Fakes send out se­ri­ous mes­sage

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - TOWNHALLVIEW / IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU - John Holdich Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil leader gives his view on the coun­cil and news and is­sues af­fect­ing you...

Peter­bor­ough has hit the na­tional head­lines not once, but twice this week. The Sun and The Mir­ror picked up on a story which you might have seen in this pa­per last week about 1,000 im­ported teddy bears which were de­stroyed by our Trad­ing Stan­dards team.

While they looked nice and cud­dly, the eyes and noses on the teddy bears were badly de­signed and could eas­ily fall off, cre­at­ing a chok­ing haz­ard for ba­bies and young chil­dren.

There is se­ri­ous mes­sage here - please be care­ful when buy­ing toys in the run up to Christ­mas.

On Mon­day, our city made the na­tional head­lines again, this time for tak­ing part in a postal and proxy vot­ing pi­lot for the lo­cal elec­tions in May 2019.

You might re­mem­ber, Peter­bor­ough was part of a sim­i­lar pi­lot last year which lead to a 47 per cent re­duc­tion in pos- tal vote re­jec­tion rates.

It will fo­cus on the im­por­tance of in­di­vid­u­als com­plet­ing their postal vote them­selves and re­quir­ing any­body who has been ap­pointed as a proxy to vote on some­one else’s be­half to sup­ply pho­to­graphic ID at the polling sta­tion.

We take the is­sue of elec­tion fraud ex­tremely se­ri­ously and are com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that all elec­tions are fair pro­cesses.

Next week, of­fi­cers will be re­port­ing back St Michael’s Gate res­i­dents on the ac­tions taken over the last month.

St Michael’s Gate opened as a tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion for home­less fam­i­lies in Novem­ber 2016 and cur­rently has 78 units full. Since it opened, 189 house­holds have passed through these front doors.

That’s 189 home­less house­holds who were given a home of their own in Peter­bor­ough, in­stead of B&B style ac­com­mo­da­tion ei­ther in the city or po­ten­tially, out of the area.

For many house­holds, in­clud­ing fam­i­lies with young chil­dren, this se­cu­rity at a time when they were at their most vul­ner­a­ble was wel­comed. How­ever, we recog­nise that res­i­dents have some con­cerns and we are lis­ten­ing and act­ing on what they have told us.

Since the last meet­ing our En­vi­ron­men­tal Health hous­ing en­force­ment of­fi­cers have in­spected ev­ery prop­erty. All have been found to be safe, and a list of mi­nor re­pairs needed have been passed to Stef & Philips for ac­tion.

In ad­di­tion, all house­holds have been met by our hous­ing needs of­fi­cers and given up to date in­for­ma­tion about their hous­ing ap­pli­ca­tions and the process of se­cur­ing per­ma­nent hous­ing.

To ad­dress com­plaints about heat­ing, we’re now look­ing into the pos­si­bil­ity of get­ting mains gas in­stalled into each prop­erty. In the mean­time, we’ve ar­ranged for ev­ery house­hold to be given en­ergy ef­fi­ciency ad­vice and help to switch sup­plier if this means they can get a bet­ter deal.

Weekly surg­eries have been set up on site and an emer­gency con­tact num­ber has been given to res­i­dents, so they can get in touch with us quickly if they have any ur­gent con­cerns.

We’ve also met with the head­teacher at the lo­cal school and will be work­ing with the school closely in fu­ture to make sure the chil­dren at St Michael’s Gate get the best pos­si­ble sup­port. Kings­gate Com­mu­nity Church will also be as­sist­ing us in cre­at­ing ad­di­tional out-of-school and youth ac­tiv­i­ties.

We hope that at the next meet­ing on Mon­day, res­i­dents will see we are tak­ing ac­tion.

You may have read last week about a group of trav­ellers who were fined in court af­ter fail­ing to move on from Wal­ton Park ear­lier this year.

Although this par­tic­u­lar case was dealt with by the po­lice, the coun­cil has a num­ber of pow­ers that we can use to move trav­ellers on in cer­tain cir­cum­stances, which are set out by na­tional leg­is­la­tion.

Three of our coun­cil­lors, John Fox, Gavin Elsey and Irene Walsh, met re­cently with Lord Bourne, the gov­ern­ment’s Un­der-Sec­re­tary of State for Com­mu­ni­ties to dis­cuss the is­sue. I’m glad that our con­cerns have reached those at the very top.

Don’t for­get that the city’s Civic Ar­mistice and Re­mem­brance event mark­ing ex­actly 100 years since the end of World War One takes place on Sun­day. The event will start with a mil­i­tary pa­rade along Bridge Street from 10.45am.

Mean­while, a spe­cial Re­mem­brance Day tree plant­ing event is be­ing held in Nabs Lane on Sun­day by the PECT team. If you want to vol­un­teer, visit pect.org.uk/event/treeplant­ing-2018-for­est-for-peter­bor­ough-3/

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