let me know your thoughts below.

Should you wish to contact Werrington Area Forum with general queries about the group, or about their neighbourhood plan, please contact Sally Weald (werringtonneighbourhoodcouncil@gmail.com).

Uldale Way “firearm” resident in Court

Uldale Way

You may have read recently in the PT, about Calvin Jackson of Uldale Way (Gunthorpe) who was charged with:

  • possession of a firearm,
  • possession of prohibited ammunition,
  • possession of an offensive weapon in a public place,
  • two counts of possession of a firearm during a five-year period following a suspended sentence
  • and producing a Class B drug.

Well he’s due in court this month, so hopefully we will find out more and if found guilty, he’ll be dealt with appropriately!

If you have any information that you think the police might be interested in knowing, to call 101, alternatively you can have a look at the September crime figures for the Gunthorpe ward, by visiting here!

Crime remains a concern for many local residents, especially as on Theresa May’s watch, police numbers have been cut by 20,000 and most experts know that cuts to the police force endanger communities and endanger police officers too.

Therefore, it’s my opinion that we need to face facts and look for a government that will provide officers, police community support officers and civilian staff with the equipment and people they need to provide effective policing services!

FYI – I have now requested an update from the Police Crime Commissioner on what action plans he has in place to address concerns of drugs and firearms locally, once he has responded I will of course share.

As always, please feel free to let me know your thoughts below!